Know, grow, protect and enjoy South Africa's indigenous plants

Botanical Gardens

BotSoc is a proud partner and funder of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), caretaker of our country’s 11 official National Botanical Gardens, as well as other privately run living libraries. 

FEATURED GARDEN
HAROLD PORTER

Free State

Kwa-Zulu Natal

Durban

KWELERA

Garden Route

LOWVELD

Hantam

Pretoria

Karoo Desert

Thohoyandou

Kirstenbosch

Walter Sisulu

Free State National Botanical Garden

Free State National Botanical Garden is located on the outskirts of Bloemfontein amid a landscape of picturesque wooded dolerite koppies and tall grassland. The garden is home to more than 400 plant species, mostly originating from the Free State, Northern Cape and Lesotho.  Brightly coloured red hot pokers (Kniphofia) and wild dagga (Leonotis) provide pops of colour against the soft green woodland backdrop, leading visitors down to the dam and bird hide.

Hantam National Botanical Garden

Hantam National Botanical Garden is found near the small Namaqualand town of Nieuwoudtville on the Bokkeveld escarpment. The garden extends for more than 6 000ha, covering areas of Nieuwoudtville shale renosterveld, Nieuwoudtville-Roggeveld dolerite renosterveld and Hantam succulent Karoo. Nine walking trails of various lengths encourage visitors to explore the gardens at their leisure. The Botanical Gardens are home to around 1 350 plant species, of which more than 80 are endemic to the Bokkeveld plateau. During spring, the garden bursts into bloom with multi-coloured carpets of bulbs and annuals.

Harold Porter National Botanical Garden

Harold Porter National Botanical Garden nestles at the foot of the Kogelberg in the small coastal Overberg town of Betty’s Bay. The garden’s more formal landscaped section showcases unique fynbos flora from the surrounding area and beyond, one of the Cape floristic region’s most biodiverse areas. Lovely walking trails take visitors into the surrounding fynbos and forested kloofs, leading to the beautiful waterfalls of Disa Kloof and Leopard Kloof.  

Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden

The main focus of the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden is the extraordinary plant diversity of South Africa’s arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Karoo Desert NBG is located 120km from Cape Town in the town of Worcester at the foot of the majestic Hex River mountain range. Of the gardens 154ha, 11ha are formally landscaped with several different hiking trails leading visitors through the rest of the garden and its natural vegetation. The garden’s beautiful aloe collection is best seen in winter when snow is often seen on the nearby peaks of the Hex. In spring, many vygies and annuals come into bloom across the garden, providing spectacular and colourful displays. There is also a large potted succulent collection that can be visited on a pre-arranged guided tour.  

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Found in the shadow of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain and at the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of South Africa’s most internationally renowned botanical gardens. It aims to promote the sustainable use, conservation and enjoyment of South Africa’s rich plant life for the benefit of all. Kirstenbosch NBG was founded in 1913 after the South African government set aside the Kirstenbosch estate and pledged £1 000 per annum towards support and upkeep of a new botanical garden. Since then, it has grown from a neglected farm and ruined homestead to a world-class botanical garden, home to an extraordinary plant collection that showcases South Africa’s unique flora.

KwaZuluNatal National Botanical Garden

KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden forms a relaxing green space at the edge of the CBD in the capital of KwaZulu-Natal, the city of Pietermaritzburg. The garden was first founded in 1874 to grow tree seedlings. Today the garden’s main focus is showcasing the unique and highly biodiverse flora of South Africa’s eastern grasslands, particularly from the genera Clivia, Gerbera, Kniphofia and Watsonia. The garden contains several theme areas such as the Zulu demonstration garden, plane tree avenue, cycad garden, permaculture garden and clivia dam. KwaZulu-Natal NBG is today planted with wildlife in mind, attracting more than 150 bird species, in addition to features such as the insect hotel.

Lowveld National Botanical Garden

Lowveld National Botanical Garden is located in Mbombela (Nelspruit) at the confluence of the Crocodile and Nels Rivers. Visitors can see spectacular waterfalls from viewpoints in the garden. Lowveld NBG showcases plants from Limpopo Province, including iconic trees such as the baobab. The garden is also home to one of the largest collections of South African fig trees, as well as an extensive plant collection representing the rapidly disappearing forests of west and central Africa. Lowveld NBG plays an important role in conserving rare and threatened plant species. It was pivotal in establishment the Cycad Gene Bank, helping to secure the future of this ancient plant group.  

Pretoria National Botanical Garden

Pretoria National Botanical Gardens (NBG) is a 76ha oasis, founded in 1946 in the eastern suburbs of South Africa’s administrative capital. The garden is divided into two sections by a 35-metre-high quartzite outcrop. A paved nature trail gives visitors access to explore this ridge. The rest of the site is landscaped with South African indigenous flora, focusing on savanna and forest ecosystems. Pretoria NBG also houses the head office of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).  

Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden

Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens in Roodepoort was founded in 1982, but the site had been popular with recreational visitors since the 1800s. The gardens are overshadowed by the sugarbush ridges, from which the Witpoortjie falls cascade down into the gardens. Near the waterfalls is a nesting spot for the iconic Verreaux’s eagles of Roodekraans, which are followed the world via social media. This nest is thought to be more than 80 years old. The sugarbush ridges are vegetated with rocky highveld grassland, home to more than 600 plant species, including the endangered Albertina Sisulu Orchid.  

Kwelera National Botanical Garden

Kwelera National Botanical Garden (NBG) is the 10th and most recently established of SANBI’s NBGs. In contrast to its historic inland counterparts in the Eastern Cape, Makana botanical garden in Grahamstown and King William’s Town botanical garden, Kwelera is located on the stunning Wild Coast at East London. This is the first NBG that SANBI has established in the Eastern Cape. Kwelera NBG is not yet open to the public but the site has already been gazetted and environmental impact assessment consultants appointed to conduct EIAs for its built components. Designs by landscape architects are underway for the 10ha landscaped portion of the gardens. Watch this space for more news as this exciting project grows! 

Thohoyandou

SANBI is currently managing the site that will become South Africa’s 11th National Botanical Garden, the first to be established in Limpopo Province. This is in line with SANBI’s strategy to establish at least one NBG in each South African province. This 89ha garden consists predominantly of Soutpansberg mountain bushveld and was initially managed by now retired ethnobotanical expert and founder of the Venda Herbarium Eric Netshuingani. The future aim is to develop further the plant collections displayed and conserved, focusing on the flora of Limpopo. SANBI is currently working closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs with the aim of gazetting the site as a National Botanical Garden as soon as possible.  

Non-SANBI Gardens

Durban

Durban Botanic Gardens is Africa’s oldest surviving botanical garden. It was first established beside the Umgeni River in 1849. In 1851, it moved to a better, 15ha site on the lower slopes of the Berea and near the city’s heart. Its most famous curator, John Medley Wood (1827-1915), made the gardens central to preserving one of the world’s rarest plants, the cycas Encephalartos woodii. Today the gardens has significant collections of cycads, palms and orchids, as well as a new strelitzia garden. In 1913, Durban Botanic Gardens was taken over by the municipality. The gardens remain free to enter and since 1993, the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust has helped raise funds for its maintenance, development and publication programme. Durban Botanic Gardens has an established working relationship with SANBI. 

Garden Route 

The Garden Route Botanical Garden was founded at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains in 1996 after George Local Municipality gave BotSoc’s Garden Route Branch permission for its development. The Garden Route Botanical Garden Trust was formed in 1997 to manage the garden and the Southern Cape Herbarium, housed at the George Museum. The 19ha garden focuses on conserving and displaying locally indigenous plants from the Southern Cape region in thematic display beds. There is a well-labelled tree collection from the Southern Cape forests. The garden is an important wildlife habitat, with 52 butterfly species, 26 damselfly species, 10 frog species, 600 plant species and 146 birds recorded at the site. The Garden Route NBG is a hub for environmental education, community projects and other regional plant conservation activities. 

Office hours

Monday to Friday 08h30 to 16h00. Closed on weekends and public holidays.

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+27 (0) 21 797 2090
+27 (0) 21 797 2376

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