Welcome The New Year At Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

A concert at Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden marked my beginning of a New Year and a new love.

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Between Cape Town’s natural beauties, vibrant cultures, complex histories, and modern tourist attractions, the city has something to offer everyone, and Kirstenbosch is no exception. It was a combination of these things and more which made me fall head over heals for the city. In 2012, I welcomed the year of 2013 with a concert at Cape Town’s famous botanical garden.

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Kirstenbosch rests against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, which creates a dramatic backdrop for the entire garden. Last year, I was travelling around South Africa with my family when we went to hear the band “Hot Water” perform at the Kirstenbosch New Years Eve Summer Sunset Concert. We packed a picnic and headed to the garden about an hour in advance. Since the tickets come with admission to the garden, we were able to walk around Kirstenbosch before the concert started (granted, we sat near the back of the lawn since most of the audience arrived hours before us). A vineyard sponsored the concert so there was inexpensive (and tasty) wine for sale, and the restaurant Moyo (situated at the entrance of the gardens) sold picnic hampers for the event. None of us knew of the band before the concert. In all honesty, the four of us were exhausted and almost skipped the concert all together, but by the end, we were all on our feet and dancing happily. We also purchased Hot Water CDs as quickly as possible after leaving. This year, the headlining band is Goldfish; a group that sold out concerts in Europe and the U.S. and tickets are about $28.00 (I guarantee it’s worth going even if you haven’t heard of the band).

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The Summer Sunset Concerts also put on regular performances by world renowned and local artists during the summer months in Cape Town. These weekly concerts range from around $6.00 – $15.00 and allow for people of all ages to enjoy their picnics while admiring the sunset, views and live music. The venue also hosts movie screenings (some recent ones include Harry Potter, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Goonies) through the Galileo Open Air Cinema for only $6.00 – $10.00. Kirstenbosch’s grounds also host a craft market with over 180 vendors on the last Sunday of every summer month.

While the garden offers many events that draw people to its grounds, the botanical garden is also a destination in its own right with over 7,000 species in cultivation. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was established in 1913 and was the first botanical garden devoted to the conservation of a country’s indigenous flora.

Cape Town is now one of my favorite places in the world and my first introduction to this love was at Kirstenbosch last New Years Eve. Even if you can’t make it for the New Year, Kirstenbosch has something to offer everyone. The summer concerts range from techno artists to symphonic performances, and the garden and craft market can keep wanderers entertained for hours.

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Lizzy Monroe

Originally from Eugene, OR, Lizzy graduated from Stanford University. She's a coffee & street market enthusiast, her travel style involves planning ahead but never hesitating to improvise. Her favorite country is South Africa, she never travels without her Swiss Army Knife - mostly because of the hidden pen, tweezers and corkscrew.

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