Head into the clouds! The Kirstenbosch “Boomslang”!

Head into the clouds – on the Kirstenbosch walkway.

It may not be the highest walkway through a forest canopy, nor the longest or the most thrilling, but it may just be the most invisible. I didn’t even know where in the gardens the new, much-anticipated  Kirstenbosch Boomslang walkway was until boom, there it was – right in front of my face on the enchanted forest floor.

 boomslang-kirstenbosch-treetop1

 In fact, to be honest, I didn’t even know where Kirstenbosch‘s enchanted  forest/arboretum was despite having lived in Cape Town for most of my life and  spent my fair share of time at the gardens. But that is exactly why Alice  Notten, Kirstenbosch’s interpretation officer, conceptualised the walkway in the  first place; because this dark, forested and ‘spooky’ part of Kirtsenbosch was  basically deserted by
guests but boy, oh boy, did we not know what we were  missing all of these years!

 

The 130 metre long walkwboomslang-kirstenbosch-walkwayay structure is robust, encompassing and  undeniably  magnificent but oddly not imposing at all. The architect says  the structure was inspired  by a skeletal-like appearance or that of a rib  cage and indeed the walkway, with its high  handrails, does seem to enclose  itself around you, engulfing you into the body of the gardens.

 

The Boomslang was a name which was argued about and fought over, and  even  decided  against at one stage, due to the reference to Ratanga’s Cobra  and the  “scary”  connotations but as one of my companions said she would  rather her  children came here to Kirstenbosch to play than to a theme park and during  construction of the walkway three real-life boomslangs where foun
d by workers,  so aptly the name stuck.

This snake-like walkway slithers and slides herself through the established  Kirstenbosch forest to give you a view of the gardens like no other while taking  you close to and around some of the interesting trees found here. The eventual  plan is to integrate the tree-top walkway with a self-guided tree walk through the  gardens, visiting over 80 species that can be found within the forest.

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Posted by Pat Dewil

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