Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, in line with the leading botanical gardens of the world, is constantly striving to give its visitors the fullest experience of the biodiversity, complexity and beauty of its resources.

One of the lesser known areas of the garden is the Arboretum, which houses a collection of over 450 indigenous trees. In order to celebrate a 100-year partnership between the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)/Kirstenbosch and the Botanical Society of South Africa, the decision was made to build a snake-like steel structure amongst the tree tops of the Arboretum. Affectionately known as the “boomslang”, the pathway will wind and curve through the branches and tree trunks in much the same way as a boomslang or tree snake would do.

The structure is comprised of a structural spine and ribs, inspired by the form of a snake’s skeleton.

When completed, the walkway will take visitors from the forest floor through the foliage of the tree tops and eventually ascend above the canopy to give spectacular views across the mountain. This incredible walkway will allow visitors to experience a whole other facet of the botanical gardens from 11 meters above the ground.

The site plan below shows the topography and some of its most notable trees. The design of the walkway uses the sites pre-existing contours to achieve elevation. The key illustrates the variety of trees that will feature in the Canopy Walkway. Interpretive storyboards will line the walkway, offering visitors insights into the life of the tree canopy. Tranquil shaded seating will mark the entrance to the walkway.


For more information on the Canopy Walkway and what’s happening at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens visit the SANBI website. Follow Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on Twitter to keep up to date with what’s happening. @KirstenboschNBG

Photographer: Britt Storlykken Helland
Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers