What to See and Do at the Stellenbosch Botanical Gardens

Posted on Wed October 31, 2018.

The Stellenbosch University Botanical Gardens are the oldest in Africa and have recently received the prestigious Botanic Gardens Conservation International accreditation, among only eight other gardens in the world.

The gardens are definitely a sight worth seeing if you're going to be staying at a Stellenbosch guesthouse or B&B.

The Trees

A section of the garden is marked “Arboretum,” however, the entire garden is home to a substantial living collection of trees, covering the grounds in shade. This forest-like ambience adds to the gardens’ ethereal quality, and it makes for the perfect resting spot on a busy Stellenbosch sightseeing itinerary.

For botanical enthusiasts and novices alike, the gardens’ tree life features the following species:

  • Tulip trees
  • Yellowwood
  • Vachelia karroo (sweet thorn)
  • Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’ (copper beech)
  • Red alder
  • Mango
  • Camphor

The gardens also feature an impressive bonsai collection that offers a fascinating look at this nuanced, long-term cultivation practice.  

The Botanical Collection and Water Features

The gardens also offer the opportunity to view a variety of plants, many of which are indigenous, foreign, and even exotic. From rare, tropical orchids to South American cacti, the collection of flora will not fail to captivate.

A must-see is the giant water lily, Victoria cruziana. In fact, apart from Madagascar, the gardens are the only facility in Africa where these lilies can be observed. The heating systems for the lily dam were restored earlier this year, to suit the very specific environmental needs of this rare plant.

Katjiepiering Restaurant

Nestled in the heart of the gardens is Katjiepiering restaurant, providing shade and solitude. Open daily from 08:30, the restaurant menu offers creative cuisine and a range of wines.

A trip to Stellenbosch should definitely include a visit to the gardens and Katjiepiering. If you’re looking for guest house accommodation in Stellenbosch close to the Stellenbosch Botanical Gardens, book your stay with us.