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Top 10 Gardens to visit this summer!

Published on December 7th 2020

by Going.Local. All rights reserved

Greenhouse garden botanical
Getting out and about for some fresh air? Why not try and explore South Africa’s rich assortment of gardens this summer? From private to national, from mountainous to wetlands…Our country has a wealth of beautiful places to visit.
Here we summarise a short collection of gardens around the country, that will keep your camera busy this season.
A person standing next to a body of water

Cheerio Gardens, Magoebaskloof (Limpopo)

The world-famous gardens play host to a range of delegates each year. The 100-hectare forest gives the gardens a mystical feel with winding paths that disappear around every corner. It also hosts the Haenertsburg Spring Fair if you fancy yourself some cherry blossoms in South Africa.
Dig into their website for more information.
Some gardeners visits:


Cheerio Magoebaskloof


Azaleas at Cheerio Gardens, Haenertsburg

The best time to visit is during spring flowering season when the garden is transformed by mountains of blooms.
Namaqua daisy flower fields

Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden (Northern Cape)

The Goegap Nature Reserve just outside Springbok transforms into a lush flower garden each year. It is no wonder the name Goegap (which means ‘spring’) is so indicative of the regions brightest season. Few venture this far into the Northern Cape, but it is worth it as you will find flowering annuals litter the landscape.

Magaliesberg rock Garden (Gauteng)

Originally featured on BBC’s 80 gardens around the world, artists Geoffrey Armstrong and Wendy Vincent’s Magaliesberg garden makes indigenous gardening a world of art. They combine unique rock formations with rescued indigenous flora to create an eclectic rolling garden. The couple allows visitors by appointment and is accessible here.

Manie van der Schijff Botanical Garden (Gauteng)

The University of Pretoria houses its very own botanical garden that dates back to 1930's. The ingenious rainwater harvesting system will entice anyone to try out a few new designs. The garden also sports a cremnophyte based green wall that enables research of cliff-dwelling plant species.
A large tree in a forest

Arderne Gardens (Western Cape)

The public park, a stone’s throw away from Cavendish, is a diamond that has stood the test of time. It’s original owner and co-founder of the Cape Town Botanical Gardens, Ralph Henry Arderne, accumulated quite the collection of trees in the small space. It is now a declared National History Monument and sports several champion trees within the 414 strong arboretum.

Stellenberg Gardens (Western Cape)

Stellenberg Gardens, located at the foot of Table Mountain, encompasses 5 acres of the original estate dating back to colonial times. The garden's design is an ode to the original Cape Dutch manor with various room's scattered around each corner. It also boasts a wonderful nursery, which is where you will book garden tours. A must when visiting the region.
A plant in a garden

Babylonstoren (Western Cape)

One of the original Cape Dutch farms has garnered world-renown for its lush garden scape and gorgeous greenhouses. Nestled next to Simonsberg, the curated gardens were the brainchild of French garden designer Patrice Taravella. It features lush green edibles, orchards, a cycad garden and succulent greenhouses. The garden also runs immensely popular workshops during the year. Visit their online webpage to book.
A path with trees on the side of a mountain


Located in the premier wine-growing region of the Cape Winelands against the backdrop of the Simonsberg Mountains, Babylonstoren has become a popular destination for visitors from around the world. Dating back to 1692, the historic fruit and wine farm was skilfully reimagined by its current owners ten years ago. Beloved for its garden that is laid out over 3,5 magnificent hectares (8 acres), the structure divides into 15 sections that include fruit, berries, bees for pollinating, indigenous plants, fragrant lawns, a prickly pear maze, a clivia tunnel and a plethora of trees of historical and botanical import. The design was inspired by the historic Company's Garden in Cape Town, which for centuries supplied ships sailing between Europe and Asia with vegetables and fruit. It also makes a playful nod to the mythological Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Those were (possibly erroneously) thought to have been created by Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BC, for his wife who longed for the mountains and valleys of her youth. Together with the main garden, there is a Healing Garden with species said to cure an array of ailments (not all medically guaranteed, like those for a pining heart!), a splendid succulent collection and the Spice Garden – which tells the story of the spice trade with the East, and exhibits the main spices. Along the edge of the garden, a natural stream flows from the Simonsberg mountain to the Berg River. In the shade of wild olives, a collection of more than 7000 Clivia lilies bloom spectacularly every spring. In early summer the chamomile lawn becomes a soft and aromatic carpet, while 41 rose towers are covered with fragrant heritage varieties. Diversity is a trademark of the garden, which is the only Royal Horticultural Society Partner in Africa. It features over 300 varieties of trees alone, thousands of plant species. Curiously, everything planted in the formal section has edible or has medicinal value. Every aspect of Babylonstoren is informed by the ever-changing tapestry and botanical diversity of the garden – this includes the contemporary Farm Hotel and Garden Spa, the Farm Shop, Barn, farm-to-fork restaurants and function venues.

Stephward Estate (Kwazulu Natal)

Stephward Estate, on the outskirts of Margate, plays home to a gorgeous garden and tropical nursery. The ever-friendly owner, Stephen van Belkum, and plant enthusiast Howard Eades makes it feel like a home away from home. The orchid house is an additional treat and is at it’s best during spring and summer.
Cheerio gardens magoebaskloof
Photo by H.J. Du Plessis

Makaranga Garden Lodge (Kwazulu Natal)

Makaranga is the original brainchild of Leslie Riggall, who named it the Fern Valley Botanical Garden. It is now a lodge and day visitor garden that covers over 20 acres of lush orchid-filled gardens. They give a unique glimpse into a curated Japanese garden and shows you how orchids can take care of themselves in the Kwazulu Natal climate.
*Please note: The facilities at Makaranga will remain closed until at least the first quarter of 2021 with specific dates to be announced closer to the time.

Botanical Gardens near you

Choosing a single botanical garden is often hard to do, therefore, we think all have their merits. Kirstenbosch has its grand arboretum walkway, Harold Porter has its flowering Disas, Hantam has its springtime daisy displays, Karoo its dedicated succulent tunnels, Lowveld has its Miombo woodland, Kwazulu-Natal has its wetland gardens, Pretoria has its beautiful rock gardens…. I can go on and on. The best option is to use Candide places tab to find the closest one near you!
A tree next to a rock wall

Share and share alike! With the gorgeous weather we are having, why not stop off at your botanical garden and share it with the hashtag #BotanicalGardenSA

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