Kirstenbosch’s Canopy



Pamela Cooper
Pam Cooper

PAM COOPER snakes across the Boomslang walkway in Cape Town’s most famous botanical gardens

Gorgeous aloes at Kirstenbosch
Gorgeous aloes at Kirstenbosch

The beautiful mild day was well suited to a stroll with an elderly friend around these magnificent botanical gardens. Although it might have been more obviously signposted, we eventually reached the foot of the ‘Boomslang’ as the walkway has been named – apparent in the way the structure snakes into the treetops, its frame reminiscent of this aboreal Boomslang’s ribcage.

Fortunately we were warned that the Boomslang had been engineered to move as we walked along it. As I took my first steps, I felt the slight movement, and my friend, who is not steady on her feet at the best of times, clung to the handrail.

More aloes at Kirstenbosch
More aloes at Kirstenbosch

Anyone prone to motion sickness might find themselves a little queasy, particularly if there are lots of people on the walkway, and the movement is probably all of six inches as you reach the central curve.

The middle section is fairly high off the ground, but there is no chance of falling off. The views across the Cape Flats to the mountains beyond will be marvellous on a clear day. On the day I went a bush fire somewhere had caused pollution and spoilt the views. I didn’t see any birds – they’d probably been scared away by the boisterous crowd enjoying the novelty – but I’m sure on a quieter day there will be plenty to see. The aloes are at their best now, and sunbirds abound.

At just over 100m, the Boomslang is perfect for its purpose, although I did overhear a young American girl say she wanted it to go all round the garden!