National Botanical Gardens
Pietermaritzburg is justifiably known as the City of Flowers, with private gardens and public parks aglow with lush foliage and seasonal blooms, such as bougainvilleas and azaleas. The National Botanical Gardens, one of eight in the country, is situated on an ancient floodplain and a hillside at the foot of a mist belt. Established in 1870, the garden concentrates on the conservation and propagation of rare and endangered indigenous plants as well as the cultivation of east coast grassland plants.
Azaleas and proteas are a feature of Wylie Park which, with its beautifully landscaped gardens, offers a tranquil retreat from the rigors of city life. For the energetic there is a hiking trail which leads from the gardens to World's View.
It features the picturesque cricket Pavilion built in 1898 to commemorate 50 years of British history in Pietermaritzburg. Today it houses a restaurant. There is also a charming Chinoiserie-style bandstand, recently renovated to its former glory, which is the venue of regular concerts. Alexandra Park is a centre for international sports fixtures and the venue for monthly craft markets.
Ferncliff and Bisley Nature Reserve
The Green Belt at Ferncliff and World's View, and Savannah at Bisley Nature Reserve, offer walking trails with opportunities to enjoy a selection of wild flowers, animals and bird life on the fringe of the city.
Queen Elizabeth Park
The headquarters of the KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife are situated a short drive from Pietermaritzburg in a small nature reserve known as Queen Elizabeth Park. Visitors can enjoy a self-guided trail, picnic sites and a viewing hide at the rhino boma.
Butterflies for Africa
A complex housing a butterfly craft shop, art gallery, coffee bar, African art & craft centre and a garden planted with a large range of butterfly food plants. The prime attraction is an impressive walk through the butterfly house where visitors can come into close contact with butterflies from around the world as they fly freely in a lush environment. An outdoor butterfly garden complements the enclosed house, enabling guests to observe these magnificent jewels of the air in their natural habitat.