KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsThe Durban Botanical Gardens
Durbanís Botanical Gardens on the eastern slopes of the Berea ridge that began as a site for growing experimental tropical crops, today offer a herbarium, an orchid house, a Cycad collection, a garden for the blind and a charity tea garden.
Where? 70 St Thomas Road, Durban, 4001, KwaZulu Natal
Who? +27 (0)31 201-1303 or +27 (0)31 309-1170
When? From 07h30-17h15 during 16 April to 15 September
From 07h30-17h45 during 16 September to 15 April
Information Centre from 9h00 to 16h30 (Closed Good Friday & Christmas)
Orchid house daily from 09h30 to 17h00
Tea Garden from 09h30 to 16h15 (Closed Good Friday & Christmas)
The Durban Botanical Gardens are famous for the original specimen of a Cycad (Encephalartos woodii) that is still widely acknowledged as probably the rarest plant in the world, as well as for its extensive collection of South African Cycad species.
A highlight of the Gardens is the Orchid House which is named after Ernest Thorp, who was resonsible for building it up to its position of world renown as the first "naturalistic" Orchid display house. The Orchid House is at its best during the spring months and is open daily from 09h30 am to 17h00.
The Botanical Research Unit, incorporating the Natal Herbarium is at the corner of St. Thomas Road and Botanical Gardens Road. The major aims of the unit are the provision of an information service regarding identification of the indigenous flora of KwaZulu Natal and continuing research into the flora of South Africa with the aim of compiling an authoritative study of its findings.
The Natal Herbarium contains an impressive collection of over 100,000 specimens of dried, pressed and catalogued plants, most of which originate in KwaZulu Natal. The charity tea garden offers teas and light refreshments from 09h30 am to 16h15 daily. Of note, there is also a garden for the blind.
The Durban Botanical Gardens car park is in Sydenham Road, and the gardens are fairly easily accessible from the centre of town. Guided tours are offered every month but must be booked well in advance to avoid dissapointment. For your safety and assistance there are Park Rangers on duty between the following times: 09h00 - 18h00 Daily and security guards on 24 hour duty, and car guards in the car park area:08h00 - 17h00 Daily.