Sunrise spots: The Boomslang

Justin Hawthorne


Justin Hawthorne

An interesting way to experience Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is to stop in for a sunrise stroll over the Tree Canopy Walkway, The Boomslang!

DSCF7026 The Boomslang

As sunrise pushes closer to 08:00 in the heart of winter, gate access for day entries are issued from 07:30 at the Rycroft Gate. This allows you to take an eerie walk through the dark Garden en route to the Arboretum, where The Boomslang snakes its way through the tree canopy!

IMG_3731 Dawn at Kirstenbosch

You may get extremely lucky with an animal sighting as you wander about at dawn. A number of species are typically nocturnal, such as the Porcupine, Caracal, Large Spotted Genet and Grysbok. Chances are very slim, but at least you’ve put yourself in a position to possibly sight one!

DSCF7004 Fernwood Peak, Table Mountain

Taking a wide loop to get there is best, aiming for the Fynbos…

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Explore: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Justin Hawthorne


Justin Hawthorne

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a place that cries out for you to slow down and soak it all in. Ideally, it needs more than a quick visit. More like a day! I did just that and went in to catch sunrise before slowly strolling its vast network of pathways, eventually finding the bench that said: “Justin, sit.”.

DSCF7179 A beautiful Strelitzia (Crane Flower), Kirstenbosch

What are my TOP 10 highlights of this grand garden? 

  1. The Fynbos Walk
  2. Tree Canopy Walkway (Boomslang) at the Arboretum
  3. The Dell & Colonel Bird’s Bath
  4. Matthews Rockery & the Vygie Garden
  5. Otter Pond
  6. Conservatory
  7. Camphor Avenue (Old Rhodes Drive)
  8. Nursery Stream
  9. Main Pond
  10. Cycad Amphitheatre & Pearson’s Grave

DSCF7017 Strolling across The Boomslang at sunrise, Kirstenbosch

The Fynbos Walk 

IMG_3727 Silver Tree leaf detail (Protea Family), Kirstenbosch

DSCF7154 A pretty Polygala (Milkwort Family), Kirstenbosch

The upper lawns are my favourites! Immersed with Fynbos…

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Hiking: 10 fantastic trails in the Western Cape

Justin Hawthorne


Justin Hawthorne

I love mountains. So naturally it is the place I go to feel good. To just walk, allowing my mind to run wild like a klipspringer moving over rocky mountain peaks.

My idea of a good day on the mountain is the longer the better. I’m not heading there to get off quickly. Lengthy pathways, numerous distractions, and a flask of hot brew that requires at least 3 sittings. I want to see the mountain, smell the mountain, listen to the mountain, feel the mountain, taste the mountain…I want to truly understand the mountain.

To achieve this:

  • walk slowly – you’ll allow your eyes to wander. Take breaks, and when you do, sit.
  • takes deep breaths – fill your lungs with crisp, pure mountaintop air. Let your fingers run through the leaves of vegetation you’re passing – some will release their aroma.
  • hike silently…

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