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LOCAL TIME: 10:01 pm | Sunday, 25 February
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Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Cape TownKirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town is one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations. The beautiful gardens are themselves worthy of a visit at any time of year. If you enjoy birding, this spot is an ideal haven for mountain fynbos and forest endemics, many of which can be seen in a two to three hour walk. It is best to do this walk in the morning when the birds are most active and round things off with refreshments from one of the restaurants.

Get a map at the Visitor’s Centre to guide you and find out from the staff where to find the Spotted eagle owls – they are often found roosting in canopies near the Dell.

Follow the signs to the Braille Trail which is a short path that meanders through a typical example of Afro-montane forest. In summer, black saw-wings fly low over the canopy. Forest species to be seen are African olive pigeon, Lemon dove, African paradise flycatcher (summer), Sombre greenbul, Olive thrush, Forest canary, Cape batis and Cape white-eye. Also in summer, try and spot the elusive Red-chested cuckoo.

Meander upwards towards the Erica, Fynbos and Protea gardens – the best habitat for Cape sugarbird, Orange breasted and Southern double collared sunbirds. You can’t miss their calls. Cape siskin may be spotted higher up the mountain along the Nursery Ravine or Skeleton Gorge trails.

Cape spurfowl , Helmeted guinea fowl and Egyptian geese can be found anywhere in the gardens affording great photo opportunities using a long lens. As you’re walking along the paths look in the undergrowth for Southern boubou, Cape robin-chat and Karoo prinia and check fruiting trees for Cape bulbul, Sombre greenbul and African olive pigeon. The open flower beds are often a resting place for Spotted thick-knees.

Directions: Take the M3 from Cape Town and travel about 10 km to the Newlands Avenue/Rhodes Drive intersection. Turn right into Rhodes drive and travel a further 1.5 kms to the main garden entrance.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens +27 21 799 8783. Visit ShowMe™ Cape Town for a complete guide of the city.

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