What to do & see

Walk

The Durban Botanic Gardens is a living library of plants and comprises of 15 hectares with paved walkways.

Download a copy of the map here and walk around the Gardens at your leisure, stopping at the many attractions along the way.

Tours | Guided Programmes

Guided Tours

A group guided tour can be arranged through the Durban Botanic Gardens Education Office. Prior booking is essential and a small fee will apply.

There are a variety of themed walks available. Click here to find out more.

Guided School Programmes

There are a variety of curriculum based schools programmes / tours that can be arranged through the Education Centre. Click here to find out more.

Guided Golf Cart Tours

Take a 30 or 60 minute golf cart tour of the Gardens with a professional guide.

  • Very informative and educational way to experience the Gardens
  • Suitable for all ages, discounted rates offered for children and pensioners
  • Run by Blue Dolphin Tours, a percentage of the proceeds go towards the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust
  • Available Tuesday to Sunday 08h00-16h30
  • To avoid disappointment please book: Natasha 074 028 6936 or natashadadoo@yahoo.com

Picnic

The Durban Botanic Gardens is a popular picnic spot in Durban. Families and visitors are encouraged to bring picnic baskets, blankets and chairs, and relax on the lawns or under a majestic tree.

All areas are accessible for picnics unless they are reserved for a specific event.

Please refer to the Gardens Guidelines when planning a picnic at the Durban Botanic Gardens. If you have any other queries please refer to our FAQ.

Restaurants

Charles James Tea Garden

This is fondly referred to as the Tea Garden and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a pot of tea with a fresh cream scone. The Tea Garden serves light refreshments in a garden setting.

The Tea Garden was established in 1963 by the KZN Anti-TB Association which is a registered non-profit organisation.

All funds generated from the Tea Garden go towards the purchase of food parcels for TB patients.

Please support the good work of this institution by frequenting the Tea Garden.

If you would like to find out more about the Tea Garden or how you can support this worthy cause, please contact natba@saol.com.

Refurbishment is currently underway at the Tea Garden. If you would like to sponsor some of the changes or make a donation towards the refurbishment, please contact the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust.

Gourmet Café

This coffee unit is situated at the Visitors Complex and serves a variety of specialised take-away coffees and refreshments.

The service is quick and friendly and it’s the perfect place to grab a cappuccino before heading into the Gardens.

Top attractions

Orchid House

  • Ernest Thorpe (a curator of the Gardens 1950-1975) was the main driving force behind starting the Gardens orchid collection and the Ernest Thorpe Orchid House was named in his honour in 1962.
  • The orchid collection comprises over 8 000 plants in more than 75 natural and man-made genera, which are grown in large shaded nursery houses.
  • Only orchids that are in flower are displayed to the public in the Orchid House. Both indigenous and exotic orchids are displayed.
  • The orchid collection is curated by a specialist which is funded by the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust.
  • To find out more about our orchid collection click here.

Sunken Garden

  • The Sunken Garden is one of the most romantic spots in the Gardens. The garden is mainly for the display of annuals, but perennials are also featured.
  • The establishment of this classic English style garden dates back to 1934.
  • Constructed by a group called the “Old Man’s Gang” who were unemployed voluntary workers and victims of the Great Depression.

Butterfly Habitat Garden

  • The Butterfly Habitat Garden is a new concept conceived with the aim of bringing awareness to the general public and scholars about the local butterfly population of KwaZulu-Natal, in particular around Durban.
  • The Butterfly Habitat Garden is an open garden that has been purposefully landscaped around a dome-like structure. The plant species have been specifically selected to attract both butterflies and caterpillars, thus creating a mini ecosystem in which butterflies can thrive.
  • To find out more about the history of the dome and the Butterfly Habitat Garden click here.

Lake area

  • The Lake area is a popular spot to relax and admire the birdlife.
  • It was discovered quite by accident after an old tree stump was removed and the cavity filled up with water.
  • The Lake is fed by a permanent spring and is home to many aquatic bird species.

Cycad collection

  • The Cycad collection is undoubtedly one of the world’s finest in terms of size and age of specimens, the number of plants and diversity of the collection. The central core of the collection consists of an extensive representation of the African cycad genus, Encephalartos, and this is complimented by a selected range of exotic cycads.
  • The Durban Botanic Gardens has been curating one of the rarest cycads in the world since 1848, namely Wood’s Cycad (Encephelartos woodii) which can be found growing happily near the old reservoir at the top of the Gardens.

Heritage Trees

  • The Durban Botanic Gardens is home to some grand old trees that form part of the heritage landscape of the Gardens and many are over 100 years old. Some of these heritage trees include the jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) which is the oldest in the country, having been planted in 1885, and the Lychee (Litchi chinensis) near the Sunken Garden which was planted in 1880.