KwaZulu-Natal Botanical Garden, Pietermaritzburg
Eighty kilometers inland from Durban along the N3 highway is the capital of city of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, home to one of the oldest Botanical Gardens in the country. Many of the plant species found in this historic garden attest to their Victorian past, particularly the magnificent Plane Tree Avenue, planted just after the turn of the 20th century, in 1908.
Today the garden grows, displays and conserves plant collections from the grasslands of the east coast of South Africa. Established in 1874, these gardens were started primarily to grow trees for distribution and as a collection point for indigenous, rare and beautiful plants.
A living tribute to South Africa's multicultural heritage, today, visitors can enjoy Xhosa Heritage in the Pondoland Gardens and Zulu Heritage in the Zulu Demonstration Garden, where visitors can enjoy a walk through the educational Muthi (medicine) Garden; a wide range of indigenous medicinal plants used today as a healthier alternative to Pharmaceuticals, displayed around a traditional Zulu hut.
Named for its wide collection of Stralitzia, often referred to as Mandela's Gold, or Birds of Paradise, visitors can buy a range of indigenous plants at the Stralitzia Nursery alongside the gardens.
This is also one of the few national botanical gardens in South Africa that welcomes dogs, offering annual and day-trip dog licenses; as well as braai facilities. Pack your picnic and your pooches, and make a day of this beautiful park.
On rare occasions, visitors can spot various small mammals that shelter in the forest and wetland in open parts of the garden. These include the blue duiker, Cape clawless otter, greater cane rat and small-spotted genet. Vervet monkeys, bats, 117 butterfly species and 180 bird species have also been recorded, largely due to the diversity of habitats in the garden.
KwaZulu-Natal Botanical Gardens:
Address: KwaZulu-Natal Botanical Garden | 2 Zwartkop Rd | Pietermaritzburg | KwaZulu-Natal | Contact Number: +27 (0)33 344 3585
Adults: R20 pp | Senior Citizens (Free on Tuesday); Students, Children (Free Under 6), Dogs: R12 pp | Scholars : R14
March - September: Monday to Sunday: 08:00-17:30
October - April:Monday to Sunday: 08:00-18:00
First Car Rental has car hire branches across KwaZulu-Natal province to give you instant access to car hire no matter where you are. Better still, you can pick up and drop off your rental car at any of the First Car Rental branches throughout South Africa.
For more travel inspiration in KwaZulu-Natal, read our Top 10 Escapes in KwaZulu-Natal.