Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden: NEW Tree Canopy Walkway

 Kirstenbosch Tree Canopy Walkway

Cape Town, Western Cape / South Africa

The beautiful and world renowned Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, together with the leading botanical gardens around the globe, is striving to provide its visitors with the fullest experience of the magnificent biodiversity, complexity and beauty of its resources.  One of the lesser known areas of Cape Town’s botanical garden is the Arboretum, which features a collection of over 450 indigenous trees.

Kirstenbosch Tree Canopy Walkway

For celebrating the 100-year partnership between the Botanical Society of South Africa and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)/Kirstenbosch, the decision was made to build a snake-like steel structure which leads through the tree tops of the Arboretum. Known as the “boomslang”, this extraordinary pathway will curve and wind through the tree branches and trunks in much the same way as a tree snake would do.

Kirstenbosch Tree Canopy Walkway
◾The structure of this Canopy Walkway is comprised of a structural spine and ribs, inspired by the form of a snake’s skeleton.
◾When completed, the walkway will take visitors from the forest floor through the foliage of the tree tops and ascend above the tree canopy from where scenic views across the mountain can be admired.
◾This new walkway will be, at some points, 11 meters above the ground.
◾The walkway is envisioned as a lightweight, non-intrusive steel structure featuring a slatted timber deck.
◾The galvanised steel structure will be painted to attract moss and growth.
◾The structure will be supported  by steel columns intertwined with creepers.

Interpretive boards with detailed information will line this tree walkway, providing visitors insights into the life of the tree canopy. A tranquil shaded seating area will mark the entrance to the walkway.

Kirstenbosch Tree Canopy Walkway

Opening in March 2014, the Tree Canopy Walkway in Kirstenbosch will be 130m long.  “We wanted to celebrate our Centenary with a project that would be spectacular, unique and long-lasting,” said Adam Harrower from Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.  “This walkway, which had been on the backburner for many years, fits all the criteria and was a perfect way to mark the event in Kirstenbosch with something permanent.”

Kirstenbosch Tree Canopy Walkway

Designed by the architects Christopher Bisset and Mark Thomas, the walkway was inspired by the form of a snake’s skeleton.  The walkway offers 360-degree views of Cape Town and the city’s mountain slopes. It also allows guests to experience the forest from high above the ground and see birds and other animals that are otherwise difficult to spot.  The walkway will be wheelchair accessible and was made possible by private funding but predominantly Mary Mullins.

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