Escape from the pressures of city life in one of South Africa's parks. Smell the roses, watch the birds, go boating, listen to music, take a walking trail – you can do all these and more in any of the beautiful and diverse South African parks.

Did you know?

The Company's Garden in Cape Town, the country's oldest public garden, receives an estimated 700 000 visitors a year?

If you want an instant getaway from city life, there are no better places to go than South Africa's parks.

The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens are only a short drive from the city centre on the western shore of the Emmarentia Dam. In the evening you'll see canoeists and small boat enthusiasts working out on the dam.

Early morning sees the joggers, cyclists and dog-walkers, and during the day you can enjoy the sumptuous rose gardens, feed the ducks, admire the amazing collection of succulents. The garden has 4 500 rose bushes and more than 30 000 trees.

Zoo Lake is a Johannesburg institution where city dwellers chill out. They can go boating, walk, picnic, sing along to Carols by Candlelight or groove at the annual Jazz on the Lake concert. The internationally recognised Johannesburg Zoo is right next door.

Another favourite South African park is Delta Park, one of Johannesburg's largest green lungs. Take a stroll along the trail around one of the three dams, spot birds in the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary, or just take time to stand and stare.

Mitchell Park in Durban is always a riot of colour all the year round, noted for its displays of flowers, trees and shrubs, whilst the 150-year-old Durban Botanical Gardens has a famous orchid house and collection of rare cycads.

There are many lovely parks in Cape Town, but a visit to the famous Company's Garden established in 1652 by the Dutch East Indian Company is a must. Here you can see South Africa's oldest cultivated pear tree planted when the gardens were first established.

Travel tips & Planning info

How to get here

Parks are well located in city centres

Best time to visit

Parks and gardens are open all year round and each season has its own special beauty.

Tours to do

Many of the larger parks offer guided tours

Get around

There are lots of walking and hiking trails inside many parks

What will it cost

Access to publlic parks is free.

Where to stay

Most parks are located within cities and towns, where there is a wide choice of accommodation.

What to eat

Many parks have their own restaurants