The Cape Town Fynbos Experience
My knowledge of fynbos is admittedly poor. It’s limited to my admiration of this wild vegetation during various hikes around the Cape, which I passionately enjoy. I vaguely remember doing some limited research a number of years ago while participating in a group short story writing project at my writer’s circle, so I do remember that some species rely on fires for seeds to germinate. I also remember walking through fields of renosterbos on the farms of Tesselaarsdal, an intriguing little place between Caledon and the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley where we’d often stop for tea in the only coffee shop, De Poskantoor.
It’s quite thought-provoking to realise how little thought and awareness goes into our experiences. Now that I am paying attention to my fynbos experiences prior to this official ‘laboratory-style’ introduction to the cape fynbos, I’m realising how much a part of our life and heritage it is, even though we may not be conscious of this at the time. Years ago, while living with a friend temporarily during a relocation to a new town, we had an evening ritual of engaging in late night conversation over a cup of buchu tea and honey. My early motherhood memories are infused with the aroma of rooibos, which I now have an aversion to after being steeped in its distinct flavour and being denied my preferred Five Roses, and back then, coffee.
The Cape Town Fynbos Experience in the Company’s Gardens is an exploration of taste, touch, smell and sight of our fynbos heritage. Honeybush tea, rooibos tea, infusions of buchu, rhino bush, snow bush and cancer bush… olive oil and vinegar infused with buchu to make our own vinaigrette for our spekboom ‘salad’… And for dessert? Buchu brandy, snow bush vodka, and rhino bush gin mixed with buchu- or rose pelargonium cordial, and paired with rose, citrus and almond Turkish delights!
This is an hour-long tasting hosted by Giselle whose extensive knowledge of our fynbos heritage will leave you intrigued and eager to learn more about the diverse uses and benefits of these plants.
Booking two days in advance is essential, and groups of a minimum of 10 and maximum 20 can be accommodated. Individual guests can join a set tasting at 2pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays with tickets available on Webtickets.
*** Note on accessibility:
This is situated in the Company Gardens alongside the restaurant, in the heritage building, so to navigate accessible routes, entrance from the cathedral entrance is probably the best route, as from Queen Victoria Road there are stairs to enter the gardens. There is a ramp onto the verandah, but a small step at the entrance into the building. There were two wheelchair users on our visit and we managed without difficulty. Toilets however are not accessible, but there are toilets next door at the restaurant. We still need to have a look if those are accessible as we visited outside of normal operating hours as part of a Travel Massive event, so will update on our next visit.