The oldest surviving botanical garden in Africa, the Durban Botanic Garden was begun in 1849 as an agricultural testing place. It was founded by Kew Gardens to establish a series of botanic gardens across the world which would help in the introduction of economically valuable plants, and to supply plants to Kew that were new to science. It due to one of its Curators that KZN now has a massive sugar industry.
There are many gardens within the botanic Garden. There are special collections of cycads, palms and orchids. The wonderful Orchid House achieved world renown as the first to display its orchids naturally. The Orchid House opens at 09.00 am and closes at 17.00. The herb garden is interesting too. The lake, the bird life of the park, the cycads, the sunken garden, the fern dell and the palm walk make a visit here a delight for the senses. There is a special Muti Garden showing plants used for medicinal purposes by the Zulu.
A Living Beehive has been built based on the design of Zulu Beehive huts. Its steel frames are covered by a living roof and walls made up of indigenous plants – its stunning and well worth a visit.
We suggest that you visit one section of the 15 hectare gardens at a time, so you can really enjoy a relaxed and informative visit. Much is wheelchair friendly. There are tours that you can book once a month to learn about the plants and trees.
Bring a snack and drink with you as there is, sadly, unfathomably, no longer a tea garden. Picnics are allowed and weddings as well as music events take place.