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South Africa - Western Cape (7)


By AndrewR


This is the last blog covering my trip to South Africa last September.

On the penultimate day, we started with a visit to the Old Nectar Gardens, a private garden around an old Dutch style house. It is mainly the creation of one woman who owned it for seventy years (with a little help of course).

From here we drove to Babylonstoren, one of the oldest farm complexes in the country. Advertised as a recreation of the farm, it contains around eight acres given over to the growing of fruit and vegetables and other plants. But it is very busy and commercialised, and I was disappointed to see some coloured staff being given menial work while the whites held more privileged positions.

There is also a collection of clivia hybrids, held in a shade tunnel

On our return to Stellenbosch, some of us elected to visit the town’s Botanical Garden, attached to the University. In contrast, this was almost deserted and had a lovely atmosphere

Leaving Stellenbosch on the last morning, we drove back to Cape Town for our flight home. On the way, we stopped at the Arderne Gardens in the shadows of Table Mountain. The land was bought by a timber merchant in 1845 where he built his home and established a garden full of rare trees from around the world. His son continued the garden, but after his death, the land changed hands several times, and the garden led a precarious existence. Finally in 2004, a Friends Group was established who have worked with the City authorities to bring it back to a good standard.

This cork oak is a champion tree in South Africa

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my holiday photos. For anyone interested in plants, South Africa is a wonderful place to visit. While you may recognise a few of the plants there, so many are new and strange to us. September is a good time to visit; their winter is over, and the weather is pleasantly warm without being unbearable hot.

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Your photos have been wonderful Andrew. What an amazing trip you had. Finding new plants is one of the good things about travel along with food, drink and new friends.

12 Feb, 2017


I'm 84 years old now but at the age of fifteen one of my teachers traveled to South Africa during summer break and gave the class a slide show of the botanical gardens she visited when there and it was very impressive as your shared visit was. Thank You Very Much.

12 Feb, 2017


The university gardens look almost European, Italianate looking pond area.
Thank you Andrew, for taking us on your tour of those South African gardens. I have really enjoyed seeing their wonderfully unusual plants. I have appreciated your blogs in bite-size pieces, will be able to digest them again at leisure.

13 Feb, 2017


A wonderful set of Blogs Andrew giving us a fascinating view of plants and a lifestyle we may never have the opportunity of visiting I'm pleased the Arderne garden is being given a new lease of life .. Thank you for showing ....

13 Feb, 2017


I enjoyed your visit too Andrew. Strange how emigrants are so homesick they build a house the same as where they grew up. Some of them never stop talking about home,
round here they speak their native language indoors and English outside.
There were some Indians on T/V recently who came to this country in 1952. They still teach their children the cooking they originally knew, and still ate their food with their fingers. 65 years and they hadnt learned to use knives and forks !

13 Feb, 2017


A wonderful blog that makes a fitting end to the series of blogs. I have found them very informative and wish I could face the flight over there.

I guess the work will continue to improve regarding treating all people equally Andrew. But sadly prejudice will never be fully dead.

I wonder if the botanical garden is quieter because people don't realise it is open for all. Certainly I know people who don't visit the one belonging to hull university because they are not graduates and think they aren't allowed in. Sad but difficult to make them change their view. I have taken friends in but they wont go in by them selves.

17 Feb, 2017


Sbg - things are slowly improving in South Africa, but these things take time. I estimate it will take something like two generations before there is equality there - as you say, prejudice will never be dead. It was also noticeable that some establishments were very inefficient as the coloured people were just not used to being in management positions.

The Botanical Garden may have been quiet as we got there an hour before it closed. It was quite small although there is a small cafe there selling snacks and drinks. It's not your "family day out" type of place, more an educational establishment that happens to let the public in.

17 Feb, 2017

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