Fodor's Expert Review Company's Garden

Cape Town City Centre Garden
Free

One of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets is also a great place to seek relief from a sweltering summer day if the beach is packed. These lush, landscaped gardens are all that remain of a 43-acre tract laid out by Jan van Riebeeck in April 1652 to supply fresh vegetables to ships on their way to the Dutch East Indies. By 1700 free burghers (Dutch-speaking colonists no longer indebted to the Dutch East India Company) were cultivating plenty of crops on their own land, and in time the VOC vegetable patch was transformed into a botanic garden. It remains a delightful haven in the city center, graced by fountains, exotic trees, rose gardens, and a pleasant outdoor café. At the bottom of the gardens, close to Government Avenue, look for an old well that used to provide water for the town's residents and the garden. The old water pump, engraved with the maker's name and the date 1842, has been overtaken by an oak tree and now juts out of the tree's trunk some 6 feet above the ground. A huge... READ MORE

One of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets is also a great place to seek relief from a sweltering summer day if the beach is packed. These lush, landscaped gardens are all that remain of a 43-acre tract laid out by Jan van Riebeeck in April 1652 to supply fresh vegetables to ships on their way to the Dutch East Indies. By 1700 free burghers (Dutch-speaking colonists no longer indebted to the Dutch East India Company) were cultivating plenty of crops on their own land, and in time the VOC vegetable patch was transformed into a botanic garden. It remains a delightful haven in the city center, graced by fountains, exotic trees, rose gardens, and a pleasant outdoor café. At the bottom of the gardens, close to Government Avenue, look for an old well that used to provide water for the town's residents and the garden. The old water pump, engraved with the maker's name and the date 1842, has been overtaken by an oak tree and now juts out of the tree's trunk some 6 feet above the ground. A huge statue of the colonist Cecil Rhodes, and Cape's prime minister in the late 19th century, looms over the path that runs through the center of the gardens. He points to the north, and an inscription reads, "your hinterland is there," a reference to Rhodes's dream of extending the British Empire from the Cape to Cairo. A self-guided walking brochure (R20) with detailed historical information about the gardens and nearby sights is sold at the shop next door to the small but informative visitors center, which are both by the restaurant.

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Garden Green Historical Free Family

Quick Facts

Between Government Ave. and Queen Victoria St.
Cape Town, Western Cape  8000, South Africa

021-426–2157

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free, Visitors center closed weekends

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