When the Dutch East India Company arrived in what would become known as Cape Town in 1652, one of the first things they did was plant a garden to help feed the settlers. The Company's Garden still exists, today as a public park. A green oasis in the center of the city, the garden is a favorite of both locals and visitors.
Sprawling over 20 acres (8 hectares), the Company’s Garden is a thriving urban space located close to the parliament building. The park has a fish pond, rose garden, an 18th-century sundial, and several monuments and statues, including those of Queen Victoria and Jan Smuts. Attractions near the garden include the Iziko South African Museum, St. George's Cathedral, and South Africa's National Library.
The Company’s Garden has many paths for walking or jogging and grassy lawns for relaxing or picnicking. You can pick up a brochure at the visitor center that will lead you on a self-guided walk of the park’s notable features. The garden is also a typical stop on many sightseeing tours of Cape Town, particularly those focused on history and heritage.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Company’s Garden is a must-visit for those interested in Cape Town history.
- There is no admission fee to visit the park.
- The Company’s Garden Restaurant is open from early morning through late afternoon.
- The garden is home to the oldest cultivated pear tree in South Africa, planted around 1652.
How to Get There
The Company’s Garden is located in the heart of the city center, within a short walking distance of several hotels and attractions, including the District Six Museum. If coming from the V&A Waterfront, take bus 104 to Cape Town Lower Plein 1, then walk 10 minutes. The closest train station is Cape Town Station, a 20-minute walk away.
When to Get There
The Company's Garden is open daily in the summer from 7am to 8:30pm and in winter from 7am to 7pm. The space really comes alive in the afternoon, when office workers on their lunch breaks arrive to soak up the fresh air and buskers stroll around strumming guitars. The Company’s Garden Restaurant’s outdoor seating makes for a particularly attractive lunch spot.
The People’s Church
Just over the road from the Company’s Garden, you’ll find St. George’s Cathedral, known as the “people’s church.” Even during the apartheid era, the church welcomed people of all races, and it was also the starting point for South Africa’s biggest anti-apartheid protest march, led by Desmond Tutu, in 1989.