"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on February 25, 2018 by Sioux under General
1 Comment

 

Whilst in the Cape, we visited most of my favourite places – Kirstenbosch Gardens being one of them. It’s still a #1 visiting stop-off and I recall having picnics there as a child when on holiday with my father. My sister, her hubby, Paul & I had gotten there quite early, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves for a long while. I love the quiet aura of the place.

                                                      The first director of Kirstenbosch 

                                                      Gardens is buried in the grounds, his

                                                      grave marked by this very Celtic looking 

                                                      headstone. It overlooks the Cycad Amphitheatre and is watched over by a 100-year old Atlas cedar tree.

 

He was responsible for a wild and overgrown farm called Kirstenbosch being handed over by the government in 1913, to start Kirstenbosch Gardens. Apparently, in 1911 he drove up Bishopscourt Lane in a cart, stopped at the old main entrance, got out, surveyed the landscape and exclaimed “This is the place!”

 

Travelling throughout Namibia and Angola he collected over 300 cycads, which was the beginning of the living collection of cycads at Kirstenbosch, and was the first collection of plants to be established in the gardens.

Several trails lead off from the gardens up the mountain slopes and are well used by walkers and mountaineers alike. One of the trails, up a ravine known as Skeleton Gorge, is a popular route to the summit of Table Mountain. The route is also known as ‘Smuts’ Track’ after Prime Minister Jan Smuts

who used this route regularly.  

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We wandered around the gardens, soaking up the silence and the beauty, before

my brother-in-law took us to what’s known as “The Bo-Kaap”, formerly known as the Malay Quarter. Situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city centre it is

the historical centre of Cape Malay culture in Cape Town. The Nurul Islam

Mosque, established in 1844, is located in the area. 

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The museum, which dates back to the 1760s, is the oldest house in the area still in its original form, and is distinguishable by its voorstoep – a type of front  terrace with a bench at each end. 

With the end of day nearing, we headed to Table Mountain and the cable car, having wisely pre-booked to avoid standing in the queue. It was windy and cold on top of the mountain and we were all glad of having brought jackets with us! A walkabout and a few sunset photos brought to an end another wonderful day in the cape. Tomorrow was up and out early as we had booked a boat trip to Seal Island, and were meeting a fellow carer, whom I had met in the UK, at Cape Point.

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The Bo-Kaap, traditionally a multicultural area known for its unique architectural style which is a synthesis of Cape Dutch and Edwardian England, is a lively suburb boasting cobble stoned streets and is full of brightly coloured houses, many of which are national monuments and date back to the 1750’s.

Many of the inhabitants are a blend of cultures that descend from slaves brought to South Africa from India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia by the Dutch in the 1700’s. Many were Muslims and others converted to Islam by the Cape Muslim community. These former slaves became known as the Cape Malay, and it’s believed that they were instrumental in the formation of the Afrikaans language, a version of Dutch simplified for easier communication between the Dutch settlers and workers. Educated Muslims were the first to use written Afrikaans. 

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Having fun with the globe in the restaurant on the top of Table Mountain; and then with the city bowl as the backdrop for some silhouettes. A fab day out!

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Although the sun was shining and the day had been warm, the wind was howling on top of the mountain, and we all bundled up warm!

 

 

One response to “Home again #8 – part 6 – gardens, painted homes and high mountains.”

  1. Paul says:

    Have you changed your signature?

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