Calling all lovers of Kirstenbosch. The gardens are officially open but only for exercise purposes. Better than not at all we say!
Following the announcement published by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy on 30 July 2020, all national botanical gardens opened to the public on Monday 3 August 2020.
KIRSTENBOSCH GARDENS REOPEN
Yes, Kirstenbosch Gardens are open but solely for the purpose of exercise and subject to health protocols.
Certain activities will be prohibited at the gardens and these include picnicking, braaing, and gathering in social groups. Members of the public are invited to exercise using the numerous scenic paths and trails that are available in each garden and to enjoy the fresh air and open spaces that the gardens offer.
While using the gardens, patrons are requested to comply with COVID-19 alert level 3 regulations including the compulsory wearing of masks, frequent hand washing or sanitisation and maintaining social distance.
“The welfare of our visitors and staff is of paramount importance to us, and we, therefore, urge our patrons to follow the prescribed COVID-19 regulations currently applicable under advanced level 3,” said Acting Chief Executive Officer Carmel Mbizvo.
‘I’M THRILLED THAT IT’S OPEN TO THE PUBLIC’
Senior Botanical Horticulturist Adam Harrower looks after the succulent plant collections and curates the conservatory at Kirstenbosch gardens.
Trained as a botanist, Harrower said he’s thrilled that the gardens are open to the public.
“I’m really glad we’re finally open, I think a lot of people were really sad that it was closed and quite frustrated and so were we. Unfortunately, the decision wasn’t ours,” he said.
“We are thrilled because it means people can come to their favourite place,” he said.
Although Harrower is thrilled about the reopening, he also said there were moments where he enjoyed the peace and quiet in the tranquil gardens.
“For me, it’s been quite a nice opportunity to just dive into certain things. Having the privilege of walking through an entirely empty Kirstenbosch was amazing, it was something quite surreal, in fact, to be able to have the entire garden all to yourself with only the birds and guinea fowl and the odd owl. That was quite special,” he said.
Harrower explained that Kirstenbosch gardens have huge collections of pot plants of particularly rare species of South African plants which are not usually open to the public. He said that during lockdown Level 5, those plants suffered.
“These plants needed to be watered and fed and looked after and that was very difficult because during Level 5, none of the horticulturalists were allowed to travel into Kirstenbosch so many of the plants suffered during that time, unfortunately. But we do have a few skeleton staff members staying at Kirstenbosch who were keeping things under control and doing the essential watering,” he said.
Harrower said that as it stands, Kirstenbosch is “bouncing back nicely”.