Dubbed “the most beautiful garden in Africa”, Kirstenbosch Garden in Newlands is perfect for introducing the beauty of nature to your little ones. We recently spent the morning there with our two preschoolers. Here is the low-down on the child-friendly amenities you can expect at Kirstenbosch as well as some tips on how to tackle the garden with kids.
Children under 6 do not pay an entrance fee while the fee for adults is R50 p.p. For an extra R5 you can purchase a map of Kirstenbosch at the ticket office which I recommend if you are unfamiliar with the Garden. Free parking is available at Gates 1 – 3. We visited on Easter Monday and even though there were lots of visitors it was still possible to find a picnic spot as there are many lawn areas to choose from. If you are planning a visit to Kirstenbosch on a holiday you may experience a queue of visitors at the entrance to the Garden during the middle part of the day. Early mornings are probably the best time to visit if you are expecting it to be a busy day at the Garden.
Visitors’ Centre at Gate 1
Food and drink
There are three restaurants/ coffee shops in Kirstenbosch Garden. Please note near which gates the restaurants are located – it is easier to park at Gate 1, for example, if you want to have breakfast at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room first thing as you arrive. Otherwise you may have to tote all your stuff through the Garden with kids in tow to the Gate 2 area where the Tea Garden is located as we had to!
From the parking area at Gate 1 the welcome logo of Vida e Caffé is visible from outside (sorry, self-confessed coffee addict). At Vida you can buy decent coffee and other drinks as well as some light lunches including rolls and paninis. You can also buy cooldrinks and water at Vida if you forgot to bring your own.
Moyo Restaurant is also situated near Gate 1. The African inspired restaurant is a treat for locals and tourists alike. Kids and adults both enjoy the free face painting and the restaurant has a play area on the premises that is clearly visible from the restaurant tables on the patio.
The Kirstenbosch Tea Room near Gate 2 is the place to go for breakfast and light lunches. The tea room has high chairs and sells ice cream cones for take aways or sit down customers. Colouring pages are provided for the children. No kiddies menu but look closely and you will see that kiddie-friendly options on the menu are marked with the letter “K”. We were very impressed that a high chair and colouring pages were brought to our table as we were being seated by the waitress without us having to ask for it.
Moyo @ Kirstenbosch
Play area at Moyo Kirstenbosch
Kirstenbosch Tea Room
Kirstenbosch is wheelchair friendly and definitely suited for prams/ strollers. Most paths can be navigated with a stroller but as Kirstenbosch has a natural incline some of the upper paths that are covered with mulch may be difficult to walk with a stroller (except maybe if you have one of those 4X4-type of stroller you may be fine). Fynbos Walk, Van Riebeeck’s Hedge and Camphor Avenue are situated on the steeper slopes and strollers may slow you down or even impossible to walk there. But if the goal of your visit is to have picnic on the lawn do not hesitate to take a stroller with. You can always take it back to the car if you have parked at one of the main parking areas. It depends on the age of your child and your reason for visiting (hiking or picnic). On previous occasion our three year old quickly got tired (we were having a “bad temper day”) as we walked around in search of the “boomslang” and we wished we had taken along our stroller. If you plan to walk quite a bit use a baby carrier/ backpack to carry your little one.
There are plenty of bathrooms at Kirstenbosch and you should be able to find a picnic spot relatively close to one. It may not be a bad idea to specifically take note of where the nearest bathroom is located before throwing down you picnic blanket. That way you will be prepared for any sudden “I have to go to the loo!” -situations. All bathrooms have changing facilities.
Attractions for kids
- The boomslang (literally translated as “tree snake”) canopy walk offers a 130m long walk in the sky among the tree tops. High railings on the bridge make it safe for children and the views are breathtaking.
- Nature – kids will enjoy running around and discovering interesting flowers and shrubs, butterflies, pheasants and ponds.
- Large lawns where one can find a shady spot under the trees and throw down a picnic blanket. Pack your own picnic, let the children run and play (do not forget to bring a ball) and while the afternoon away.
- Child-friendly restaurants including Moyo and the Tea Room that offer kiddies options on the menu and high chairs. Moyo restaurant also has a play area for kids.
- Pack a hat and sunscreen for warmer days
- Do not forget to pack water/ juice but if you forget, you can buy some at Vida e Caffé at Gate 1
- Do wear comfortable shoes and take a stroller, baby carrier if you think you will need it
- Pack a picnic and blanket for the whole family but kindly note that picnic tables, chairs, tents, gazebo’s etc are not allowed