Moon Author's Review
Cinchona Gardens, while not the best-maintained botanical gardens, have a spectacular variety of plants, including many orchid species, making it a magical place with an incredible view. Cinchona Gardens can be reached by turning left at the Anglican church in Mavis Bank, and then descending to cross the Yallahs River at Robertsfield. Once you cross the river, either keep left at the fork to Cinchona via Hall’s Delight, or take the right at the fork to reach Cinchona via Westphalia. Both roads are impassable for anything but 4x4 vehicles, or vehicles with good clearance. The bumpy journey takes about an hour from Mavis Bank. The caretaker at Cinchona is Lloyd Stamp, known by everyone simply as "Stamp" or "Stampy." He lives in a little house at the bottom of the gardens. There’s no admission cost, but given the gardeners’ poor government salaries, it’s advisable for visitors to "leave a ting" when presented with the visitors’ book for signing. Tips should be in the range of US$5-10 per person. The garden is open to visitors and tended from 7:30 a.m.to around 6 p.m daily. Call Stamp prior to your visit to check on the weather and the best route to take, as road conditions are in a constant flux and one may be better than the other at any given time.
Another route to Cinchona descends from Section above Hardwar Gap. Turn right at section and descend to St. Peters. In St. Peters turn off the main road to the left toward Chestervale and Clydesdale rather than continuing the decent toward Guava Ridge. At Clydesdale, you’ll see barbeques used to dry coffee beans, a water wheel, and an old great house now in ruins that hints of its more glorious past as a coffee plantation. It’s a fitting place for camping for those with their own tent. From Clydesdale, an old road leads to Cinchona that takes about 1.5 hours to walk, or a bit quicker for intrepid drivers with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The views hold more natural beauty on the route down from Section, but it takes quite a while longer to reach Cinchona.