Kirstenbosch Gardens reopens gates but fire danger persists

SANParks twitter.

SANParks twitter.

Published Apr 30, 2024


South African National Parks (SANParks) firefighters continue to monitor fire flare-ups behind Newlands, Fernwood Park and on the slopes of Kirstenbosch, moving towards Orangekloof.

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has closed all hiking trails between Newlands and Constantia Nek, as well as all trails leading to Maclear’s Beacon and the Back Table of TMNP, including paths leading from the area between Camps Bay and Hout Bay. The park management team said this was due to wind changes and overnight flare-ups for safety reasons.

SANParks spokesperson JP Louw said: “The priority remains the safety of residents, hikers, and firefighting personnel, therefore we encourage users to refrain from accessing these areas. SANParks is appealing to the public to respect the trail closures to not endanger anyone or hamper firefighting efforts.”

“SANParks currently has 40 firefighters from the NCC Environmental Services and Working on Fire actively engaged in various areas along the fire line, but the fire's intensity is being influenced by wind shifts and cloud cover, making it difficult to predict and control.”

“The affected areas are mostly inaccessible, and visibility is poor, posing challenges for ground and aerial crews and making it difficult to carry out water-bombing activities and active fire suppression. Updates will be provided as the situation develops. Co-operation from the community is appreciated during this challenging time,” Louw said.

TMNP has also extended its gratitude to the members of the public and various organisations for sponsoring beverages, warm meals, energy bars and more for its firefighting teams.

Meanwhile, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has reopened the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for patrons to access the garden.

SANBI spokesperson Nontsikelelo Mpulo said: “Following consultations with stakeholders, and based on the prevailing wind direction, we have decided not to close the garden.

“We are monitoring the situation and following guidance from the SANParks Fire Chief. Further decisions will be taken should conditions change.”

Cape Argus