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).
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’s National Botanical and Zoological Garden – or “Conservation Gardens” – cover a vast array of ecosystems, including grasslands, fynbos, woodlands, marshlands, arid and semi-arid habitats, coastal vegetation and more – and feature natural landmarks ranging from craggy mountains to steep gorges, major rivers, vast plains and rocky koppies. Within these habitats the efforts of the SANBI teams sees a plethora of fauna and flora being nurtured and protected – efforts that have yielded untouched natural tracts of wilderness and floral splendour that everyone should see to believe.
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, or perhaps it is a hike to the waterfalls and pools, a guided tour, bird watching and some eco-therapy – the list is seemingly endless as to what visitors can expect at the SANBI Botanical Gardens. And of course, there is the Pretoria Zoo – the one Zoological Garden managed by SANBI, which is not only the largest zoo in South Africa, but is also rated as one of the top zoos in the world.
Most of the Botanical Gardens have curio shops for visitors to treat themselves to a souvenir, and many have a nursery outlet where indigenous plants can be purchased. Some of the gardens offer great braai facilities, alternatively pack a picnic and dine alfresco in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
The network of SANBI National Botanical and Zoological Gardens includes:
1. KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/kwazulu-natal/
2. Free State National Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/free-state/
3. Harold Porter National Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/harold-porter/
4. Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/karoo-desert/
5. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch/
6. Pretoria National Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/pretoria/
7. Lowveld National Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/lowveld/
8. Pretoria Zoo – www.pretoriazoo.org/national-zoological-garden-celebrates-spring-day/
9. Thohoyandou Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/thohoyandou/
10. Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/walter-sisulu/
11. Hantam National Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/hantam/
12. Kwelera National Botanical Garden – www.sanbi.org/gardens/kwelera/
13. Mokopane Biodiversity Conservation Centre – www.mokopane-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.
September is also Heritage Month, and although history and gardening may not seem like topics that go hand in hand, the SANBI Botanical and Zoological Gardens protect our unique historic fauna and floral species and conserve them for future generations. The heritage behind our wildly diverse and unique floral kingdom is as important as the heritage behind our SA cultures and must be conserved for many generations to come.
Added to all of this, the deciduous trees are sprouting their vivid new leaves and South Africa’s migratory bird species have returned after the winter – it truly is the perfect time for a visit to your nearest Botanical or Zoological Garden.
For more information on the SANBI Spring Festival and your nearest Botanical Gardens visit www.sanbi.org. You can also follow the hashtag #SANBISpringFestival on Facebook @SouthAfricanNationalBiodiversityInstitute; Twitter @SANBI_ZA; and Instagram @SANBI_ZA/.
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