The Garden Landscape Guide

Pretoria National Botanic Garden

Pretoria National Botanic Garden is divided into two sections by a quartzite outcrop - a frosty south-facing section and warmer north-facing section. There is a strong focus on South African natives. Features an avenue of Bolusanthus trees planted in 1946 and a Medicinal Garden. Originally known as the Transvaal National Botanic Gardens, the gardens were established in 1946 as a research facility and were not opened to the public until 1984.


The Pretoria National Botanical Garden was established in 1946 when part of the University of Pretoria 's Experimental Farm and private properties along the northern part of the ridge were acquired by the Department of Agriculture. The Garden was initially known as the Transvaal National Botanic Gardens and could only be visited by special arrangement because it was primarily a research facility under the management of the Botanical Research Institute, which traces its origins back to 1903. The Institute amalgamated with the National Botanical Gardens of South Africa (Kirstenbosch) to form the National Botanical Institute in 1989, which in turn became the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in 2004. The Garden was opened to the public on a daily basis in 1984.

Plants of note

Special features are the tree wisteria ( Bolusanthus speciosus ) avenue and special collections of medicinal plants, cycads, aloes, tree species, succulents and natural ridge vegetation. The green lawns and spreading shade trees in summer and the massed aloe collections that blaze into flower during winter, are just some of the seasonal features that draw visitors to our Garden. Mesems (vygies) captivate and enchant all. Their brilliant shimmering flowers appear in a variety of colours; red, mauve, pink, orange or white. Lampranthus amoenus and L. blandus are two examples of mesems. Namaqualand daisies make a wonderful splash of orange or white, depending on the type planted. Scrub hares are particularly partial to these plants and often make a meal of them before they have an opportunity to flower. At this time of year, Grey duiker sometimes wander into the cultivated section of the Garden to look for food. They are browsers and feed on leaves, flowers and fruits, but in spring the natural bush is still dry and leafless and food is scarce. On the koppie (hill), Ochna pretoriensis (Magalies plane) and Ochna pulchra (peeling plane) become clothed in masses of yellow flowers. Ochna pulchra has an attractive white bark which peels off in flakes. A broad band of clivias (Clivia miniata) lines pathways near the Tea Garden. Rothmannia globosa (September bells) is covered in large, scented, creamy white bells. Thorn-trees (species of Acacia) are adorned with fluffy, often scented flowers.

2 Cussonia Avenue, Brummeria, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

All year. Daily. Open 8am to 6pm.

Visit the Pretoria National Botanic Garden website

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  • over 5 years by Yelena 3 / 5

    Dear Person-in-Charge
    A friend and I visited the Botanical Garden yesterday (2011-Jan-11). I have been there quite often during the past year, so am not a once-off visitor.

    The gardens were clean, we didn't see any rubbish lying around, the staff at the entrance were friendly and efficient. After the recent rains everything is very lush and green.

    Unfortunately the weeds are also lush and green: noticeably in the beds in the enabling garden" and also in other parts. Flowering Lantana near the Herbarium buildings, pom-pom weed in the grasslands, Solanum creeper on the dassie trail - I could go on.

    I do hope that with the onset of the new year this situation will be rectified - it is very disappointing to find a bed marked "Agapanthus" actually filled with enormous weeds. One's fingers actually itch to pull them out!

    In spite of the above, the Garden still remains my favourite walking spot. Please don't let it get neglected.
  • almost 6 years by Katrina Underwood 4 / 5

    I visited this garden in May 2010 and found it to be well maintained and extremely interesting - a lovely place to spend a day. Take a picnic and wander around and see many of South Africa's truly amazing indigenous plants and some wonderful trees. Staff and general ambience of the place were all very welcoming.
  • over 6 years by E. de Clerk. 1 / 5

    I have sent the e-mail below to the Botanical Gardens in Pretoria.


    I write this letter as a concerned citizen and on behalf of my fellow visitors to the park.

    I have been making regular visits to the Pretoria Botanical Gardens for many years. Lately it has become obvious that the maintenance of the park have become substandard, to say the least.

    Right from the moment one enters the car gate, it is evident that the management and supervision is below par. At the gate, the guard is either absent or busy reading a book, eating, or drinking some beverage. He hardly notices the visitors.

    Members of your security company (GS4?) are sloppily dressed and conduct themselves no better than unskilled car guards.

    At the ticket office, the personnel seem to be eating non-stop, pausing only to sell tickets. Your personnel have clearly not been sufficiently trained in customer relations, or how to conduct themselves in a professional manner.

    Pathways have become overgrown by weeds, lawns are not cut regularly, plastic bottles and rubbish float in the ponds, weeds have started to invade some of the flower beds, dead birds are left to rot on the grass, park benches are filthy – the list goes on.

    It is indeed a pity that through lack of commitment; and because of incompetent management, this once beautiful, tranquil, park is allowed to deteriorate and be turned into just another piece polluted terrain.

    I have taken photos (one attached) in the park – showing examples of the lack of maintenance – and will be monitoring the situation over the next few months. Thereafter, I shall write an article regarding this issue to the newspapers. I shall also publish the story and photos on the Internet – linking it to your website.

    Furthermore, I will petition visitors to the park to sign a list, voicing their displeasure at the situation. This will also be published on the internet.

    Our country’s assets are being systematically destroyed by people who have no idea of the value these resources have in the tourist market.

    I, for one, will not stand idly by and allow this to happen.

    Finally, I have these questions. Who is in charge of the Botanical Gardens? And - why, Sir or Madam, are you not doing the job you are paid to do? You should be ashamed of yourself.


    E. de Clerk.

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Pretoria National Botanic Garden, Gauteng Photograph © Pretoria National Botanic Garden
Pretoria National Botanic Garden, South Africa Photograph © Pretoria National Botanic Garden
Pretoria National Botanic Garden, Gauteng Photograph © E. de Clerk
Wetland, Pretoria NBG Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood
Pretoria NBG Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood
Pretoria NBG, 2010 Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood
Pretoria NBG, May Photograph © Anthurium/Katrina Underwood