George: Garden Route Botanical Gardens

Main entrance Garden Route botanical GardensThe George Botanical Garden is situated on the outskirts of the town, yet it is far enough from traffic noise to hear the sounds of birds and insects. You see a wide variety of  indigenous trees, beds of flowers, fynbos and succulent plants. Small signboards inform the visitor of plant names and other interesting facts.

The Botanical Garden has a natural wetland. I sat patiently on one of the benches overlooking the wetland and saw a dragonfly and other small insects. Bird’s nests are hanging over the water. A signboard explains that the Bulrush leaves and stems are used by birds for building their nests. A diversity of birds, small animals and insects inhabit the 12 hectare area.

Dam at the Garden Route botanical GardensI met a photographer who was doing a photo shoot for the TV-program 50/50. He was looking for a small unidentified frog.  "The Botanical Garden has a number of rare species and some which is unique to this area,” says Christo Janse van Rensburg. A few minutes later we met again and to my amazement, he pointed to a very small frog with green and yellow patterns. He found what he was looking for.

The Medicinal Plant Mound caught my eye as it looked like a garden in a spiral shape. I met Johan and Suzanne de Wet, busy working in the garden. They are voluntary  workers and  talk with passion about the establishment of the Garden Route Botanical garden in 1997.   ”Workshops are held where the medicinal value of these plants are demonstrated,” says Suzanne. Johan also takes the more inquisitive visitors on guided tours.  It is the mission of a group of caring volunteers to maintain indigenous plants from the Garden Route. The Moriarty Environmental Education Centre is used for research, conservation and education.

Growth at Garden Route botanical GardensAn annual plant sale is held in April and a wild flower show in October. The funds are used to maintain the botanical garden. "The wild flower show is a beautiful sight,” says  Suzanne.

On my way back I met another family and a couple taking a relaxed walk along the paths. The more adventurous visitors can walk right towards the end of the garden where the dams and furrows are found. If you put your hiking boots on, you can take the hiking trail on the mountains and come across other rarely-seen plants.

This is a well established botanical garden with features like the Succulent Rockery, Mixed Fynbos, Pioneer Forest, Welcome Garden and many more to be seen. A number of new features are under construction e.g. the Khoisan Maze and Scented Beds, to mention just a few.

A walk in the Garden Route Botanical Garden is time well spent to experience the extraordinary beauty of nature in this area!

Contact Details:  Garden Route Botanical Garden Trust
Tel: (044) 8741558
Directions: 49 Caledon Street, George.  When you enter George, coming from the Oudtshoorn direction, you drive down Courtenay Street and turn left into Caledon Street.

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