16 January 2013 by Kate Turkington

One of South Africa’s most beautiful gardens

You’ll find it almost impossible to imagine yourself in the very heart of Johannesburg when you wander round the astonishing variety of landscapes and flora in the gorgeous, eco-friendly Brenthurst Gardens.

A colourful corner

If you’ve a spare couple of hours and love gorgeous gardens, then book a visit to the Brenthurst Gardens, right in the heart of Johannesburg.

Accompanied by a few friends, and armed with binoculars (because Brenthurst also boasts over a 100 bird species), I set off on a bright sunny summer morning with Samson Mogale, one of the 32 specialist gardeners and guides, to discover why the gardens are so highly regarded.

Well, first of all, they are incredibly beautiful. In 2 hours we covered less than a quarter of the 16ha (45 acre) space, but were introduced to an amazing variety of landscapes, plants, trees, shrubs and flowers.

The gardens are set on a precipitous rocky slope where trees were planted over 100 years ago, when the Oppenheimer residence was built in 1906. But as you walk from one scenic experience to another, sometimes it’s hard to believe that, firstly, you’re in the middle of a huge city, and secondly, you’re in the same garden.

There are so many paths, informal enclosures and clearings that every few minutes you experience something different.

Some of these names show what I mean: wander from the Pelargonium Garden to the fragrant Bell Garden; meander along the Children’s Terrace (with bronze statues of the present Oppenheimer grandchildren) to the Grassland Garden; watch the koi in the Eco Pond; or admire Renoir’s bronze of Venus below the terrace before taking in the Big Lawn, Butterfly, Monkey House, Wetland, Japanese, Labyrinth, and Vegetable & Cutting gardens. And don’t miss the 2 000-year-old stately cycad.

There are so many paths, informal enclosures and clearings that every few minutes you experience something different.

Brenthurst not only reflects the natural landscape, but also the gardening history of the city itself, and because all of Brenthurst is based on biodynamic and naturalistic gardening principles, it is a song of praise to nature.

The gardens are planned to be beautiful all year round, so you can visit in any season. Just make sure you have comfortable walking shoes, and in summer, carry a bottle of water.

Category: Attractions


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