The Lowveld National Botanical Gardens is one of the few places in Nelspruit where you can escape the city, while in the city. Our Nelspruit accommodation is just a short drive from these stunning gardens and you can spend your day here, picnicking, walking the paths and making memories.

The gardens were first created in 1969, by the Nelspruit Municipality. There was the hope that the gardens would promote tourism while also educating visitors about conservation as well as about the immense diversity of flora that makes up the garden. In September 1971, the gardens were opened to the public.

The land was donated by the municipality as well as HL Hall & Sons. Of the entire garden, only 165 hectares of land is cultivated. The rest of the land has been left to grow naturally, only slightly maintained where necessary, such as on paths or in the open picnic area.

Facts about the Lowveld National Botanical Gardens

  • The Crocodile and the Nels Rivers meet in the gardens. Where they come together, they form two spectacular waterfalls which become even more exquisite during the summer months when the rivers will often flood. The rivers and the waterfalls can be viewed from 2 platforms.
  • A mixture of Savannah, Lowveld bushveld and Sour Lowveld bushveld characterise the gardens. The gardens have indigenous plants and trees, and there are a few places with manicured, indigenous lawns. The gardens are home to one of the largest collections of trees indigenous to South Africa.
  • Those who visit the gardens will get to enjoy all kinds of bird life. The gardens are something of a bird watching paradise and the plants and trees attract some 245 different species of birds. Of the many birds, you can see here, Emerald-Spotted Wood Dove and Crested Francolins are frequently seen.
  • The gardens are also home to all kinds of reptiles and amphibians. Some 75 different species live in hiding all over the gardens and are not often seen. From the dangerous Black Mamba to the commonly seen Mozambique Spitting Cobra and the Twig Snake, if you keep your eyes peeled, you could spot one of these creatures lurking in the trees and beneath the shrubs.
  • Various animals also live in the gardens. Hippo is the bigger animals that can be seen, although they are quite rare. Tree Squirrels and Vervet Monkeys are the more common sightings and you could also see the Thick-Tailed Bushbaby.
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Paths and Plants

One of the biggest attractions the gardens are known for is the African Rain Forest and its path that takes you across a suspended bridge, beneath which the Crocodile River gently flows. Visiting in the spring is ideal, as the gardens come alive with colour and the temperatures are mild and reinvigorating, especially once the first rains clear away the last of the winter.

In the spring, Wild Pear is in full bloom and there are also bunches of orange Clivia all over the gardens. The wine-coloured flowers of the Sausage Tree also make for a stunning sight, and the nectar from these flowers draw in bees and birds of all kinds.

The flowers from the Weeping Boerbean attract sunbirds with sweet nectar that drips onto the paths they hang over.

When you stay at Pensao Nelspruit Lodge, you can spend some of your time in the gardens, reviving your senses. Looking for things to do in Nelspruit? The Lowveld Botanical Gardens are the perfect distraction.