Botanic gardens around the world have played a role in education for many decades, and the Durban Botanic Gardens is no different. The initial education focus may have had a more scientific emphasis but that is no longer the case. Climate change and protecting our environment for future generations has pushed environmental education to the fore.

The Durban Botanic Gardens offers an important space for learning to take place. In the early years it provides a place where exploration and discovery can take place, and in the later years a more scientific conservation model is used to inspire and engage learners.

The Durban Botanic Gardens Education team provide a number of programmes for different groups.

School Programmes

Education Outreach

The Durban Botanic Gardens Education Outreach Centre cultivates a sense of citizenship in citizens of the eThekweni Municipal area. The Durban Botanic Gardens Education section has a team of volunteers who facilitate educational tours around the Gardens, providing an overview of the Gardens, including scientific and cultural knowledge. The Durban Botanic Gardens Trust actively supports the volunteer components of the programme, aiming to promote a passion and love for nature rather than filling learner’s heads with numerous facts.

“In the end we will conserve only what we love;
we will love only what we understand;
and we will understand only what we have been taught”
– Baba Dioum

Durban Botanic Gardens Education School Programmes

The curriculum aligned school programmes focus on biodiversity, ecology, climate change and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Durban Botanic Gardens volunteers facilitate biodiversity walks around the Gardens and do interactive activities which target different grades and age groups.

The school programmes aim to promote biodiversity, conservation and citizenship as well as preserving nature. We do this by showing that we are inter-connected with nature and that we all have a role to play. We educate the school learners on environmental issues and promote taking care of nature.

Since July 2013 the school programme has to date reached out to more than 19 000 learners from all walks of life. The programme prides itself in promoting accessibility to all citizens of South Africa with a view to correcting the injustices of apartheid spatial planning.

Thematic programmes offered for Learners:

Pre-Primary Phase

  • Plants and our senses: A hands-on sensory discovery of the plant world.

Foundation phase

  • Backyard safari (Life in our Gardens): Explore the incredible relationship between plants and animals.

Intermediate Phase

  • Me and my environment: Learning to appreciate living things big and small in the natural world.
  • Plant kingdom introduction: Interesting plant families and their uses/roles.
  • Investigate pollination & plant reproduction.
  • Invasive alien plants: Identifying alien invasive plants and understanding their environmental impact.
  • Interesting wetlands: Understanding wetlands and why they are so important.

Senior and F.E.T Phase

  • Garden Life: Investigating wildlife in our gardens and the urban environment.
  • Soil study: Discover what soil is and why its important.
  • Biodiversity and the plant kingdom.
  • Indigenous plants and traditional healing practices: An investigation into the relationship and connections between indigenous people, plants and culture.
  • Environmental justice, ethics and issues: Investigating local environmental issues.

Adult Programmes

Adult Educational Tours

We also provide adult tours around the Gardens that aim to promote sustainable development. We provide an overview of the history of the Gardens and share scientific and cultural information.

Some popular tours (Group bookings may be required):

  • Introductory Walk through the Durban Botanic Gardens
  • Fascinating History and Heritage of Durban Botanic Gardens
  • Grand Old Trees of Durban Botanic Gardens
  • Magnificent Palms of Durban Botanic Gardens
  • Interesting Trees of Durban Botanic Gardens

Please note that all Education programmes will require advance booking with the Education team.

To book your programme or become a volunteer contact us at:

Slindile Hlengwa – Education Officer
t: 031 322 4010

Thami Mbhele – Assistant to Education Officer
t: 031 322 4019