Africa’s Oldest Surviving Botanic Garden
For more than 450 years, botanic gardens have been at the forefront of human understanding and knowledge of plants and the environment in which they live. The Durban Botanic Gardens is currently the oldest surviving botanic garden on the African continent and our City’s oldest public institution. It was developed in 1849 as a botanic station for the trial of agricultural crops. Today the Gardens has progressed as part of a network of botanic gardens internationally to focus on core areas of biodiversity, education, heritage, research, horticultural excellence and green innovation.
The Gardens maintains both indigenous and exotic plant collections from the sub-tropics characterized by a good number of majestic tree species that dominate the landscape. The Gardens is responsible for a good number of conservation significant and threatened plant collections such as cycads and palms.
The Garden’s main plant collections are cycads, orchids, bromeliads and palms. The Garden also has a unique selection of trees from all over the world. There are more than eighty heritage trees which, in many instances, exceed one hundred years old and therefore have historic value.
Our education programmes include curriculum-linked schools guided programmes, permaculture courses, schools greening, a public lecture series programme and an alien invasive plant garden. Environmental Education Guides are trained at the Garden in environmental interpretation & guiding skills, as well as the natural and cultural heritage of the Gardens. Permaculture food garden programmes help promote food sovereignty the idea that food should be both nutritionally and culturally significant. Theme-based garden tours are run regularly at the gardens which include topics like: Heritage trees, and People & Plants. The William Poulton Library was established in 1990 and remains unsurpassed in the City as a specialist horticultural collection.
Being over 150 years in age, the Gardens play a unique role in eThekwini’s cultural landscape with substantial national and international tourism value. The Durban Botanic Gardens Trust is an independent fund raising organization that aims to support the Durban Botanic Gardens with botanical and horticultural development,maintenance and capacity development in order to ensure that this unique place of botanical heritage is sustained and made broadly accessible for future generations. Generations of curators have left an invaluable resource in the form of plant collections at the Garden.
DURBAN BOTANIC GARDENS OPENING TIMES
The Gardens are open 365 days a year at the following times:
- Winter [16 April – 15 September]: 07h30 – 17h30
- Summer [16 September – 15 April]: 07h30 – 17h15
- Orchid House: 09h00 – 17h00
- Information Office: 08h00 – 16h30
- open 7 days a week,
- closed on Christmas day and Good Friday
- Monday 10h00 – 16h00
- Tuesday – Sunday 09h00 – 16h00