The Pretoria Botanical Gardens sprawl over 70ha in the eastern suburbs of the Jacaranda City. A haven of biodiversity, the garden supports a thriving wildlife population that includes antelope, bushbabies and mongooses. It’s also a prime spot from which to view the annual white butterfly migration.

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The gardens feature an avenue of Bolusanthus trees that were among the garden's first plantings in 1946.

The Pretoria Botanical Gardens are one of two national botanical gardens in Gauteng. It has its roots in a scientific facility dating back to the 1950s, used for botanical research.

Fortunately for botanical enthusiasts, the garden was officially opened to the public in 1984 and has since become a popular visitor attraction in the Jacaranda City.

As a green lung in the city, it boasts many different biomes, including savanna and forest, and features specimens of half of all tree species found in South Africa.

More than 50ha of the gardens are developed, showcasing predominantly local plant species. There are different themed gardens, such as the medicinal garden, that can be explored.

The quartzite ridge that divides the gardens offers up two distinct botanical areas – the warm north-facing and the cooler south-facing slopes. Each has its own natural vegetation that has adapted to the prevailing conditions. Visitors will enjoy the abundant indigenous flora along this section, easily accessed via a paved trail.

Wildlife in the Pretoria Botanical Gardens is varied and includes everything from birds to antelope. It has recorded over 220 bird species, including raptors such as kestrels, hawks, falcons and eagles.

In the natural grasslands, keep your eyes open for duikers (small antelope), scrub hares and mongooses, which forage in this area in the late afternoon. You might even be lucky enough to spot some of the bushbabies that frequent the woodland sections.

If you're in the area between December and February, make sure you visit the gardens to witness the annual migration of the brown-veined white butterfly, when 1 000s of these creatures fill the sky en route to Mozambique.

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