Se7en’s Visits Kirstenbosch and the Winter Wonderland Programme… And A GiveAway…

I keep saying there is a fantastic holiday programme on at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens at the moment, I keep saying the gardens are free to children… in other words you can take your kids and their friends… I keep saying this!!! This past week our kids have had an absolute blast at Kirstenbosch and I wanted to share this with you before the holidays slide by and you have missed it all…

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Kirstenbosch’s Birthday

It was a cold rainy day and the gardens turned 103 years old… we went for a romp in the rain, honestly the gardens are good whatever the weather. If it really is pouring with rain you can head for the conservatory… but for the most part at Cape Town’s winter showers there are sets in the garden where you can wait out a little rain and when the sun emerges again you can head off.

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The Winter Wonders Program

Apart from the gardens being free for children, there are a number of fantastic events on. This is certainly not the time to stay home because it is cold and wintry. A number of book events, because every body loves books… brought to you by Struik Nature Books, and a number of events bright to you by Kirstenbosch themselves. We haven’t been able to go every day… but if we could have we would have. Read on read on…

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The events include arty crafty things, treasure hunts and a collection of South Africa’s best loved children’s natural factual authors reading their stories at “meet-the-author” events. From our own experience, there is nothing like meeting an author to create a passion for books in a child. You can download the full programme here. Honestly Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Struik Nature (Penguin Random House South Africa) have put together a stunning programme for children these holidays, really beautifully presented, well planned and something not to be missed… I have posted heaps of photos on Flickr, you are welcome to take a look around.

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Snake Encounters

The first event that we joined was a snake encounter with Johan Marais, the author a number of snake and reptile books in South Africa, including the Complete Guide to Snakes and What Snake is that?

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He was happy to field dozens of questions and provide us with lots of incredible facts…

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Then he went on to show us a few of the snakes he had brought along to show everyone…

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And then everybody had a chance to meet up and play with the snakes that he brought with him. I was astonished to discover that while I preferred to be on the other side of the camera, my kids were thrilled at the chance to get to meet the snakes up close and personally.

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In fact one of us actually loved the whole event… and we had a long discussion about snakes being wild animals and best we leave them there.

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Head over to the Struik Nature Website and you can download a very useful printable guide to South African snakes.

Winter Wonder Family Treasure Hunts

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On Saturday mornings, throughout the winter school holidays, they have a series of themed, family friendly treasure hunts. We decided to try them out and we were so impressed… what a difference it makes to have knowledgable and enthusiastic guides to show you around the gardens. We always learn something new when we visit there, but my word with an engaging guide we learnt so much more…

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There are four different treasure hunts to follow… flowers, streams and rivers, trees and the (in case of rain) the conservatory… Our friendly guide took us off on the tree trail, and as we learnt about a number of weird and wonderful trees we also traversed the gardens…

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Taking a little longer at each tree meant that we spotted things that we don’t often see…

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We discovered delightful hidden trails that we didn’t know existed…

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Can we say “Cool Bananas!!!”

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And it takes seventeen kids to hug this tree…

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So many weird and wonderful trees to stop and look at or even listen to, yes one tree you can hear making little snaps as you stand beneath it. Each tree was presented with a bit of a story to help you remember what you had learnt… really a brilliant presentation.

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And always good a wander over the boomslang walkway…

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And everytime we pause on the walkway and take a breathe, we spot something magical…

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We learnt about all sorts of trees, including these magnificent ancient trees…

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The whole event literally flew past… we covered a lot of ground, but all at a very easy “chatting as you go” pace.

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I love that they understood that kids need to stop and linger longer sometimes, and stopped especially at the perfect climbing tree…

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Struik Nature Find 50 Treasure

Another Winter Wonder Program, brought to us by Struik Nature event we attended on Monday made full use of the Find 50 Guide Kirstenbosch Guide… A genuine treasure hunt with fantastic prizes for everyone who took part.

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The idea was that the you head out into the gardens and find twenty five of the items off the list of fifty… take a photograph of the team with their discovery… and dash on. It wasn’t as easy as you might think… finding an ant is actually a little tricky and trying to get a bird with your gang in the picture – well impossible!!! This is an activity that would be fun to do with your kids or a group of friends anytime…

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Monday turned out to be the absolute perfect day for adventuring. It may have started with everyone in sweaters, but very quickly the sun warmed us up, in the middle of winter we were dashing around in t-shirts gathering treasures on camera…

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Finding 50 GiveAway

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We had such fun at the Finding 50 Treasure Hunt that we thought we would share a set of these fun guides with a lucky reader…

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Essentially, they are spotters guides for beginners… 50 things to find, in a fold out pamphlet and a check box to tick when you have found them. Inside the cover of the pamphlets are some fun and interesting facts for those fact collectors amongst us. These are a great resource and fun for everyone…

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We have a set of Spotter’s Guides, thanks to Struik Nature (Penguin Random House South Africa) to give to one of our readers somewhere in the world. All you have to do to stand a chance of winning is leave a comment, before the end of play on Saturday 16 July, and tell us what plants or animals you and your children like to spot, wherever you are in the world.

We will draw and publish the winners in the Fabulous Fun Post after the 16 July. I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because I don’t want to be included in our own giveaway. Our GiveAways are open to everyone: If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. If you live on the far side of the world – enter away. Postage takes forever from here but eventually it should get to you! Good luck and happy commenting!!!

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Previous Kirstenbosch Posts

  1. Se7en+1 Reasons to Visit Kirstenbosch Right Now…
  2. Se7en+1 Set Out As Citizen Scientists in the Fynbos…
  3. Se7en + 1 Meet the Dinosaurs Amongst the Cycads at Kirstenbosch…
  4. Se7en + 1 Discover the Boomslang at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens…
  5. Adventure Trails in Kirstenbosch.
  6. Kirstenbosch’s Winter Wonder Program.
  7. Kirstenbosch and the Braille Trail…
  8. Kirstenbosch for kids…

We would like to thank the publishers Struik Nature and Penguin Random House South Africa who supplied us with the spotter’s guides to giveaway. Also, thank you to Hippo Communications for organising free entrance to the Gardens for myself, so that I could attend these events and bring them to our readers. This was not a sponsored post and all opinions are as usual my own.

13 Replies to “Se7en’s Visits Kirstenbosch and the Winter Wonderland Programme… And A GiveAway…”

  1. How fabulous that this all is free! My boys would love handling the snakes, and the treasure hunts seem so fun! Glad you’re making the most of it!

  2. Hay Christi, Isn’t it amazing… I have to say that this is one of Cape Town’s more affordable outings at the best of times… most of our top sites have tourist prices, which puts them way out of reach of the regular Capetonian. The fact that it is free, makes a huge difference to those locals that really can’t afford it normally. Their activities are great fun and really do enhance the kids visits!!! Hope you guys all have a great weekend… from a cold cold Cape Town!!!

  3. Our boys tend to the “bus, bus, there’s a bus” kind of spotting although we did get some more interest in local animals on a recent holiday! So it would be great to expand the options!!

  4. Oh Corli, that’s brilliant… isn’t it great that our kids have this natural love the great outdoors and we really just have to be along for the journey. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!!

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