South Africa offers some of the most magnificent gardens in the world. They’re home to many indigenous and endangered plants and wildlife. The remarkable display of flora and fauna makes the gardens top attractions all-year round. If you’re looking to experience South African tourism, visiting these gardens is a great way to do it.
Whichever garden you choose to visit, you’ll no doubt discover the lushness and splendour of nature. Here’s our list of the five most stunning gardens in South Africa.
See Flowers In Full Bloom At Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden
Take a train ride through the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden, and be overwhelmed by the 70-metre high Witpoortjie Waterfall. It’s home to the only known breeding pair of Verreaux’s Eagles in Johannesburg.
You can relax and unwind while exploring the home of 220 bird species and many animals. Summer is the perfect time to visit the garden. See all the flowers in full bloom and enjoy a picnic at the countless scenic picnic spots.
If you’re interested in a more in-depth history and tour of the lush garden, you can take a guided walk. During spring and summer, you can walk in the evenings as the heat of the day dies away. As with many of South Africa’s Botanical Gardens, nature and music lovers can enjoy music concerts in the garden.
Seek Your Sanctuary At Temenos Retreat Gardens
Temenos Retreat Gardens in McGregor opened in 1997 as an open area where visitors and guests can experience an encounter with the spiritual effects of nature. The calming oasis is an invitation to those who want to take the time out to enjoy natural beauty, to be still and practice mindfulness to nurture the body and soul.
One of the most beautiful features of this garden is the spiral garden. The Zen Garden is a peaceful sanctuary for anyone who wants to clear their mind by raking away pine needles or just sitting and watching the grass grow.
The original clay homestead is now the garden’s restaurant. As you sit at the restaurant’s patio, behold the dream of Temenos which became the well-loved escape it is today.
Befriend A Squirrel At Company’s Garden
Located in the heart of Cape Town, Company’s Garden is a large public park and botanical garden which boasts a lush rose garden, a Japanese garden, a fish pond, and an aviary. As you walk through Company’s Garden, pass by the back of Parliament and Tuynhuys, the President’s official residence.
Company’s Garden is the oldest garden in South Africa, originating back to Jan van Riebeeck’s vegetable garden. Wanting to plant in more fertile soil sheltered from the wind, he moved his garden to where it stands today.
Lunchtime in the gardens is incredibly popular. There you can take in the view of Table Mountain or enjoy a stroll along the tree-lined avenue with the resident squirrels. The gardens also house the South African Museum, the Planetarium, and the South African Art Gallery.
Walk Along A Nature Trail At Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
Located just 100 kilometres from Cape Town in the picturesque town of Betty’s Bay is Harold Porter Botanical Garden, which lies in the middle of the Cape Fynbos region. Visitors can explore the nature trails that wind through the garden with the Khoi-San indigenous garden presenting a host of local medicinal plants.
The garden is home to an abundance of wildlife, including otters, mongooses, dassies, and baboons. The garden also offers a small but exquisite art gallery which is a must-see. As with many of South Africa’s Botanical Gardens, nature and music lovers can enjoy open-air music concerts in the garden at sunset in the summer months.
Smell The Fragrant Flowers At Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can see more than 9,000 of Southern Africa’s 22,000 plant species here. Kirstenbosch offers many beautiful experiences.
The Fragrance Garden, which is elevated to easily sample the fresh perfumes
The Braille Trail where blind people can visualize their surroundings
A Water-wise Garden
A sculpture garden
A wild almond hedge planted by Jan van Riebeeck in 1660
Officially founded, in part, by Cambridge University Professor Henry Harold Pearson in 1913, Kirstenbosch was the first botanical garden in the world created to protect a country’s fauna and flora, placing great importance on the growth of indigenous plants. Buried in his cherished gardens in 1916, Pearson’s epitaph is still there today.
In 2013, the Tree Canopy Walkway, known as the Boomslang, was added to the gardens. As you step on the extraordinary curved steel and timber bridge that rises through the trees, you’ll have unobstructed views of the garden. If you enjoy hiking, various trails lead along and up Table Mountain.
Above the garden, on the slopes of the mountain, a contour path leads through the forest to Constantia Nek. In fact, on Sundays in summer, sunset music concerts are a popular attraction. Many big acts have graced the stage, such as Bryan Adams, Michael Bublé, and Mango Groove.
Spend The Night At Nima Lodge
Nima Lodge provides private accommodation on the Garden Route in Wilderness. The place is otherworldly, with breath-taking wooded hills and Outeniqua mountain view in the distance. The lodge offers a private, stunning setting, with the best hospitality and welcoming attitude on a hilltop with magnificent landscape.
In the Touw River valley, which is close to the centre of the Wilderness, one can discover a piece of paradise. The waterfall has clear water and it’s a popular swimming point, with two pools, one above and one below the waterfall.
The river in the Garden route has a rare tea colour due to the tannin from the humus layer in the forest and Fynbos. The Garden Route overall is glorious, with stunning landscapes and views, full of vegetation and wildlife.
Views of the Tsitsikamma and Outeniqua forest encircled by rolling hills will enchant you. Plus, the picturesque lagoons make them the perfect holiday destination.
Marvel At Nature’s Diversity At Babylonstoren Gardens
Babylonstoren Gardens expand on 3.5 hectares of fruits and vegetables, at the core of the farm. The Babylonstoren Gardens are inspired by history, where the Company’s Garden in Cape town provided fresh groceries to the Dutch East India Company.
The botanical diversity in the gardens is rare. It includes fruits, herbs, and vegetables which grow in beds, encircled by fruit trees. With a large area formed of 15 clusters, there is plenty to see. From vegetables, indigenous plants, and berries to bees, chickens, and ducks, there is something for everyone.
The place is great for passionate gardeners. The biodiversity of domestic animals, plants, fruits, and vegetables indeed make Babylonstoren Gardens resemble the legendary Babylon. This garden conserves nature and the original, bio tastes of fruits and vegetables, in more than 300 varieties.
Have A Picnic At Makaranga Botanical Garden
Makaranga Botanical Garden is yet another South African garden that resembles a piece of heaven on earth. Located next to Durban city, the botanical garden got its name from the abundance of macaranga trees and wild poplars.
The gardens have a remarkable collection of red and yellow aloes in winter unlike any other. There are blue agapanthus plants during spring and a cycad collection that is impressive.
Italian sculptures are peppered along botanical gardens. Japanese gardens with a prehistoric beautiful bridge will tempt you. And a fresh clean waterfall which nurtures and the small stream will refresh your mind. The intricate pathways allow visitors to truly enjoy the peace and silence of the 18 ponds in the gardens.
The magic of the garden lies in a variety of magnolias, camellias, azaleas, bromeliads, and rhododendrons. The rare orchids make it a dream for any nature lover. Overall, Makaranga Botanical Gardens is a slice of heaven on earth.
Anyone can experience the healing peace of nature all-year round. This is due to the fact that the mix of flowers and plants include indigenous and exotic species. These bloom in each South African season.
Search for Wildlife at Pilanesberg National Park
Located in the ecologically abundant transition area between the Lowveld and the Kalahari, the Pilanesberg National Park is overflowing with flora and fauna. You can enjoy this accessible, malaria-free park any time of year.
In the Mankwe Dam area, you can view some of the most incredible scenery. Not only can you enjoy the big five, but there are zebra, waterbuck, and wildebeest too. The Pilanesberg National Park has more than 7,000 animals and 360 species of bird, so there is something for everyone to see.
The Pilanesberg National Park has various safari and bush lodges. You and your loved ones can unwind in whichever suits you best. Enjoy being surrounded by the trees and bushes, soaking in the tranquility of the open bushveld.
Best Times To Visit And Why
South Africa is a great holiday destination anytime due to the various wildlife opportunities. The northern regions of South Africa are superb from November to February. As it’s the rainy season, the birdlife is abundant. May to September is cooler, making them perfect for game view.
During June-July, rain can come often, thus it’s best to be ready for it. If you’re passionate about whales, it is best to visit South Africa’s gardens from June to December. Plus, in January, baby penguins are born (visit the Garden Route for this).
Overall, South Africa has something to show to its tourists all around the year. And it offers a great experience due to its impressive wildlife diversity. Don’t forget the beautiful, breath-taking views which resemble the paradise itself.
Overall, South Africa has remarkable botanical gardens which are a must-see for any traveller. They are home to a plethora of both indigenous and exotic plants and flowers, wildlife, and birdlife. This makes them the best destination to see all around the year.
The botanical gardens are the perfect place to disconnect from daily routine and enjoy the healing peace and beauty of nature. They offer a retreat, amazing accommodation options and they are a sanctuary accessible to anyone. All in all, South African botanical gardens make the perfect choice for a well-deserved holiday.
While you’re at it, treat yourself with the best desserts of South Africa as you marvel at the beauty of nature.