Written by Catherine Clulow
So I bet you’ve heard of Kirstenbosch right? And perhaps the garden(s) in your region, but many people are not aware that there are in fact 10 National Botanical Gardens managed by BotSoc’s partner the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). Each garden gem offers something special and each and every one is well worth a visit. What’s more, as a BotSoc member, you are afforded the benefit of free entrance into all 10 gardens (with presentation of your valid BotSoc membership card), so head on out and explore. Each garden offers endless opportunities of learning, enjoying and engaging with nature.
Here’s a sneak peek at the 10 SANBI National Botanical Gardens (NBGs): Find out where they are and what they offer and pop in to explore and enjoy them when you are next in the area.
1. Free State NBG – Bloemfontein
On the fringes of Bloemfontein this garden extends between picturesque dolerite koppies. An experience not to be missed.
2. Hantam NBG – Nieuwoudtville
Take your time to enjoy the array of flora and fauna that call Hantam National Botanical Garden home. The first National Botanic Garden in the Northern Cape.
3. Harold Porter NBG – Betty’s Bay
Situated in the heart of the coastal fynbos where the flora is at its richest, extending from mountain slopes to the coastal dunes of the Overstrand district, this garden is renowned for their waterfalls and amber pools. The inspiration behind the gold medal-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year.
4. Karoo Desert NBG – Worcester
An exceptional gem, this garden displays a wide variety of South Africa’s desert and semi-desert plants at the foot of the Hex River Mountain range. The garden showcases a large succulent collection and is most popular to visit when the annuals and vygies are in bloom during Spring.
5. Kirstenbosch NBG – Cape Town
This world-renowned garden of magnificence on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain is more than just a garden: It is a tourism hotspot, place of recreation, conservation and learning. This garden is also home to the Botanical Society of South Africa’s Head Office and award-winning Centenary ‘Boomslang’ Canopy walkway.
6. KwaZulu-Natal NBG – Pietermaritzburg
This peaceful garden focuses on the conservation of plants from the eastern regions of South Africa and rare and endangered species from elsewhere.
7. Kwelera NBG – North of East London
The youngest of the SANBI national botanical gardens. Wild and raw beauty awaits and magic is found in the dune forests and surrounds.
Unfortunately this garden is not yet open to the public
8. Lowveld NBG – Nelspruit
This garden is characterised by two rivers crossing, the Crocodile and Nels Rivers. Remarkable waterfalls and an African rainforest containing captivating vegetation from the coastal belt as well as Limpopo Province, are only a glimpse of what’s to be seen and enjoyed.
9. Pretoria NBG – Brummeria
This urban oasis offers a pristine getaway situated in the eastern suburbs of South Africa’s administrative capital. A 35 metre high quartzite outcrop divides the garden into two sections offering visitors two worlds to explore. This garden is also home to the SANBI head office.
10. Walter Sisulu NBG – Roodepoort
Voted the best place to get back to nature in Gauteng for the past nine years: This garden is an escape in the middle of the city. A breathtaking waterfall, outdoor gym, fascinating Black Eagle project, children’s area, restaurant, and birding opportunities make this a must visit.