Great news for gardeners, fans of all things floral, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, families looking for a wonderful day out, and everyone celebrating the arrival of warmer weather, is that the inaugural SANBI Spring Festival is currently taking place across South Africa.
Running until the end of October, the SANBI Spring Festival has been launched to showcase, and draw visitors to, the network of exceptional National Botanical and Zoological Gardens that exist across the country, and which are managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).
Kirstenbosch – one of the most acclaimed Botanical Gardens in the World
For residents of Cape Town and its surrounding areas, a visit to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, acclaimed as one of the great botanical gardens of the world, is a must to celebrate SANBI’s Spring Festival.
Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain and the Garden has so much on offer it will be hard to choose what to do first.
Spring is the most colourful and vibrant season at Kirstenbosch, when the Garden comes alive with thousands of flowers, the calls of birds, and the buzz of bees and other insects that visit the flowers. The Fynbos Walk, which traverses the upper slopes of Kirstenbosch, is at its absolute, flower-filled best in spring with pincushion proteas in abundant full bloom, bringing in bird life aplenty.
The Clivias in the Dell are also putting on a show at the moment, with swathes of orange and yellow to be enjoyed, and the coral trees are flowering.
To truly appreciate the colourful coral trees and the fresh new growth in the tree canopy, be sure to take a walk along the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway. This is a curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the trees of the Arboretum. Inspired by a snake skeleton, and informally called ‘The Boomslang’ (meaning tree snake), it is a 130m long aerial walkway that offers spectacular panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, Garden and Cape Flats.
For those looking to enjoy a meal, Kirstenbosch offers three restaurants, each in a different location and with a distinctive menu. There is Moyo, with its African charm and cuisine; the Kirstenbosch Tea Room with its relaxed, friendly atmosphere; and Vida e Caffè for high quality coffee, and teatime treats. Alternatively, pack a picnic to enjoy on the beautiful rolling lawns.
13 Gardens in SA
Many people may not realise that South Africa has 10 National Botanical Gardens and a National Zoological Garden – stretching across eight of the country’s provinces – which showcase, and protect, our richly diverse landscapes and biodiversity. In addition, SANBI also manages the Thohoyandou Botanical Garden and Mokopane Biodiversity Conservation Centre in the Limpopo Province.
SANBI is calling on the South African public to take part in the first ever Spring Festival by visiting their nearest Botanical Garden.
SANBI wish to draw South Africans from all walks of life into the Botanical Gardens to revel in, and celebrate, the beauty of our diverse landscapes and floral regions. Young and old alike will love a day out at a SANBI Botanical Garden – most of which are urban oases in the heart of suburban developments.
And there truly is something to do for everyone; whether it is a gentle stroll through the gardens while the kids play on the lawns, followed by a delicious meal at the restaurants situated in many of the gardens – the list is seemingly endless as to what visitors can expect at the SANBI Botanical Gardens. After months of lockdown now is the perfect time to immerse yourself in nature by getting out into the sunshine and fresh air – both proven to be good for boosting the immune system.
In order to keep visitors to the Botanical gardens safe, SANBI are reminding visitors to please wear their masks at all times, unless seated away from other visitors. The wearing of masks is also vital at the more congested areas of the Gardens, including entrances/exists, shops, ablution facilities and pathways.
The network of SANBI National Botanical and Zoological Gardens includes:
- KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden
- Free State National Botanical Garden
- Harold Porter National Botanical Garden
- Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
- Pretoria National Botanical Garden
- Lowveld National Botanical Garden
- Pretoria National Zoological Garden
- Thohoyandou Botanical Garden
- Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
- Hantam National Botanical Garden
- Kwelera National Botanical Garden
- Mokopane Biodiversity Conservation Centre
*All of the SANBI Botanical Gardens have a variety of offerings for the public to enjoy during the Spring Festival and more details on each can be found in the links above.
Celebrate Garden Day at a Botanical Garden
The SANBI Spring Festival also happens to coincide with National Garden Day, a much-loved annual event that takes place on 11 October and which calls on South Africans to celebrate their gardens – regardless of the size or format. A wonderful way to mark Garden Day 2020 is with a visit to your nearest SANBI Botanical or Zoological Garden.
For more information on the SANBI Spring Festival and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden visit sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch. You can also follow the hashtag #SANBISpringFestival on Facebook; Twitter; and Instagram.