Known as both the 'City of Flowers' and the 'Garden City', Pietermaritzburg is a horticulturist's heaven. With a distinct four-season climate, the city puts on a floral show of great magnificence, be it the brilliant flushes of red and purple when the coral trees and jacarandas flower, or the dramatic autumnal swathes. The location in the city of one of the eight National Botanical Gardens is particularly appropriate, given the diversity of flora and the splendour of the city and surrounds. Pietermaritzburg's development as an epicentre of horticultural excellence is evidenced in the growth of the country's premier exhibition, the Garden and Leisure Show, supported by the Open Gardens initiative. The city boasts a number of public parks, gardens and trails, as well as a network of reputable nurseries that serve both the retail and wholesale markets.
African Bird of Prey Sanctuary
SANBI Botanical Garden
|Tel: ||033 344 3585|| |
033 344 1284
|Details : ||Thandeka Zondi|
These exquisite gardens promote the conservation and propagation of indigenous plants and the cultivation of east coast grassland plants. An all-season garden, it is a birding paradise to over 100 species, and home to a variety of small game. Allow yourself time to unwind alongside the duck pond next to the restaurant, and take the opportunity to interact with nature in the Look, Listen, Feel & Smell garden. Explore the fascinating Botanical Zoo and the mysterious Muthi garden, hunt for fireflies late at night, or simply spread your picnic blanket beneath giant trees, lie back and listen. Before leaving these magnificent gardens, make a wish as you toll the old HMS Princess ship's bell at the end of the long avenue of plane trees - you'll wish to return to this little piece of heaven!
Regarded by many as the heart and soul of the city, this large, central park is the home of our stately Victorian Cricket Oval and Bandstand, and host to regular events: Art in the Park, the Alex and Oval Upmarkets, Cars in the Park and 'Maritzburg Fantasia. The Dusi river sweeps through the park fringed by jacaranda and plane trees. Wander along its banks and criss-cross the river via fascinating little footbridges.
Witness Demonstration Garden
Unique to Pietermaritzburg and in essence, a garden club without any membership fees and affiliation.
The talks are held in the garden on the second Saturday of each month at 10am. It lasts about 1.5 hours and is followed by tea. We try and get fundis on the various topics and it can attract up to 200 people a time if the speaker is well known and the topic is relevant.
There is a cost of R10-00 per talk but if you take a copy of the Witness advertisement with you, you only pay R5-00. This is cover administration cost and is really only a token.
These beautifully landscaped gardens with its azaleas and proteas is a favourite spot for family picnics and wedding photographers throughout the year. Take a gentle stroll along the Dorpspruit, or follow the trail of the Voortrekkers to the top of World¹s View. In some places wagon wheels have left visible signs of the great trek up this steep climb.
The National Botanical Gardens 033-344 3585
Botanical Gardens Nursery 033-344 1044
The Orchid Society 033-347 5166
The Clivia Club 032-943 1316
The Midlands Fuchsia Club 033-343 4203
The Rose Society
The Dendrological Society 033-386 7661
The Green Belt at Ferncliffe, on the fringe of the city, offers the energetic visitor an exhilarating walking trail through indigenous forest and grassland with little waterfalls and wild flowers and promising an encounter or two with small wild creatures. Not least of these, the famous bats of Bat Cave have thrilled the most brave hiker into gibbering excitement. So if you're planning to challenge the fear factor, we recommend a strong torch and brand new batteries! An early morning climb to Breakfast Rock is a most popular excursion. Pack lightly, but do remember the 'champagne' and orange juice, and enjoy the view over our city as it stirs into daylight activity.
Just north of the city centre, at Queen Elizabeth Park, the KZN Wildlife headquarters open their gates to visitors 7 days a week. This small nature reserve will delight you as you are greeted by a resident zebra and lured on by the glimpse of a small buck. Self-guided trails offer beautiful views over the city and certain encounters with friendly creatures great and small. Picnic and braai spots are plenty and you may find wild, cheeky monkeys inviting themselves to share in your fare.
Garden lovers should not miss this horticultural show which attracts almost 200 exhibitors every spring. Millions of blooms are beautifully displayed and you will feast with your eyes and take home fantastic ideas, tools, knick-knacks and loads of good advice for your own garden.
Every year participating homeowners open their gardens to the public. Enjoy a colourful palette of azaleas, daffodils, fuchsia, clivia, hydrangeas, orchids, proteas and foxgloves.