Free State National Botanical Gardens, Bloemfontein
On the north western fringes of Bloemfontein lie 70 hectares of botanical garden, in a valley peppered with dolerite koppies, tall grassland and woodland; some magnificent examples of wild olive and karee trees, an orange blossom arbour and a petrified tree, thought to be over 150 million years’ old.
The Free State National Botanical Garden is home to some 400 species of plants, mainly from the Free State, Northern Cape and Lesotho. A meandering paved path, perfect for the more elderly visitor and the physically disabled, takes one through the gardens, whilst the more agile can venture up the koppies.
Probably the best time of year for visiting is the spring when most of the gorgeous flowers are in bloom. The plants are in full leaf between November and March, and between March and June there is an array of autumn shades to delight the visitor. Some 124 species of birdlife and 54 species of reptiles inhabit the garden; and two demonstration gardens to display medicinal plants and water-wise gardening principles respectively, have been created.
As part of the garden’s environmental education programme are school programmes that include: ecotourism, food chains and food webs, plant adaptations, life in leaves, seeds and other interesting topics for school children. The garden’s nursery has a well-stocked supply of surplus indigenous trees, succulents, shrubs and bulbs and the Botanical Society arranges talks, sunset concerts during summer and moonlight walks.
Contact: Free State National Botanical Garden
Address: Rayton Road, Bloemfontein, Free State
Telephone: +27 (0)51 436-3612 or +27 (0)51 436-3530.
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