Monday 29 August 2016

Cape Town mountain walks and an inspirational woman

When my mother drives to work, as she does every day, this is where she goes.

Her 'office' is Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, one of the most famous botanical gardens of the world and surely the one with the most spectacular natural setting.

As one of Kirstenbosch's leading guides, an expert on the region's flora, she has walked and talked many many hundreds of visiting botanists and plant enthusiasts from all over the world around these gardens.

(See here for why this UNESCO World Heritage listed area is one of the world's six Floral Kingdoms - by far the smallest yet by far the richest in diversity)

For her family, this means we score with the best possible guide for the mountain walks and trails that Cape Town has in abundance, and which she knows like the back of her hand.

Leading the way - on Table Mountain paths, in May last year ...

and at Silvermine Nature Reserve, April this year ...


Inspecting the cycads at the gardens of Babylonstoren, April this year ...

Passion for her work and for life is what has always driven her.

On her 80th birthday, her gift to herself was an abseil - she fulfilled a dream by launching herself 1000 metres into vertical space off the top of Table Mountain ... 


I've been a little afraid of what she might have been planning for today, her 90th birthday.

Celebratory lunch two days ago (photo Ann Swanepoel)

The only thing I'm sure of is that she'll continue to be an inspiration.

Happy 90th birthday, Mom! May the paths continue to open up in front of you 
with many great adventures ahead.

Cape Town, 2015 & 2016


  1. Oh Karen, this post is very, very beautiful, in the spectacular photographs we know we will find here, but also in the tribute you have written to your mom. What a remarkable lady! It's grand that she is still guiding other people to amazing places in a beautiful part of our world. (You do look like her!)

    This is a post to treasure.

    (Quick question for you. I recently received an email, that might actually have been sent by you, but I had my doubts and deleted it. Please do let me know, over at my blog.) xo

  2. Great blog Karen! Very apt for this momentous occasion. Vovó is the first family member since the indomitable Elaine to reach the 90th milestone. JDVM

  3. Dear Karen, What a treasure your mom is. What a beautiful lady.

  4. WOW! What an amaaaaaazing mama you have! A true inspiration! Happy Birthday to her! Thanks for sharing all this beauty. x janelle

  5. Dot whizzed me around Kirstenbosch a few months ago. Three hours of non-stop facts about the garden, its flora and history, social and political. Her walks have to be on everyone's bucket list

  6. I certainly agree to some points that you have discussed on this post. I appreciate that you have shared some reliable tips.

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