Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden
In Roux Road on the outskirts of Worcester, some 120 kilometres from Cape Town, lies a unique gem of a garden - the only truly succulent garden in the southern hemisphere, and indeed Africa, that displays one of the largest collection of indigenous succulents in South Africa.
Where? Van Riebeeck Park, Roux Road, Worcester, Breede River Valley
When? Open daily from 07h00 to 18h00
How? Call +27 (0)23 347-0785
155 hectares of semi-desert vegetation, 11 of which are cultivated, present the plants of the drier parts of the country that invariably don’t get a ‘look in’ in other gardens. Spring is a veritable carpet of vivid vygies that come into bloom.
The garden has over 400 naturally occurring plant species that include the Namaqualand flora so famous for its spring flowers as well as some rare and endangered species - over 300 are protected and propagated in the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden.
Looping sand trails link the developed garden, which includes the vygies, with a natural veld reserve which features low Karoo-type bushes and succulents and boasts several kilometres of nature trails.
The garden, originally established in 1921 near Matjiesfontein, moved further north of Worcester in 1945 so that more visitors could enjoy the garden, open throughout the year.
Of interest is the Khoisan ‘kookskerm’ or cooking shelter that demonstrates just how unobtrusively man used to integrate with his environment - part of the garden’s Namaqualand section displaying plants used by Bushmen.
There’s also a plant maze, organised tours, a Braille trail, a shale trail and a nursery stocked with over 500 indigenous species.