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Apart from there being a veritable plethora of image subjects in this garden, the lotus flowers in the little pond next to the hothouses provide a soothing and joyful focus point at this time of the year. On 7 Jan. Nettie and I left a windy, cloudy Cape Town hopefully, and we were quite surprised to find Stellenbosch under a clear sky! 

This is the oldest university botanical garden in South Africa – and beautifully maintained. The gardens include three glass houses (tropical-, succulent- and karoo houses), the lotus lily pond, water lily pond, Japanese garden, herb garden and arboretum. There is also the BioBou Garden Gift Shop (only indigenous, plant-based, organic and eco-friendly products). The garden is open 8-5, seven days a week, closed only on certain public holidays.  Call 021 808 3054 for information on how many lotuses are in bloom.

The earlier you go the better, for photographing bright flowers in full sun is not the easiest of tasks (at about 10.00 the sun shines on most of the lilies). Be sure to take sunscreen and a hat! Apart from these supermodel lilies, you will also find insects galore to photograph, so don’t leave your long lens at home: dragonflies, spiders, nectar-seeking goggos..

The Katjiepiering Tea Garden in the dense shade of the huge oaks could provide whatever sustenance you need during your stay.

If you don’t want to travel so far, and live in Cape Town, you will find sacred lotuses in the bottom-most pond of Wynberg Park, but these lotuses are not as accessible as the ones in Stellenbosch.  It is a natural, wild pond, not a brick built pond with lilies hanging over its sides. The choice is yours.

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