Our Blog: Plants and other Stories


Gardens open again from Monday 3 August

Jul 31, 2020  |  Written by Zoë Chapman Poulsen. Photos by Chapman Poulsen.

Re-opening of the National Botanical Gardens



Above: Spectacular mountain views at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Photo supplied by SANBI Marketing.


At long last, we have some truly wonderful news to share. On Wednesday, 29 July, we received official notice from the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) that they would be re-opening the National Botanical Gardens (NBGs) to the public for exercise on Monday, 3 August. The main activities permitted within the gardens during advanced level 3 include walks, hikes, and exercise (no more than four people in a group allowed), and restaurants and shops will open for sit-down. Please click here for the full document outlining SANBI’s protocols for re-opening of NBGs. Note the second last section, which outlines the allowed and prohibited activities specific to each garden.

Please do remember to enjoy the wonder floral diversity and look out for what might have changed since you last visited in terms of biodiversity over this period while you exercise in the gardens.

Above: Bulbs and annuals in bloom on the Spiderweb Trail, Hantam National Botanical Gardens.


Expired membership card entry

SANBI has confirmed that BotSoc members whose old paper membership cards expired during lockdown (26 March – 31 July 2020) will be allowed entry into Kirstenbosch NBG in Cape Town and Walter Sisulu NBG in Joburg in order to renew or replace cards at the BotSoc office. This will be the case for the whole month of August, providing a window for us to assist any members who find our new online platform on Webtickets difficult to transition to (see section on card collections below).

All members are requested to bring their ID card/document along with their membership card, as SANBI gate staff will request to view both.

BotSoc Offices

Both our offices, at Kirstenbosch NBG in Cape Town and Walter Sisulu NBG in Joburg, will re-open on Monday, 3 August, adhering to strict safety procedures such as daily cleaning and sanitising of offices, provision of Personal Protective Equipment to all staff (including hand sanitizer for public use), placement of physical barriers in appropriate places, temperature screening and use of contact tracing registers. It is important to note that we are a non-profit organization with a small staff complement who have been working remotely for the past 4 months. In anticipation of unsafe numbers of foot traffic:

Only one member will be allowed to enter the office at a time.
PLEASE NOTE: All members must make an appointment in order
to visit a BotSoc office.

To book an appointment to see a Membership Officer
at Kirstenbosch NBGclick here.

To book an appointment to see a Membership Officer
at Walter Sisulu NBGclick here.

The only services available are membership sign ups and renewals, new card collections and lost card replacements. We love it when our members pop in to chat to us, but unfortunately this will not be possible yet. This is for your own safety as well as BotSoc staff, and will avoid an unsafe situation where too many members find themselves congregating outside the office in long queues.

We urge members to consider emailing queries to info@botanicalsociety.org.za first, as it is likely that we can assist you remotely. Physical visits should be limited as much as possible.


Above: Main waterfall at Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens. Photo supplied by SANBI Marketing.


Membership Card Collections

Members who have renewed and are now on our Webtickets system have been patiently waiting for their new membership cards, the distribution of which had to be postponed due to the national lockdown.


While our offices will be open for card collections, it is important to note the following:

1. A digital barcoded card is now available – and highly recommended at this time instead of the physical card, for current health/safety and environmental reasons. This digital “card” can be downloaded and saved to your mobile device (or printed) to be displayed at the gate in the same manner you would use the physical membership card to access the gardens. Please email us at info@botanicalsociety.org.za to request instructions for downloading the digital card if you have not already done so.

2. If you would still like to have a physical plastic membership card, please make an appointment to visit our offices using the booking links provided above, thus assisting with safety controls.

a. Walter Sisulu NBG:
Card collections at our Northern office will only be possible from Monday, 10 August. Please bear this in mind when booking your appointment.
b. Other areas:
Members who do not live close enough to book an appointment and visit Kirstenbosch NBG or Walter Sisulu NBG will have to download the digital card for the time being until other arrangements can be made.

Bookshops at Kirstenbosch NBG

Please note that the only membership-related query that can be handled by the Kirstenbosch Branch Bookshops at this time is the collection of a physical plastic membership card on the weekend. This must be pre-arranged in the following manner:

– Email info@botanicalsociety.org.za from Monday to Thursday with the subject
“Card collection at bookshop” and your request to collect a physical membership
card from the Bookshop on the weekend.

– One of our Membership Support Officers will respond to acknowledge your request, and will ensure that your card is at the Bookshop at Gate 1 (main entrance) for collection on the weekend.

– Email requests received on Fridays will only be attended to in the following week.

– Please do not visit the Bookshop to collect your card unless you have received a confirmation email.


Above: River Cascade viewpoint at Lowveld National Botanical Gardens.


Veld & Flora

Lockdown delayed the printing and posting of the June issue of Veld & Flora.
Our return to office means that we can now address this – please note that
both the June and September issues will be enveloped together and posted to members.In the meantime, you can still read the March and June issues online.

We are very excited to have you all enjoying the botanical gardens again and we are pleased to connect with you at our offices under the conditions described above. We trust that we can count on your cooperation and thank all our members for your continued patience and support. Working together with understanding and kindness will ensure that we all make it through these unusual circumstances.

From your BotSoc Team at National Office



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