We explore five of the world’s most stunning botanical gardens, including two in South Africa.

Whether you’ve got green fingers or not, visiting these natural oases in some of the world’s most bustling centres will fill you with a sense of wonder. Each garden is a tribute to years and years of patient cultivation, research, and back-breaking work.

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Every tree, bush, and flower is documented, and is lovingly cared for by teams of experts from around the world. The gardens attract an abundance of bird and animal life, and are also major tourism attractions. Botanical gardens are the perfect spaces to exhibit a region’s most stunning natural heritage.

We briefly explore five spectacular botanical gardens from around the world. 

1. Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden – Gauteng, South Africa

This garden in Roodepoort, Gauteng features over 600 plant species, and a pair of resident Verreaux’s eagles (formerly known as black eagles). First founded in 1982, the garden also features the Witpoortjie Waterfall, gushing from a height of 70 metres and has been voted the best place to get back to nature in Gauteng for 9 years in a row.

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2. Jardim Tunduru – Maputo, Mozambique

This garden is the perfect shady retreat away from the tropical heat of Mozambique. Over 100 years old, the garden also features a large children’s playground. It is situated in downtown Maputo, Mozambique and was designed in 1885 by British gardener Thomas Honney. The Tunduru Garden also feature a tennis court and a statue of Mozambique’s first president Samora Machel.

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3. Aswan Botanical Garden – El Nabatat Island, Egypt

The Aswan Botanical Garden is located on El Nabatat Island or Kitchener’s Island in Egypt. El Nabatat Island is one of two major islands on the Nile in vicinity of Aswan. The island features thousands of subtropical, exotic, and rare plantings and trees such as the Royal Palm tree and the Sabal Palm tree.

The collection was started by Lord Kitchener in 1911, and are a popular tourist attraction in Egypt. Visitors can enjoy a picnic, and walks around the spectacular island.

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4. Jardin Majorelle – Marrakech, Morocco

The Majorelle Garden was designed by the French artist, Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962), son of the Art Nouveau ébéniste (cabinet-maker) of Nancy, Louis Majorelle. However, in the 1950s it fell into disrepair due to the high cost of maintaining it. The garden and villa were rediscovered in the 1980s, by fashion designers, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé who set about restoring it and saving it. The gardens are a major tourist drawcard in Marrakech, attracting more than 700,000 visitors annually.

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5. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden – Cape Town, South Africa

Kirstenbosch is an important botanical garden at the eastern foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town. The garden is one of ten National Botanical Gardens covering five of South Africa’s six different biomes and administered by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). The garden was founded in 1913 and includes a large conservatory exhibiting plants from a number of different regions, including savanna, fynbos, karoo and others.

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