• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

Find Accommodation in South Africa
Subscribe to our Feed
Posted on: Wednesday, 9 January 2013

7 Great Gardens To Visit In And Around Durban

Send to Kindle
Spot a bird or two!

Spot a bird or two!

The benefits of being in nature are myriad: it improves cognitive function, it restores our ability to use directed attention and working memory (two rather crucial mental talents), it renews a feeling of serenity, and apparently even boosts our immunity.

On the flipside of this constantly being exposed to city living, where we must forever be vigilant, avoid obstacles, ignore irrelevant stimili (like our neighbour’s music and yapping dogs), sit in front of computers for far too long, and expose ourselves to overcrowding and poor air quality, has negative effects on our health.

Seeking out gardens within a city is the fastest way to restore balance and calm to our lives. And in Durban, there are many such gardens:

Amphitheatre

Right in the heart of Durban’s Golden Mile, the Amphitheatre Gardens near the entrance to North Beach provide a pond, fountains and and beds set with sub-tropical plants. Sandwiched as it is between one of the city’s busiest roads – on which you’ll find some of Durban’s largest hotels -, and the beach, it tends to go unnoticed and remains largely ignored. Except on Sundays when there is an art market. Once a month this is boosted by a flea market that sells just about anything from African curios to pineapple on a stick, doused in a sprinkling of curry masala.

Durban Botanical Gardens

Durban Botanical Gardens

Durban Botanic Gardens

Said to be Durban’s oldest public institution and Africa’s oldest surviving botanic gardens, the city’s Botanic Garden not only boasts a new and upgraded entrance but a Living Beehive based on the design of Zulu Beehive huts. Its steel frames are covered by a living roof and walls made up of indigenous plants – its rather stunning and warrants a visit. The lake, the bird life of the park, the cycads, the sunken garden, the fern dell, the orchid house and the palm walk make a visit here a delight for the senses. End your time there at the tea garden where there are a range of treats. Always worthy of at least one visit.

Mitchell Park & Jameson Park

Also known as Mitchell Park zoo and Mitchell’s Park this lovely garden, in the heart of Morningside, has been here for years – it started life as an ostrich farm in 1910 but began to add other animals when it failed to make a profit. Whilst today’s animals no longer include Nellie the Indian elephant, gifted to the zoo by the Maharajah of Mysore in 1928, it does have giant tortoises, buck, raccoons, a number of monkeys and an array of birds. Lush, green gardens accompany the zoo, and a pretty tree-filled children’s playground accommodates cricket, frisbee and ball play as well as simply chilling out with a book. The tea garden is an added attraction.

Just over the road, Jameson park may have began as a pineapple plantation but today it is a wealth of roses, best seen during spring (September to November) but worthy of a through stroll at any time of year.

Umgeni River Bird Park

Umgeni River Bird Park

Umgeni River Bird Park

Whilst not officially a garden, this gem on the Umgeni River is a huge attraction and, with walk-through aviaries and a mass of vegetation, waterfalls and rock faces, you will be as much in nature as you would ever be in a park. Of the 24 threatened bird species living here, 17 are bred in the park. One such example is the wattled crane, listed as vulnerable there are only about 8000 in the wild. Get here for the free-flight show that allows birds to glide past you in full and unrestricted flight, and baby bird feeding hourly throughout the day.

Temple of Understanding

The Temple of Understanding in Chatsworth is not only the biggest Hare Krishna temple in the southern hemisphere, but the unusual building in the shape of a lotus flower lies in a series of beautiful gardens that invite contemplation. An immensely tranquil and peaceful atmosphere, the beautifully crafted temple and gardens are a space of solace and few visitors leave unaffected. The architecture is inspiring. Do not miss the vegetarian restaurant that serves fresh fruit juices and Indian vegan food.

Rosehurst Garden

Rosehurst Garden

Rosehurst Garden, Pietermaritzburg

Worth a trip to ‘Maritzburg? We think so. Rosehurst Garden in Boom Street is the quintessential English garden. It was created 30 years ago and heavily influenced by the garden at Sissinghurst Castle in south east England. Hence you can expect to wander in amongst hedges, topiary and informal plantings. Divided in to numerous smaller gardens, each is coded according to colour from the yellow sundial garden and mauve side garden, to the pink lawn garden. Best is the old Victorian manor now home to an array of idiocyncratic shops. The tea shop offers simple sandwiches and light meals.

Useful Links

Durban Attractions
Things to Do in Durban
Durban Hotels
Hotels in KwaZulu Natal
KwaZulu Natal Accommodation

Wanda Coustas

About 

Wanda Coustas has written in one form or another for 10 years, seven of them as a copyblogger. She has travelled the Western Cape extensively and the rest of the country in protracted road trips that have given her both joy and an ongoing relish for experiencing what she writes about first-hand. She is a trained opera singer, poet, eurythmy dancer, philosopher, and bee whisperer.

Related Posts: