The leaflet that you can buy on arrival refers too the botanical gardens as “Natures best kept secret” and it truly is.Not having been there for some time I was pleasantly surprised at the state of the gardens and how many improvements had been bought about since my last visit.
Going through the gates we purchased a bird and tree guide which was put to good use for the duration,although we enjoyed lunch under the trees at the Eagles Fare restaurant the gardens are a haven for picnic lovers with adequate shade and plant of delightful little nooks and crannies,all with abundant space for the kids to run around.`the gardens are situated on the West Rand in Poortview and are about a 30 minute drive from Sandton and the Northern suburbs.
Over the years they have consistently being lauded as the best picnic spot in Gauteng and it’s easy to see why,although we went on a Saturday morning the place was full of families,groups of picnickers and photographers hoping to catch the resident pair of Verreaux Eagles( I was lucky to see one soaring near the nesting site).
Although the terrain is different Gauteng can be proud of the gardens and immediate comparisons to Kirstenbosch come to mind.After lunch we made our way across to the falls and were amazed by the birdlife,yet the gardens record around 220 species , our guide was constantly in use.There are numerous walking trails but we opted for a circular route back to the main gate as out footwear was not suitable for the more arduous Geological Route.The gardens are all themed and interesting items are labelled or signposted making it a slow ramble as you take in all the facility has to offer. A new addition to the facility is the open air green gym where one could take time off to exercise,we opted to walk !
I hardly saw a sweet wrapper of cold drink can,the lawns are immaculate and there are no dirt bins as the policy is to take out what you bt=ring in as this reduces the risk of foraging by small animals.
On the way out we exited via the nursery where a range of indigenous plants are on offer at extremely reasonable prices.Go again? Definitely will and we also plan to attend some of the concerts and events hosted at the gardens.
I would suggest the following before visiting,
- A broad brimmed hat as one would need protection even in Winter
- A light jacket or rain jacket as it gets chilly in the shade and the summer afternoons are prone to thunderstorms
- Comfortable stout walking shoes or boots
- A camera and binoculars
- A bird and tree guide ( available at the main gate when purchasing tickets at a reasonable price)