We have a tradition, my mother and I. Every year on the 6th of January we go to the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens to have a little bit of mother-daughter time before I head home after the holidays. It started as a coincidence, but I think it is a nice tradition that evolved through it. We use this time to reflect with each other on the year that has passed and share outlooks on the year that lies ahead. These little moments in life are what I have come to appreciate and embrace. However, without any further ado, here is what we saw during our excursion to the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens.
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Upon walking into the gardens, we were greeted by a friendly receptionist where you ‘pay the lady’ to go in. I don’t know if it is just because I am personally hungry for social interaction (you know similar to what I described during the Walter Sisulu excursion), but lately, everyone seems very friendly (or maybe it’s just me). Anyway, upon entering, the restaurant area is located towards your left, with the pathway towards the Garden’s nursery towards the right. In front of the restaurant is a small pond filled with beautiful water lilies.
Wandering onto the first walkway we encountered (one with the least amount of people on it), we were met with beautiful tall trees creating a wonderfully cool canopy. However, right before we reached the end of the canopy, two little baboons were sitting in the walkway, minding their own business, grooming one another. Mom and I decided it was a good time for a U-turn to climb back onto the main pathway again.
That didn’t last too long… About 10 m along the main pathway (a pathway leading toward the Disa Kloof Waterfall located towards the northwestern boundary of the gardens), a gentle old man (baboon was nestled between the tall sedges), happily foraging away. As typical tourists (or people who are not used to seeing these magnificent creatures up close), we ended up taking photos of the old man, whilst getting as close as possible to him.
My mother and I continued on our merry way as a large group of tourists crept closer. The walkway took us on a lovely journey through the gardens, leading to new exhibitions in the gardens (those were not there during our last visit to the gardens), and to old familiar sites. It was so lovely to see how much of the gardens have recovered from the devastating wildfires which occurred a couple of years ago.
Leading along the pathway, we were met with the beautiful scapes of the Koggelberg mountain range and the strong river cutting its way through the mountains (with numerous bridges crossing over it). High up on the mountain you can see the Zig-Zag trail leading to the closest summit. My brother and I did the trail a couple of years ago. The valley is quite magnificent from up there. For this trip, mom and I decided to stick to the low grounds. Equally as beautiful, with a lot less possibility for the fear of heights to kick in.
Once we got to the waterfall the valley was nice and cool. With the old feeling of strolling to the Witpoortjie Waterfall greeting me once more. The waterfall is beautiful with a steady gush of water spilling over it. It was nice to see it up close again (last time we couldn’t get as close due to the damages from the wildfires.
Before heading home, we stopped at the little restaurant at the main gate for coffee and carrot cake. The servers were kind of flabbergasted, but the food and coffee were amazing! Much better than the previous establishment that was there.
All and all, it was a great morning out with my mother and it is one of the most treasured memories that I hold of my December holiday (and there were so many). I can’t wait to go back and do the Leopard’s kloof trail when I am back home again!
Until next time!
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