A day out at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

I have been a frequent visitor to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Johannesburg ever since I can remember. From school trips to family outings, the Gardens are very special to me. Take a look at what you can experience on a day out at the Botanical Gardens.

Fun facts about the Botanical Gardens:

  • The Botanical Gardens was founded in July 1982. But has been a popular outdoor venue since as early as the 1800s.
  • Originally named the Transvaal National Botanic Garden, visiting could only happen through special arrangement. It opened to the public on a daily basis in 1987, being renamed the Witwatersrand National Botanical Garden.
  • In March 2004, the Garden was renamed the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, in honour of the late ANC stalwart Mr Walter Sisulu (1912-2003).

Get some fresh air, and stroll around with the family

Walking along the paved paths and grass areasOn the walk

Or catch a ride on the Choo-Choo train. R5 (One way) or R10 (Direct Return)

Rides on the Choo-Choo train

Kids can play in the Children’s Garden located close to the restaurant

Childrens play area

On the walk

Concert area

Concert area used for special functions

On the walk

The area is kept really clean, and is respected by the visitors who thrown their rubbish away

On the walk

You won’t get lost with lots of signage located around the Gardens

On the walk

For the more adventurous, wear a pair of comfy sneakers and take a walk through more rustic terrain

On the walk On the walk

You can spot the most beautiful flowers along the walk

Plants + Flowers Plants + Flowers

Along the Tree Routes, you can learn more about different trees and shrubs

Information given on natural environment Plants Trees

There are loads of reptiles, small animals and birds to keep an eye out for

A pollenating bee

Birds landing on unused tables

This little bird waited patiently for the patrons of the restaurant to leave so he could fly down and pick up scraps from the table *Bird lovers: There are over 220 bird  species recorded on site*

Animal information boards

Educational signs all around on animals

The Garden Locust

The Garden Locust

There are also some not-so-real animals too

Animals - the fake kind

The Geological Trail is designed to show some of the geology of the Witwartersrand area. The trail is 3.5km long

Geological information Geological information

Sit down and have a light meal or tea at the Eagle’s Fare Restaurantwww.eaglesfare.co.za

Food at Eagles Fare @ the Botanical Gardens

Relaxing and drinking @ the Botanical Gardens

Ice Cream treats for the young and old

Ice Cream treats for the young and old

Bring your camping chairs or blankets and have a picnic instead in one of the many spots around the Gardens

Picnicing at the Botanical Gardens

The Nursery @ the Garden sells a variety of South African plants, as well as curios, gifts and books.

Botanical Gardens Nursery

The waterfall

  • As kids we used to be able to take a dip in the pool of the waterfall. Now however, they have closed off this area to visitors.
  • The Witpoortjie Falls is the source of the Crocodile River which flows into the Hartbeespoort Dam. The water is not safe for drinking or swimming.
  • Although as mentioned you can picnic at the Gardens, but not however in and around the Waterfall area. Apparently, over 14,000 pairs of feet walk in the area per month, and will not be able to withstand the wear and tear caused by picnicking.

Waterfall Waterfall Waterfall

The Verreaux’s  (Black) Eagles

Together with the waterfall, seeing the two eagles are the main attractions for me at the Botanical Gardens. These majestic creatures are just incredible to see as they take flight. We were lucky on the day that the one Eagle was showing off a bit, soaring high above the rock faces in search of food so they were easily spotted.

Eagle fun facts:

  • Length: 84 cm, Wingspan: 2 meters
  • The clutch consists of two eggs, laid four days apart. Only one chick survives, the younger being killed by the older within four days. Incubation takes between 43-46 days, while nesting lasts between 90-100 days. The Juvenille post nest dependence is between 3-4 months before adults chase from breeding territory. Adult plumage is acquired between three and four years of age.

Black Eagle Black Eagle Black Eagle

Located close to the waterfall and the Eagles nest, are a group of volunteers who form part of The Black Eagle Project Roodekrans who monitor the eagles over the weekend and public holidays. If you would like more information on how you can get involved, visit www.blackeagles.co.za. Their website also has a cool Eagle Cam that lets you can get up close and personal with Eagles. To view the webcam, click here.

 More information:

Entrance fees

  • Adults: R35
  • Pensioners & Disabled: R25
  • University students (with valid student cards): R25
  • Scholars: R12
  • Children under 6 yrs: Free
  • BOTSOC members: Free
  • Pensioners: Free on Tuesdays
  • Please note: Entrance fees are more on concert days


End of Malcolm Rd, Poortview, Roodepoort, Gauteng, South Africa

GPS Co-ordinates:

27°50’40.7″E 26°05’13.8″S; Long 27.84463 Lat -26.08716

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