The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens have long been one of Cape Town’s premier tourist attractions; renowned for their natural abundance and breath-taking diversity. These gardens, nestled in the Newlands suburb of Cape Town, showcase some of the best that South Africa has to offer in terms of flowers, trees, herbs, succulents and exotic flora.

There have always been a number of walking and hiking trails through the gardens of Kirstenbosch, each of which boasts a different type of beauty and appeal. Some are through forested areas, others through ancient cycad plantations, and so on. There is even a scent garden for those that do not have the faculty of full sight, but who can enjoy the heady aromas of the plants along the safe, customised walkway.

However, in April 2014, the whole face of Kirstenbosch is subject to change. The construction of a treetop walkway (the Kirstenbosch Canopy Tour) now allows visitors to experience the natural splendour of the Western Cape from elevated heights, showing off the natural landscape from a completely new perspective. This treetop walkway extends for some 130 metres and is about 11 metres above the ground.

It takes visitors through the Enchanted Forest, and twists and turns over the colourful blooms and dense foliage for which Kirstenbosch has become acclaimed amongst visitors from all over the world. Due to its twisted nature, it is known as the Boomslang (translated to “tree snake”). It has a modern, non-intrusive design that was the concept of Mark Thomas and Christopher Bisset (Mark Thomas Architects) in conjunction with Henry Fagan (HENRY FAGAN & PARTNERS, who are structural and civil engineers).

It has been built from galvanised steel and is as minimalistic as its structure would allow so as to enable those on it to see as much as possible without hindrance from its physical structure. This means that visitors can see breath-taking views of Table Mountains, extending right to the Cape Flats and the surrounding suburbs in the distance, as well as the gardens themselves.

Once visitors have paid to enter the botanical gardens, most of its facilities, including the Boomslang, are free of charge for everyone to enjoy. For more info visit: http://www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch

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