Jessica, Emily and I stumbled across Vink’s Arboretum last weekend, which is a lush green belt that runs parallel to Majik Forest on the border between Bellville and Durbanville.
Managed by a partnership between Cape Town City Parks and the volunteer group Vink’s Greenbelt Association, the popular walking and picnic spot is home to more than 500 indigenous trees – most of which were planted by the eponymous Mr. Vink van Zyl (who passed away in 2005) himself.
A local Geocaching enthusiast (Gr8Scot) posted a rather nice piece on the arboretum which is worth repeating here:
During 2001 Vink van Zyl – a retired engineer known for his work on the ABSA building in central Cape Town and the (then) new Groote Schuur Hospital, approached the Parks department with a request for an area where he could plant a large number of indigenous trees. It was agreed that the most suitable area for such a project would be the corner of Jip De Jager and Van Riebeeckshof road, an undeveloped park area, where road-building material was stored and levelled.
Vink approached contractors carrying excavated material from local developments, and negotiated with them that if they were permitted to dump fill in the area, they should in return loan machinery for levelling and shaping the area and for digging holes. He then surveyed the area and set levels for filling, the first phase of which began in about November 2001 and was completed by autumn 2002.
He then began planting trees, most of which were obtained from the Bellville municipal nursery, where he spent many hours choosing them. A gravity feed water line made from irrigation piping supplied by the municipality was laid from the dam to the park. From connections in the line, hose pipes could be used to water the trees.
While Vink was planting the first stage, filling continued in the second stage. After planting in the second stage was completed, he then began filling the final stage, which was the northern corner next to the river. By now more then 20 000 cubic metres of soil had been dumped.
Vink also collected indigenous shrubs and plants from various nurseries, and planted them around the arboretum. Together with the help of Dr. Christi Kloppers, a vet with a keen interest in nature, he also collected Renosterveld seed from the area where the Vineyard Office Estate is now, and planted it to add some colour.
He was working on beautifying the lower entrance between the river and pathway when he passed away.
As you can well imagine, the range of trees to be found is absolutely amazing, and the place itself is well worth a stroll.
Of course, my girls got rather bored, rather fast, which is a pity because I was kind of enjoying working through all the tree name boards…
(Note: We accessed Vink’s Arboretum by going through the entrance situated on the corner of Jip De Jager Drive and Van Riebeeckshof Road in case you’re keen on finding it yourself. 33°51’35.2″S 18°37’36.3″E)