If you find yourself in Nelspruit (Mbombela) and wondering what to do in this quaint little city nestled in the Lowveld, one great option is to head over to the only National Botanical Garden in Mpumalanga just off White River road.
A Great Way to Spend the Day
The Lowveld Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to spend the day and even have a little picnic on the grass. The Garden is almost 160 hectares filled with more than 600 naturally occurring plant species along with more than 2000 species that have been introduced. There are lots of beautiful walking paths, most of which are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, a small labyrinth, a wonderful playground for the kids to safely play, and even an amphitheater.
If you make your way down the forresty path you will cross a suspension bridge where you will see the Crocodile River find its path through the large rock formations creating beautiful streams and rapids. The view and intensity can change drastically depending on the water level of the rivers from low and easy streams to gushing high water rapids. There are multiple viewpoints of the rivers from both sides, so getting different perspectives is a breeze.
The walking trails throughout the garden are such a delight. Mostly shaded under the large trees, there are wooden platform meters above the forest floor that takes you to the suspension bridge, or you can continue down the path staying on the East side of the river.
Once you step off the wooden walkways you will find solid concrete paths winding their way around the trees and vegetation. There is a multitude of species of plants and even some wildlife and insects to view, you definitely won’t get bored!
You’ll also notice many information boards throughout the park displaying details about the various plants and animals. You could spend all day educating yourself about your surroundings.
When is the best time to visit?
The best time for making a visit would be when the majority of the plants are flowering in the spring, but if you aren’t around in that timeframe don’t sweat it, the garden is a beautiful place to see year round. You can even get a bite to eat at the Kuzuri Restaurant or sip a cup of tea at the Red Leaf Fig Tea Garden, both within the gardens premises.
If you plan to head out and enjoy your day here, don’t forget to pack some water and a snack or two, and definitely don’t leave the camera at home!