Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Last week beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden was rewarded “Garden of the Year” at the International Garden Tourism Awards. And it really deserves it! Those of you who have been there know what I’m talking about and those of you who haven’t really should make sure to have it on your list the next time you visit Cape Town.

Kirstenbosch is located on the slopes of Table Mountains and covers an area of ​​528 hectares and consists of landscaped gardens with indigenous plants and trees, as well as natural forest that stretches along the slopes. It has been estimated that there are 20 000 indigenous plant species in South Africa and of these you can find 4 700 at Kirstenbosch, and almost 50 percent of the flora at the Cape Penininsula is represented. There are plenty of paved trails that meander through the garden.

Although you may not have a big interest in the flora of the Cape, it’s still a perfect place to enjoy a picnic. That’s exactly what we did … We packed us a lovely picnic and headed off to Kirstenbosch on a wonderfully sunny morning just to enjoy all the beauty that the garden offers.

We laid our blankets out under a giant oak tree that offered much needed shade, albeit at the risk of being hit by acorns but it was worth it, and with geese and guinea fowl walking around next to us.

If you are interested in birds, you can have lots of fun at Kirstenbosch. Our goal was to see and photograph the Orange-Breasted Sunbird, the Lesser Double-collared Sunbird and the Cape Sugarbird. However, we had to settle with just hearing the Cape Sugarbird… Next time!

Recently the so-called The Boomslang opened at Kirstenbosch. This is a walkway that goes high up among the treetops and offers wonderful views of the botanical garden and its surroundings. If you visit Kirstenbosch on a Sunday, during the summer, there are concerts that are very popular.

Kirstenbosch is open until 19:00 in summer and 18:00 in winter. Entry fee is now R50 per adult and R25 for children under 17 years.

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Christmas came and went

So it’s been in Christmas. Again … We hope you all had a really lovely one, with all that comes with that loved ones, far too much good food and drinks and hopefully temperatures below zero and a white blanket of snow on the ground.

Preparing for Christmas

Preparing for Christmas

To celebrate Christmas in the middle of the summer, which is the case if you are in South Africa, is still a bit strange. It’s hard to find that real Christmas spirit when the sun is shining and its approaching 30 degrees Celsius. However, it becomes less and less weird for every year that passes.

Presents under the Christmas tree

Presents under the Christmas tree

One advantage is of course also that you get two Christmases! A Swedish one on Christmas Eve and a South African one on Christmas Day 🙂 This year we had to move the Swedish Christmas a little, because Lina flew to Sweden on 20 December. So we bunched Christmas Eve together with St Lucy’s Day and celebrated Christmas on 13 December. Cheating!, as my very tradition-bound sister Sofia said, but sometimes you have to improvise.

South African Swedish Christmas Dinner table

South African Swedish Christmas Dinner table

In fact, there are a lot of Swedish food to buy here so you can have a pretty good Swedish Christmas – you can get Abbas herring here, for example. However, we have developed this, so every time Lina goes to Sweden she brings tinned herring (no spiced added) so that we can make our own herring. And if I may say so myself, we make the world’s best herring!

Home made herring and creamy beetroot salad

Home made herring and creamy beetroot salad

We also make our own beetroot salad, Jansson’s Temptation (Lina must once again help out and import the Swedish anchovies), ham, meatballs, fudge and a whole lot of other goodies. And mulled wine, or Glögg as it’s called, of course (we use ready made spice packages in a good South African wine. And this is actually best served cold here in the heat …

Egg and kaviar bake and meatballs

Egg and kaviar bake and meatballs

While Lina celebrated a wonderfully genuine Swedish Christmas with the whole family, Freddy and I chose to keep it very simple and we packed a picnic basket and went to Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden. Here we had a wonderful time until the clouds looked a little too threatening.