Did you know?
The African penguins in Betty's Bay are the only penguin species that breed on the South African coast.
The Harold Porter Botanical Gardens offers you 200ha of the finely bushed plants endemic to this area, known as fynbos, 190ha growing naturally and the rest cultivated.
These botanical gardens, located near Hermanus, lie within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, South Africa's first UNESCO-proclaimed biosphere reserve.
The vivid Disa uniflora is one of many rare plants featured in these gardens, and to experience it when it is in bloom, make sure you visit the gardens between December and January. You should also not miss South Africa's national flower, the King protea, which blooms in spring.
There are over 100 species of birds to be spotted in these botanical gardens, including colourful sunbirds, rare Protea seedeaters, Verreaux's eagles and Jackal buzzards. Also look out for the resident mongooses, baboons, genets and porcupines.
Venture along the many natural trails that snake across the gardens for beautiful displays of Cape fynbos, and enjoy the experience against the backdrop of the area's majestic mountains.
Listen to the grunting calls of baboons and watch them play, jumping from tree to tree and basking in this pristine natural setting. Summertime will welcome you with open-air concerts at sunset, so make sure you join in the celebrations.
Don't forget to visit the garden's small but excellent art gallery and then wrap up your visit with a meal at the restaurant or stretch out on the lush grass for a picnic.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
Tel: +27 (0)28 272 9311
Fax: +27 (0)28 272 9333
How to get here
Hermanus is 120km from Cape Town on the R44 coastal road. Along the way you will see signs for the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.
Best time to visit
The gardens are open from 8am to 4.30pm (weekdays); 8am to 5pm (weekends and public holidays).
Around the area
Attractions nearby include the penguin colony at Stone Point and the ruins of the old whaling station. Also visit the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.
What will it cost
Entrance is R18 for adults, R12 for seniors and students, R8 for children, and free for pre-schoolers.
Where to stay
There are plenty of accommodation options in nearby Hermanus and Betty's Bay.
Events of note in nearby Hermanus include the Hermanus Wildflower Festival and the Hermanus Whale Festival, both held annually in September.
Indigenous plants are on sale inside the gardens. There is also a curio shop.