The Liesbeek is the oldest urbanised river in South Africa. Canalised along most of its length (approx 70%), It flows through Newlands, Rondebosch, Rosebank and Observatory until it joins the Black River, which empties into Table Bay.
The Liesbeek’s name is thought to be derived from old Dutch words for reeds or water plants (lies) and stream (beecq, or beeck). Only 9 kms long, it starts where the Protea and Window streams join together in the Boschenheuvel Arboretum. The Protea stream is formed in Kirstenbosch Gardens by the coming together of the Vaalkat, Nursery and Skeleton streams which arise on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Other mountain streams which drain the eastern slopes of Table Mountain include the Loeriebos, Fernwood, Hiddingh and Newlands streams.