KIRSTENBOSCH

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Of course, as far as responsible ecological practices go, Kirstenbosch Garden is recognised around the world for its expertly managed indigenous botanical garden, set on the slopes of Table Mountain. The 528-hectare estate is a safe haven for rare and threatened species, the celebrated fynbos, as well as the more recognisable species, and is an amazingly accessible green zone.

Kirstenbosch is a great place to learn about caring for the environment. Through the Environmental Education Centre located in the garden, skills development, education and awareness programmes are facilitated with schools and communities to increase knowledge about biodiversity as well as build capacity, thus contributing to increased informed decisions and actions for sustainable practices. A school trip to Kirstenbosch offers exciting learning opportunities for pupils, with a range of curriculum-linked lessons on a wide range of environmental themes including Biodiversity, Ecology, Global Warming, Water and Education for Sustainability. The Highly interactive, fun-filled learning programmes raise awareness of the environmental issues facing our communities and develop skills which will enable learners to take responsibility for their own environment. Kirstenbosch also offers a range of inspirational training opportunities for teachers to support teaching and learning about the environment in schools.

Kirstenbosch’s Outreach Greening Programme takes the garden to the people, teaching school and community groups to plan, develop and maintain their own indigenous gardens.

Kirstenbosch has taken particular care to provide a great experience for visitors of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. A route map helps wheelchair users to identify the best routes to the various parts of the garden. The Fragrance Garden is a sensory experience, full of fragrant flowers, aromatic leaves and interesting textures. This is one of the few places in the gardens where visitors are invited to touch the leaves. The plants are growing in raised beds within easy reach for touching, feeling and smelling. This garden also accommodates the sight-impaired visitor. The whole garden is surrounded by a guide rail and contains storyboards in large print and Braille. The Forest Braille Trail, a short, self-guided trail through indigenous gives unsighted people the chance to discover an indigenous forest, unassisted, and encourages everyone to explore the forest with all their senses. Blocks on a guide rope mark the stopping points where there are signs that describe the forest and the plants and animals, or explain how to find the benches and water fountain. All signs are in large print as well as Braille.