Landscaped lawns set against a waterfall backdrop, colorful wildlife and cultural events make this one of Johannesburg’s favorite public parks.
Explore the landscaped gardens and natural vegetation of Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. The botanical reserve's 740 acres (300 hectares) are home to hundreds of indigenous plant species and wildlife such as mongoose, otters, snakes and geckoes.
Stroll along the paved trails that lead to themed gardens. Find ancient African plants in the Cycad Garden and a collection of succulents, including aloes, at the Succulent Rockery. Go to the Bushveld Area for the savanna plants and walk through the Wetland on the raised wooden platforms. Inside the Water Garden, find lots of water plants growing by ponds and streams.
As you make your way through the gardens, try and spot local wildlife. In addition to reptiles and mammals, more than 200 bird species have been seen here. Among the places to see them are the Wetland and the Bird and Butterfly Garden.
A highlight of the gardens is the spectacular 230-feet (70-meter) tall Witpoortjie Falls. Look for the pair of rare Verreaux’s eagles that nest on the waterfall’s cliffs. Follow the Geological Trail to the top of the waterfall and learn about the geology of the gardens as you go.
Bring a picnic and relax on lawns or under the shade of the arboretum’s trees. Active visitors might want to make use of the exercise stations, while children can have fun in the playground. Time your visit to coincide with one of the many cultural events that take place on the concert stage, including comedy shows and jazz concerts.
Located in the Roodepoort suburb, the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens is about a 35-minute drive from downtown Johannesburg. There is a large free car park on-site. Public transport options to the gardens are limited.
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens is open daily and a small admission fee applies, although children under 6 years of age get in for free. Guided tours are available by prior appointment. For details and prices, visit the attraction’s website.