About Van Riebeeck’s Hedge

Up on the banks above the stream at which children play, on the lower slopes of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, lies the magic forest - a haven for children who love to clamber in and on the several huge, ancient trees whose branches sprawl across the ground like the fingers of a gnarled hand.

Did you know? A section of the hedge that lies the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens was declared a National Monument in 1936.

These are the remains of Van Riebeeck’s Hedge - a series of indigenous wild almond trees (Brabejum stellatifolium) planted in 1660 by the governor of the Cape as a boundary to the settlement of Cape Town. Wild almonds have the tendency to grow horizontally as well as vertically and their branches intertwine.

Together with a series of thorny shrubs they formed a defensive barrier from the mouth of the Salt River, along the Liesbeeck River, up Wynberg Hill to Kirstenbosch. There are two sections, each declared national monuments, of remaining hedge today, older even than the castle itself. One section is the trees on the banks of the stream at Kirstenbosch, available for all who choose to sit in their shade (on hot days this is some of the best shade in the garden).

The trees are not immediately visible from the lawns of the garden and there is no sign indicating their presence. Ask locals where you will find the ‘magic forest’.

The other section is in Bishops Court.

Need to Know

WhereVan Riebeeck’s Hedge, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Newlands, Southern Suburbs, Cape Town, South Africa

WhenOpen daily, 365 days a year. Summer from 08h00 to 19h00 (September to March) Winter from 08h00 to 18h00 (April to August).

Telephone+27 (0)21 799-8783

OvernightStay in Newlands Accommodation, Cape Town


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