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​Enjoy sunny skies and happy times at SA’s botanical gardens

There’s a legal and safe way to enjoy South Africa’s natural wonders (in an open and spacious environment) by visiting our national botanical wonders. These remain open with COVID-19 safety precautions in place.



SA’s botanical gardens



Above: Candelabra lily (Brunsvigia bosmaniae) sends up large pink flower heads in autumn in the Hantam National Botanical Garden. Photo: SANBI.


In fact, the Botanical Society of South Africa has a 2021 challenge for you to create new sunny memories in South Africa’s 11 wonderful national botanical gardens.

There are a number of exciting reasons to choose the botanical gardens:

  • Your children will find open space to run and play.
  • Adults can enjoy relaxing on the sweeping lawns that allow us to socially distance but be close enough to spend time together and to picnic.
  • You could even walk into your own nature documentary.

According to Antonia de Barros, General Manager of the Botanical Society of South Africa, “The many delights in our glorious botanical gardens help to combat the stresses of pandemic life.”


Above: The king protea (Protea cynaroides) shows its magnificence in the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden. Photo: SANBI.


Here are some tips on what you could see and enjoy during your visit

  • Wander below towering tree ferns in the shady, cool Dell at Kirstenbosch NBG, Cape Town.
  • See eagles soar above waterfalls at Walter Sisulu NBG, Johannesburg.
  • Amble past bright red-hot pokers to the bird hide at the Free State NBG, Bloemfontein.
  • See ancient baobab trees at the Lowveld NBG, Mbombela.
  • Be surprised by stunning sea views when exploring the rich fynbos flora at the Harold Porter NBG, Betty’s Bay.

The Botanical Society’s Conservation Manager Rupert Koopman adds, “The wildlife living in national botanical gardens are used to people, so chances of a special wildlife encounter are high.”


Above: A southern double collared sunbird enjoys the sweet nectar from an aloe in the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens. Photo: SANBI.


Get to KNOW your plants

Antonia suggests making your visit to the garden a learning experience: “Have fun together, get to KNOW your plants, KNOW your environment and get up close and personal with nature.” Information signs in botanical gardens introduce you to the plants displayed and often give hints for those wanting to garden at home.


You could even GROW your own

“Use the information to GROW more plants that originate in South Africa (indigenous) in your own garden, big or small, even on your balcony or windowsill,” Antonia adds.


Above: Massed vygies (Drosanthemum species) light up the entrance to the restaurant at the Karoo Desert National Botanical Gardens. Photo: SANBI.


Help PROTECT our natural heritage

Join BotSoc, a civil society, non-profit organisation that supports projects conserving indigenous plants, and in so doing help PROTECT South Africa’s plants. Your membership fee will assist in supporting vital environmental programmes, such as the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers, and involving more youth in conservation.

As a BotSoc member, you’ll read about these projects and our stunning South African plants in our free quarterly magazine, the inspiring Veld & Flora. When you join BotSoc, you can also choose from a range of free-entry options to access national botanical gardens.


Above: The London planetree avenue creates a shaded walkway for visitors to  the KwaZulu–Natal National Botanical Garden. Photo: SANBI.


ENJOY South Africa’s green space

Most importantly, BotSoc members get to ENJOY precious time in a beautiful green space that is safe, tranquil, informative, healthy and fun with people who share your appreciation of nature.

Antonia notes, “There’s so much happening in national botanical gardens as part of the innovative partnership between SANBI and BotSoc. Get in on it and do your bit – South Africans working together for our planet is what it’s about!”

Join the Botanical Society 

– an online process that is quick and safe.


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