The magnificent Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden is one of eight botanical gardens in South Africa and is a popular destination for visitors wanting to stretch their legs, head out on a walk or do some bird-watching. Founded in 1982, the garden has been attracting visitors since the 1800's.
Located in Roodepoort, approximately 22 kilometres (13.6 miles) north west of Johannesburg's CBD, the gardens are open daily between 08h00 and 17h00. The main attraction of the garden is the variety of plant species found in the area.
The garden is located in a vegetation area known as the 'Rocky Highveld Grassland' and one will find over 600 plant species, all of which occur naturally in the area. The garden is home to an abundance of birdlife including over 220 species of birds, the most famous of which is a breeding pair of Verreaux's Eagles that are found nesting on the cliffs alongside the botanical garden's waterfall.
During their time in the garden visitors may also be lucky enough to spot some of the wildlife found in the gardens including a number of small mammals such as jackal, small antelope.
While spending time at the botanical gardens visitors can explore the variety of short walks that have been demarcated throughout the nature area and into the surrounding areas, there are also guided tours available for large groups.
Some of the main areas of interest include the Witpootjie Waterfall and their surrounding cliffs - this is where the Eagles are found. The Succulent Rockery is home to a variety of interesting and unusual succulent plants from around South Africa and the cycad garden is home to an amazing display of these ancient plants.
Taking a walk along the boardwalk to the wetland area will lead one to the bird hide where visitors can spend some time spotting some of the species that make their home in and amongst the reeds. There is also a water garden and a quaint stream filled with water lilies and other water loving plants.
The stream flows past the Eagle's Fare Restaurant where visitors can sit and enjoy a light meal or a slice of cake and a cup of tea after their meanderings through the gardens. Alternatively visitors are welcome to bring their own picnics to the garden and find a comfortable spot on the lawn under the shade of a tea to sit and relax.
During the school holidays and festive season the garden hosts sun downer concerts which are popular amongst both local and foreign visitors.There is also a popular gift shop and a plant nursery to explore.