KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsMedwood Gardens
Where? Dr Pixley Kaseme Street, Across from City Hall, Durban,4001
How? Call +27 (0)31 322-4330
In the heart of the bustling city centre of Durban, where industry and commerce happily collide in a haze of activity, the tranquillity of the Medwood Gardens comes rather unexpectedly. This little retreat, situated in Durban Central, invites tourists, business(wo)men and locals the ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of markets, traffic, shops, and office blocks.
These small gardens were named after renowned botanist and curator of the Durban Botanical Gardens for 30 years, John Medley Wood. Despite having retired from this position in 1913, Wood made a massive impact on how plants were understood and used from his research and activities during his time here. He was internationally credited for having established a mosaic virus-immune strain of Ube sugar cane in the area now known as KwaZulu-Natal. He was also known for his extensive and impressive collection of indigenous plants.
Medwood Gardens celebrates the biodiversity that Wood so appreciated, as it provides a little oasis in the city centre. It has spectacular seasonal displays that are colourful and inviting, whether or not visitors have a passion for plants. Many of the displays are done using a carpet bedding technique, which means that the plants are arranged so that the colours of their blooms create pictures, patterns or even words. This is always fantastic to see, and makes for gorgeous holiday photographs and lasting memories.
There is a big water fountain with three tiers, making for a great water feature and a welcome spot for birds and strollers alike.
The giant chess set is perched right in the Medwood Gardens, and gives visitors the opportunity to unwind with a game of chess; playing with pieces that are as high as their knees. Bringing this kind of fun into the heart of Durban is a sure way to get local business moguls to relax, tourists to have fun, and those who frequent the park to enjoy the odd game, and watch others testing their gaming skills in brand new proportions.
The small tea garden here is well-equipped and has just the thing to refresh and re-energise those that have spent a morning exploring Durban Central. Sip on a hot cuppa or an ice-cold “coolie” and snack on something tasty to ready yourself for some more exciting discoveries on South Africa’s east coast.
The wall surrounding Medwood Gardens has been beautifully painted and portrays an artist’s impression of paradise, with a distinctly African influence. In fact, there are a number of subtle references to a popular Zulu myth of a chameleon and a lizard amidst the dark-skinned ‘Adam and Eve’ scenes. This gives the mural some real depth, and makes it even more fun to examine from up close.
Medwood Gardens are situated near the Durban City Hall, Old Durban Railway Station and St Paul’s Church. They are right in the hub of Durban’s CBD too, which means that major transport routes are all within the immediate vicinity.