Motoring back along the shore of False Bay, we stop off in Simon’s Town to take a quick tour of Boulders Beach, where the famous South African penguins have made their home. From an original pair that came ashore in the mid-1980s, the penguin population exploded until measures were taken to assure the continued coexistence of both fowl and humans. A few more miles of strenuous driving across picturesque mountain terrain featuring several hairpin turns – which Shaheed took with aplomb – and we found ourselves at the exquisite Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Kirstenbosch is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013, with over 7,000 species in cultivation, including many rare and threatened species.
Set against the eastern slope of Cape Town’s Table Mountain, the 36 hectare garden is part of a 528 hectare estate that displays a wide variety of the unique flora of the Cape as well as plants from all over southern Africa. Kirstenbosch was the the first botanical garden in the world to be included within a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.