Enjoy the tranquility of a spacious pastoral retreat that encompasses rivers, waterfalls, forests and indigenous and non-native plants and flowers.
See waterfalls, rivers and more than 600 indigenous plant species at the Lowveld Botanical Garden. Wander through the 393-acre (159-hectare) park, an exotic setting that encompasses a cultivated garden and areas of natural vegetation.
The garden is bisected by the Crocodile and Nels Rivers. Go to the Cascades and the Nels viewpoints to observe the waterfalls at the points where they converge. Stroll through the African rainforest to see a collection of trees from Central and West Africa that are disappearing in their native countries. From here, take the suspended bridge that reaches into the tree canopy and connects the forest to the Visitors' Center.
Visit the South African forest for the stinkwood, a tree that can grow up to 66 feet (20 meters) in height.
Stop off for some refreshments at the Tea Garden and then continue on your tour of the rest of garden. Follow paths that lead to areas of cycads, cabbage trees, fig trees and the medicinal garden. Many of the paths are suitable for wheelchair users and there is also a braille trail for those with visual impairments.
Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to the garden, because there are so many animals to be seen. They include more than 200 bird species, reptiles and such mammals as the hippopotamus, vervet monkey and dwarf mongoose.
The garden is in a subtropical part of South Africa, and consequently there is always something in bloom no matter when you visit. However, the best times are in spring and early summer when the sun is not too strong and most of the vegetation is flowering.
The Lowveld Botanical Garden is based just outside the city of Nelspruit in the north of the Mpumalanga province. Drive north from the city center for 5 miles (8.9 kilometers) to reach the picturesque site. You can also take a bus or taxi for the short journey.
The garden is open every day and admission charges apply. There are discounts for students and senior citizens.