Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Travel

David ‘Driver ’ Mclean retired after 52 years at Kirstenbosch – seen here with Brian Rycroft, Director from 1953 to 1983.

The commitment of the Kirstenbosch team is no better exemplified than by the 52 years’ service of David ‘Driver’ Mclean. At the age of 13 he joined the staff as a messenger – the bicycle provided was far larger than David. After serving in the S.A. Army in the Middle East from 1939 to 1943, he returned to Kirstenbosch as a driver of tractors, trucks and buses, as well as his beloved front-end loader.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Travel Photo Gallery

The Jacobs family are Kirstenbosch stalwarts: from left to right – Andrew, father Dennis, Clive and Freddie.

The Jacobs family is another of the many that have been associated with the Garden over several generations. Dennis Jacobs, born in 1928, joined Kirstenbosch in 1963 and retired in 1993. Three of his sons, Andrew, Clive and Freddie, continue their careers in the information, nursery and administration sections of the Garden.

The exemplary service of the Kirstenbosch team is reflected in the ‘class of 1973’ which had eight long-service awardees, with a total of 310 years of service between them!

Today, like few other gardens, Kirstenbosch nestles within a vast protected area – the Table Mountain National Park, proclaimed in 1998. Together, they form part of the Cape Floristic Region World Heritage Site, inscribed by UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission in 2004. Extreme good fortune accounts for this situation – a sympathetic government and a generous public.

Kirstenbosch consisted of 134 hectares at establishment on 1 July 1913. Later that year, 30.9 hectares of the Klaasenbosch Estate were transferred to the Garden. In 1922, 299.8 hectares of mountain catchment (the Upper Kirstenbosch Nature Reserve) came under the Garden’s control. This land, reaching Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point on Table Mountain, includes the catchment of the three perennial streams that are the life-blood of Kirstenbosch. In 1961 a gift of 29.8 hectares was made to the Garden by Mrs I.G. Lubbert, while 4.5 hectares (Newland’s Heights) were added in 1992. Today Kirstenbosch comprises 199.2 hectares. The 299.8-hectare Upper Kirstenbosch Nature Reserve was transferred to the Table Mountain National Park in 1999, but continues to be managed as an integral part of the Garden.

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