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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Durban Botanical Gardens

Afrikaans name:

Durban Botanical Gardens

Durban Botanical Gardens

Photo © Steven Herbert


The Durban Botanic Gardens is the oldest surviving botanical gardens in Africa. They were established on their current site in 1851.

The gardens cover 15 hectares and are situated on the Berea in the heart of Durban.

Although the gardens have had many different curators in their long history the most significant one was John Medley Wood. He was the curator from 1882 to 1913 and a statue has been erected in his honour.

The Durban Botanic Gardens are home to many different plant species from around the world. Their are collections of orchids, cycads and ferns.

One of the main features of the gardens is a small dam which attracts numerous species of waterbirds including African Spoonbill, Sacred Ibis, Pink-backed Pelican, Egyptian Goose, Common Moorhen, Grey Heron and Malachite Kingfisher to name a few.

Their is a small tea garden where various meals and drinks are served.

Every month or so the gardens are the venue for music concerts featuring popular local artists.

Grey Heron at Durban Botanical Gardens

Photo © Steven Herbert

Besides the amazing plants and trees (and the scones at the tea garden) one of the other main attractions is the water birds. One can get really close to some of them so it makes for a great place to practise your bird photography.

Above - an immature Grey Heron hunts at the waters edge

Below - an Egyptian Goose preens in the water
Egyptian Goose at Durban Botanical Gardens

Photo © Steven Herbert

An orchid in the Orchid House at Durban Botanical Gardens

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above and below - The Orchid House has a spectacular display of orchids. An orchid in the Orchid House at Durban Botanical Gardens

Photo © Steven Herbert

Some species to look for:

Egyptian Goose

Spur-winged Goose

Common Moorhen

African Fish-Eagle

Reed Cormorant

Grey Heron

Black-headed Heron

Purple Heron

Cattle Egret


Hadeda Ibis

African Sacred Ibis

African Spoonbill

Pink-backed Pelican

Olive Thrush

Southern Black Flycatcher

African Dusky Flycatcher

Common Myna

Spectacled Weaver

Village Weaver

Southern Red Bishop

Thick-billed Weaver

Bronze Mannikin

Honey Bee

Thyreus spp. (Cuckoo bees)

Band-eyed Drone Fly

Hook-winged Net-winged Beetle

Golden Piper

Blue Pansy

Banded Groundling

Vervet Monkey

Blue Waterlily

Sycamore Fig

Tall Star Sedge

Powder-puff Tree

Weeping Anthericum

Matting Rush

Dwarf Papyrus

Marsh Terrapin


References and further reading

Family Fun - Author: Lisa McNamara - Year Published: 2015 - Page: 64

Hit the Road - 2nd Edition - Author: MapStudio - Year Published: 2018 - Page: 158

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 114

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 158

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 84

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