If you find yourself at a loose end on a cold winters day in Cape Town, why not join one of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens’ Family Winter Wonders Programme activities this School Holiday? Alternatively join a kid friendly guided garden walk that are offered free of charge – you are guaranteed to visit places in Kirstenbosch that you’ve never seen before.

After days of high winds and rain, there is nothing better than a clear winters day in Cape Town. Everything looks clean and fresh and kids all over the city are itching to go and run around outside. If there’s a chance they can get muddy while they splash in puddles, even better.

It’s always a bonus when the kids get to learn something while they are enjoying their school holidays and, when Kirstenbosch offers a world class treasure hunt through the garden, it’s pretty hard to say no. The Winter Wonders Holiday Programme runs until Saturday 16 July and is filled with fun, learning, walking, creativity and story-telling. Most of the events are free of charge, and there are also family focused activities for all to join in.

Winter Wonders Treasure Hunt

Family Treasure Hunt leaves from entrance 1 at 9:30am on Saturday 9 and 16 July where you can choose to join one of 4 treasure hunts, with well trained garden guides.

Click here to Download the PDF of the WinterWonders Programme

If you choose the Winter Wonderland treasure hunt, you will search for all the winter flowers, but if indoor plants are more your thing (or if it’s raining), then join the treasure hunt in the Glass House. You could also choose the Trees, Trunks and Trifles treasure hunt where you will adventure from tree to tree, like Tarzan (just kidding) or you can do the Streams, Springs and Pond guided walk, like we did.

After a few days of heavy rain, we were keen to see how the Kirstenbosch streams and waterfalls where affected. While our kids immediately associated the words “treasure hunt” with gold and precious gems, they were fascinated to see the way the streams sparkled and sang instead.

The treasure hunt took the format of clues that were read to us where we were given hints about our next stop. While some clues were more obscure, the guides were helpful and pointed us in the right direction. The best thing about these guided walks is that it takes you to previously unexplored areas. So, despite how well you think you know Kirstenbosch, I guarantee you will find something you’ve never seen before.

The kids were fascinated to learn that, when ground water filters through sandstone and finds it can’t go any further when it hits hard granite, the water has to find another route and pushes its way through any gap it can find to reach the surface. And that’s how natural springs are formed.

Kirstenbosch Winter Wonders Holiday Programme

You’ll be pleased to know that kids (under 18) can get into Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden free of charge from 25 June to 17 July as long as they are accompanied by an adult. No unaccompanied kids are allowed on the Family Treasure Hunt and parents are encouraged to ensure that their kids don’t run off.

We found that the grassy areas are very wet and quite muddy so gumboots are essential, especially for the kids. When kids set the pace of the walk, it can be a little tiring for the more unfit parents, but you have a chance to catch your breath at each stop.

TIP: The tour is 2 hours long with a 15 minute snack break in the middle. You are encouraged to bring along enough to eat and drink, as the kids get to know each other over a mini picnic.

Where to eat

Take a breather after the adventure and pack in a picnic basket and spend the afternoon lazing under the trees at Kirstenbosch, if you ran out of time to pack one – you can order a picnic basket at Kirstenbosch Tea Room or enjoy a meal in their restaurant patio. Call to book: 021 797 4883.

*FREE Kirstenbosch Daily Guided Walks

Of course, you don’t have to wait to for family treasure hunt to go and see for yourself. Those who have already raised their children or those who would prefer to go on a more in depth walk, can join the daily Guided Walk that happen at 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday plus additional two slots on a Tuesday – 11am and 12pm. On Saturdays 10am. Saturday theme walks and family treasure hunts do happen occasionally (outside of the above mentioned Winter Wonders holiday schedule), so please call to confirm ahead of time.

All guided walks leave from the the information desk at Entrance 1 are offered FREE of charge (*Garden entry fees apply) and people of all ages are welcome. Registration 15 minutes before the tour starts in recommended and tours are limited to 15 people per tour so first come, first served. If you have a group of 5 or more, please book ahead of time.

Give Kirstenbosch Garden a call for more information: 021 799 8783

So if you’re looking to do something a little different, and you would love to get out into the fresh air, this is a great way to get to know the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden a little better.

Plan your winter weekends and holidays with these great events at the Cape Town Big 7 attractions:

Click here to view our Top Events for July featuring: Table Mountain Cableway, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Robben Island, V&A Waterfront, Cape Point, City Walk and Groot Constantia.

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@CapeTownBig7 #CptBig7 @KirstenboschNBG #WinterWonders2016

One Destination, 7 Unbelievable Experiences

There is no one way to explore all of the Cape Town Big 7, and much of what makes each of them so special is the variety of things to see and do at each. So if possible, take your time to explore each of the city’s most visited tourist attractions in as much depth as possible – as any local will tell you, you can spend a lifetime at each of the Big 7 and still not tire of them. Find the 3 and 4 day itineraries and tips here.

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