Durban Botanical Gardens

The Durban Botanic Gardens Trust Initiatives

The Durban Botanic Gardens Trust was formed in 1993 to ensure the stewardship and on-going development of the Durban Botanic Gardens, which is the oldest surviving botanic garden on the African continent and Durban’s oldest public institution. The Trust fosters close relationships with the public, community groups and corporate bodies and is thus able to raise funds for the maintenance and development of the Gardens to ensure that it remains a Garden of Excellence

The Durban Botanic Gardens Trust has already played a vital role in supporting key maintenance and development projects within the Gardens through various fundraising activities. The single largest undertaking by the Trust was the development, in 2000, of the Visitors’ Complex, comprising an information centre, a boardroom and a 200-seater hall. Generous individual and corporate donations were received, as well as a grant from the City Council. The Visitors' Complex is in constant use, assisting the Trust to generate income for the Gardens.

Another significant fundraising project initiated by the Trust is the Music at the Lake Concert Series which was established in 1995 with the initial support of Nedbank, Mr. Price and presently the current sponsor Old Mutual. The Music at the Lake Concert series provides a valuable source of income for the Trust, while catering for divergent musical and cultural tastes in a natural setting. This will continue to be one of the Durban Botanic Gardens key events throughout the year.
Other key initiatives undertaken by the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust in the past include the following:

  • Funding for the general maintenance of the Durban Botanic Gardens which includes provision of compost, tools, tree cutting and lawn management.
  • The restoration and maintenance of the following specialty gardens ie Japanese Garden, Fern Dell, Garden of the Senses and the Orchid House.
  • Staff Training and Development. including specialty training of Guides, which enables them to facilitate on the schools programme and guided tours
  • Providing professional skilled personnel to work in the Durban Botanic Gardens on plant collections such as the cycads and orchid collections. This involves cataloging, replanting, and maintenance of theses specialized plants.
  • Funding for the establishment, staffing and running of the Permaculture garden.
  • Provision of funding for horticultural publications such as books, brochures and leaflets.
  • Re-paving of many of the paths in the Durban Botanic Gardens
  • Facilitation, project management and funding of capital projects including the BEEHIVE which was a COP 17 legacy project.
  • Assist with purchase of the Juventus land from the existing soccer club lease and incorporation into the Durban Botanic Gardens. This land will form part of the future Garden Window Project.

Many of these past Initiatives are ongoing and form part of the present involvement of the Trust in the Gardens.
The Gardens is presently working on a “refreshed” campaign in which all activities and initiatives are undertaken to ensure that the Gardens strive towards being a Garden of Excellence.
Current initiatives also include:

Woodiana : Annual production of a premium Trust publication named the Woodiana in which the current news, developments and Trust initiatives are published. These are distributed to major stakeholders, members of the friends and the community at large.

Memorial Benches: The beauty, wonder & serenity of the Durban Botanic Gardens is a perfect setting in which to honour a loved one or pay tribute to a special friend by sponsoring a bench that is placed in the Garden with your commemorative plaque. Contact Leigh for more information on or call 031 3224014

Education – Programmes for schools: The hands on programmes offered by the Durban Botanic Gardens is designed to cover a range of plant and environmental-related themes for Grades 000 to Grade 12, These programmes are designed to support teachers in integrating Environment across the school curriculum. Our guides receive accredited training in both tourism and environmental education. For more information on these programmes please contact our Information Office or call 031 3224021

The Future:

The Durban Botanic Gardens, in response to city-based environmental issues, is embarking on an innovative people and plant development programme, the Garden Window Project. The aim of which is to provide a ‘window’ through which to promote the value of conservation-significant plants and associated environmental services together with ecological and cultural meanings and value.

Special attention will be given to food gardens, medicinal plants, urban greening and environmental resilience through the use of renewable energy and promoting the value of ecological literacy and design.
The future initiatives of the Durban Botanic Trust will be aligned to the core concepts of biodiversity, education, heritage, research, horticultural excellence and green innovation.


Cycad security Project:

In 1895, at the edge of the Ngoye forest in Zululand, the then curator of Durban Botanic Gardens John Medley Wood, discovered a clump of cycad trunks that were unique. All were male plants of a cycad endemic to South Africa and listed as extinct in the wild. No female plants have ever been found. All specimens of this particular species Encephalartos woodii, are clones from this original plant. Cycad theft is an international concern and the Gardens needs to play its part in stopping international crime in the theft of protected species. Work is currently underway to install a new security surveillance system to secure our cycad collection.

Horticultural Excellence

Student training: The Gardens is an important site for training horticultural students. The Gardens host the annual UNISA student contact course for beginner and advanced horticultural students and are involved in working closely with the DUT School of Horticulture programme,

Green Innovation
Water Conservation Irrigation Project

The future of horticulture is a green one. The Gardens is working on a major water conservation project to aim to have the Gardens off potable water.. This is a major capital project and is a key focus of the Durban Botanic Gardens., The water project has been divided into phases from the initial investigation to final implementation.
The initial feasibility of this project has been undertaken by the Trust and these results have show that two main zones are available for investigation. Funding for all stages is required to make this initiative a reality.

Renewable energy: The introduction of innovative solar power systems is part of our commitment to explore new and innovative green energy systems to support the development and maintenance of Gardens. At present with the establishment of the solar green installation with the support of NGO Project 90x2013, a solar panel with tracking system was installed by sustainable energy engineering. The next phase of this project is to be able to store the energy in batteries.

By donating to Durban Botanic Gardens, you are investing in the future work of the Gardens in Plant Conservation, Education, Heritage, Research and Horticultural Excellence.

We have a number of exciting projects needing your support. Projects range from the security of our Cycads, new garden features, maintenance of existing projects, restoring heritage spaces in the Gardens to our lake water conservation project.

The Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Durban Botanic Gardens Trust is registered with SARS as an 18A entity and any donations you may make will be tax deductable.

The Trustees

Ivor Daniel – Chairman
Chris O’Flaherty – Treasurer
Margaret Cooke – Secretary
Donal McCracken
Snowy Baijnath
Patricia Berjak
Garth Kloppenborg
Barry Lang

If you would like to donate to support the ongoing conservation and development of our Gardens for the benefit of future generations. Funds are invested wisely into the maintenance of the Gardens.
Leave a gift in your Will
This is one of the most enduring ways of providing for the future of the Gardens. We would be honoured to discuss your interests and any preferences you may have for the use of your bequest.
Please contact Kerry Phillips our Marketing & Fundraising Manager, email: or by Telephone: 031 309 9244 should you wish to make a donation or sponsor any projects.

Gift a Gift and Support the Durban Botanic Gardens - The oldest surviving botanic garden in Africa

Donate by EFT / Debit Order
Account Name: Durban Botanic Gardens Trust
Bank: Nedbank
Account Number: 1301261246
Musgrave Branch: Branch Code 131026
Reference: “Don” followed by your full name.