Pietermaritzburg Botanical Garden, Natal Midlands
Pietermaritzburg Botanical Garden was established in 1874 as a research station to test the viability of growing exotic trees in the area. Many of these magnificent trees still exist today, creating beautiful avenues and shady areas for visitors to enjoy – tulip trees, magnolias, camphor trees, giant figs, swamp cypresses and the giant plain trees planted in 1908 to form the signature avenue. At the end of this spectacular avenue is a bell apparently salvaged from a ship and used to signal working hours until 2006.
Today, the focus is to conserve rare grassland plants that have been decimated by urban and agricultural development. The Clivia Conservation Project has been set up with this purpose in mind.
There are many paths throughout the gardens but the most enjoyable route takes you down the plain tree avenue to the Kingfisher Dam past which you enter dense indigenous forest. Take the railway sleeper stairs as you enter the forest and do a loop past a little dell of cycads. Keep left and join a trail that runs along the edge of the forest on the opposite side of the dam where you will cross a small stream and a beautiful garden of clivias. Slightly to the right round the vlei you will see a kiosk and the Look, Listen, Feel and Smell Garden. The trail continues past Camelia Walk where you will see some grand old trees including a magnificent swamp cypress.
Guided theme walks can be arranged.
ENTRANCE FEES: adults – R8 and scholars, students and senior citizens – R5
Tel: +27 (0)33 344-3585 Restaurant: : +27 (0)33 344-2207 (Closed Mondays) Plant nursery: +27 (0)33 344-1044.
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