About Tokai Arboretum

The Tokai Arboretum was established in 1886 by Joseph Storr Lister, the then chief conservator of forests for the Cape Colony. The objective was to determine which trees from other parts of the world would grow well in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.

And so today hundreds of exotic tree species are represented in the Tokai Arboretum, some of which are extremely old.

Did you know? Cyclists and hikers of all ages can find joy along the trails which lead up from the tea room past the forests and along the slopes of the Constantia Mountain.

Whether you’re into trees, plants, cycling, walking or even tea, the Tokai Arboretum is a tranquil place to visit with much to do. Those more inclined towards sweet treats and tea can enjoy a good cuppa at Lister’s Place beneath the pines and at the outdoor tables.

The Arboretum has been declared a National Monument and holds over 274 tree species and over 1555 different trees within its precious hectares first reserved by Joseph Storr Lister back in 1885. Tree huggers and lovers will find a map at the tea room with tree names and their numbers on it.

The Tokai Manor House constructed in 1795 has a nursery and the land beside it was set aside by Joseph and with the assistance of convict workers, he planted pines, oaks, yellowwoods and eucalyptus trees mostly from India, Mexico, Australia and California.

As the Conservator of Forests of the Western conservancy of the Cape Colony his duty was to protect and preserve our heritage of trees and plants.

When visiting the Tokai Arboretum, take a walk up to Elephant’s Eye Cave, marvel at the views of Cape Town, admire the large array of trees or sit beside a tiny stream rushing down the mountain in this natural haven in the Southern Suburbs.

Need to Know

WhereTokai Arboretum, Tokai Forest, Tokai Road, Tokai, Constantia Valley, Cape Town, South Africa

WhenDaylight hours.

Telephone+27 (0)21 712-7471

OvernightStay in Tokai Accommodation, Cape Town


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