One of Bloemfontein's treasures is the 70 ha botanical garden on its northwestem fringe. Some 5 ha of the garden have been developed to display and preserve as much of the Free State flora as will grow there - with particular emphasis on species such as Crinum, klipdagga and witgousblom.
The naturally wooded dolerite koppies beyond the cultivated garden contain cabbage trees (Cussonia paniculata), white stinkwood (Celtis africana), false olive (Buddleja saligna) and wild olive ( Olea europaea subsp. africana).
The winding paved path is ideal for the elderly and the physically disabled, while the more agile can climb the koppies (a one-and-a-half-hour trip) to take in the scenery.
The Botanical Society of South Africa arranges periodic talks and moonlight walks, and sunset concerts are held during summer.
The garden is at its best in spring, when most of its flowers are in vivid bloom, but there is something of interest at all times of the year - even in midwinter,
Then the Aloe grandidentata brightens the koppies with splashes of warm red, and the wild pomegranate (Lligozum obovatum) produces its yellow trumpets.
The garden has a well-stocked nursery where surplus indigenous trees, shrubs, bulbs and succulents are sold, and there is also a herbarium where 5000 species are kept - a reference source much used by students.
The garden is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (the nursery between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday) and can be reached by way of General Dan Pienaar Drive (the turn-off is clearly marked).
Braai sites have been laid out for visitors, and a spacious lapa is available for group functions.
Tel: +27 51 436 3530
Mon - Fri: 08h00 to 16h30
Sat, Sun & Pub Holidays: 08h00 - 17h00
Rayton Road, off Dan Pienaar Drive, R702, Bloemfontein