People who do not know the country may be surprised to learn that South Africa is a popular destination for garden tourists. The explanation lies partly in the climate and partly in the fact that its colonists came from two of Europe's most enthusiastic gardening nations: Holland and England. The best known design style of South African gardens is known as Cape Dutch.
Africa has an incredible biodiversity that, in many parts of the continent, has suffered neglect due to pressing social and political problems. The Protea is the national flower. The plant family is characteristic of the fynbos (meaning "fine bush" in Afrikaans) vegetation of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Spring is the best time to see the wildflowers (August to October).
South Africa's botanic gardens are the most interesting places to visit. An African Botanic Gardens Network was established in 2002 to support and promote botanic gardens on the African continent. Established in 1849, Durban Botanic Gardens are the oldest in Africa. But the most famous botanic garden is Kirstenbosch, on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. There are also some vineyard estate gardens which prosper and are well-run, for example Vergelegen. The famed Garden Route is interesting for its scenery but not for designed gardens. Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve (pictured left) are good places to see the native flora.
Brightwater Holidays offers a 15 night tour - Gardens and Wildflowers of South Africa’s Western Cape. The next tour departures are on 25th August and 11th September 2016.