The Company Gardens are a picturesque establishment of luscious green plants and colourful flora where one can take a break from the bustling city and take a leisurely walk through the tree lined paths or relax in the calming shade. The garden is framed by a dramatic landscape at the foot of Table Mountain with Devils Peak on the east and Lions Head to the west.
The Company Gardens are the oldest gardens in the country, formally established in 1652 by Dutch settlers who wanted to create a refreshment station for ships traveling to the East. During the 17th century, Cape Town grew significantly and was supplying ships engaged in foreign wars.
The Gardens have expanded since then and became famous for plants that were exported. A master plan has been devised to make sure the gardens will develop, flourish and grow into the 21st century, while at the same time maintaining its historical character.
Within the Company Gardens, one finds a few significant buildings, many of which have been updated and restored. The most significant of these is the Parliament building, situated in the uppermost corner of the Gardens, with the entrance in Parliament Street. The building itself, which houses the Library of Parliament, is an attractive establishment with its central dome and Corinthian entrance and pavilion. Its impressive façade is best viewed from Plein Street. Visitors can go on a tour of the Houses of Parliament during the week or one can purchase a ticket to sit in the public gallery when parliament is in session.
The South African National Gallery can also be found in the Gardens. Other museums in the vicinity are The African Jewish Museum, The District Six Museum and the South African Museum.