The gardens in and around Cape Town are a thing of magic – whether that’s manicured Victorian rose beds or the exotic fynbos of the Cape floral kingdom. Beat the crowds and check out some of these “secret” gardens.
A stone’s throw from the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Gardens in Newlands, Montebello is a great place for a garden breakfast, lunch or tea. Meander through its garden and greenhouse, dotted with fanciful sculptures, artworks and majestic Camphor trees. Part gallery, artists’ studio, nursery and restaurant, this hidden treasure is ideal for personal reflection or relaxed meet ups.
It’s a wonder more people don’t know about Arderne Gardens, a quiet haven off Claremont’s boisterous Main Road. Founded in the mid-1800s for timber merchant Ralph Henry Arderne’s eclectic mix of international flora, the garden is now home to one of the most diverse and valuable collections of exotic trees in all of South Africa. This is according to the non-profit group Friends of Arderne Gardens, which says the collection includes one of the largest trees in South Africa, the vast Moreton Bay Fig, and quite possibly the largest Aleppo Pine in the world.
Ok, we know this one isn’t really such a big secret, but it’s a garden of mythical romance nonetheless! Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West has 17 perfectly manicured gardens that seem straight out of a BBC period drama. It’s a perfect place for history buffs or the leisurely wanderer: pre-book a picnic, sample estate wines or leisurely stroll through its myriad of unique gardens.
If you’re hankering to get out of the city entirely, book your spring trip up Cape Town’s west coast to the West Coast National Park for a five-day flower tour in mid-August. The secret to these wild gardens? You never know exactly what to expect or when exactly this floral fantasy will happen, but when it does, it’s a dazzling display of Mother Nature at her finest.