Gauteng Tourist AttractionsThe Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens
One of the great escapes of Johannesburg, the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Roodepoort, Gauteng, is almost 300 hectares of landscaped and natural veld that is a haven for birds and a popular picnic spot for Gautengers.
Where? Malcolm Road, Poortview, Roodepoort, Gauteng
When? The Gardens are open daily from 08h00 to 18h00
How? Call +27 (0)86 100-1278
How much? Price on request
Despite development that is threatening encroachment on this beautiful garden, set against the backdrop of the magnificent Witpoortjie waterfall, this is still the home of a breeding pair of Verreaux’s Eagles that nest in the cliffs alongside the waterfall and no visit is complete until they have been sited. Enthusiasts arrive armed with telephoto lenses and tripod stands in an effort to capture these beautiful birds, and will sit for hours until they appear.
Over 600 plant species and 220 bird species, as well as a number of reptile and small mammals such as antelope and jackal, occur naturally in the Nature Reserve and there are several wonderful walks through the garden and a trail up alongside the waterfall for the not so faint hearted.
One can arrange guided tours along the Roodekrans Ridge and through the Nature Reserve part of the garden, and the dam and wetland area with its bird hide alone is worth the visit, particularly at sundown just before the gates close.
There is a lot of shaded lawn on which Jo’burgers while away balmy days with a bring-along picnic.
The gardens have adopted a ‘carry-in carry-out’ litter policy that means you take home any rubbish with you, and an outcomes-based schools’ environmental education programme that caters for school groups in the garden.
There is a wonderful nursery, a gift and book shop and a restaurant; and over Christmas and on selected weekends, the grounds play host to sundowner concerts. But the star of the show is the garden itself with a succulent rockery, a cycad garden, the water garden with water-loving.