The perfect time to visit a national botanical garden


The 11 national botanical gardens across South Africa are inviting people to come and experience the restorative, healing power of nature this Summer.

A series of special, summer-celebrating events are being delivered in each of the gardens, from Thohoyandou in the north across the country to Kirstenbosch in the south.

This December the focus is on unwinding and enjoying the healing and stress-busting power of nature. “A morning, afternoon or even a whole day spent walking barefoot on the lawn and picnicking in the coolness of an indigenous tree canopy is the perfect antidote to a year that’s been filled with stress, tension and pressure,” says Nontsikelelo Mpulo, director of marketing, communication and commercialisation at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, which manages South Africa’s national botanical gardens and is the proud custodian of the biodiversity that graces each of the gardens.

Among the activities offered this festive season are carols by candlelight; family fun days; music concerts; market days; indigenous plant sales; starlight runs through the gardens; nature talks and walks; and art exhibitions.

These various activities are offered on top of the attractions that draw folk to the national botanical gardens all year long: Hiking; bird watching; outdoor gyming; yoga in the fresh air; admiring gorgeous sunrises and sunsets; spending valuable time with loved ones; being there as toddlers take their first steps on green, green grass; ice-cream eating; long, lazy, hand-holding walks; and watching kiddies splash about in fountains and streams as they hunt for tadpoles and other slippery creatures.

“These are things that are all good for the body. They’re also very good for the soul,” says Nontsikelelo.

The National Zoological Garden (affectionately called the “Pretoria Zoo”) is getting in on the action, too, and inviting people to come and get better acquainted with some of our most intriguing, charming and charismatic creatures. This December the zoo is offering talks on vultures, elephants and giraffes in a series of family fun days that are guaranteed to delight all.

The full schedule of national botanical garden (and zoo) activities is listed on the SANBI website and may also be found on all of their social media platforms of the different gardens. Go look for #ChooseYourVibe #NatureIsHealing #NatureIsFun #HolidayEvents to find out what’s happening at a national botanical garden near you this month.