South Africa's botanical gardens
Did you know?
The Free State Botanical Gardens feature a petrified tree trunk, estimated to be between 150- and 300-milion-years-old.
South Africa's botanical gardens are considered by many to be amongst the best in the world, especially in terms of floral diversity and the conservation of endangered indigenous plants. Eight of the biggest botanical gardens are managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).
The most famous of them all are the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, which is not only the largest but also the most popular, with an estimated 700 000 visitors per year. These gardens are home to a wide variety of flora but specialises in the plants of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
The King protea, South Africa's national flower, and many other examples of Cape fynbos are cultivated at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, located an hour outside Cape Town, near the coastal playground of Hermanus.
Johannesburg boasts 2 national botanical gardens in the form of the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens and the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. The former boasts one of the largest collections of lithops in the world and is home to over 230 species of birds, reptiles and mammals.
In nearby Pretoria are the Pretoria Botanical Gardens, a popular spot with locals for picnics and open-air concerts, and home to the largest herbarium in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Lowveld Botanical Gardens in Mbombela are home to the largest collection of ancient cycads in the world but also offers a great variety of evergreen shrubs watered by the Nels and Crocodile Rivers that run through the garden.
The KwaZulu-Natal Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg focus on the conservation of plants from the eastern region of South Africa, while the Durban Botanical Gardens is renowned for its huge Orchid House.
And these are just some of the bigger and better-known botanical gardens in South Africa. There are many smaller - but just as beautiful and colourful - botanical gardens dotted around the country just waiting for you to explore.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
South African National Biodiversity Institute
Tel: +27 (0)12 843 5000
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Tel: +27 (0)21 799 8783
Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
Tel: +27 (0)28 272 9311
The Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
Tel: +27 (0)11 958 1750
Pretoria National Botanical Garden:
Tel: +27 (0)12 843 5172
Lowveld National Botanical Gardens
Tel: +27 (0)13 752 5531
KwaZulu-Natal Botanical Gardens
Tel: +27 (0)33 344 3585