Cape Town's Kirstenbosch gardens may be more famous, but Durban's Botanic Gardens hold the title of Africa's oldest surviving botanical gardens.
Founded in 1851, Durban's Botanic Gardens were a response to Kew Gardens' challenge of creating botanic gardens around the world. The goal was not only to furnish Kew with new plants, but also to help raise global awareness of potentially valuable plants. The first garden in Durban was established in 1849 in a different location – it has been at its current location, closer to the city, since 1851.
The gardens cover more than 37 acres and are known for their collection of cycads, ferns, and orchids. There are also several events held in the gardens throughout the year, including concerts, tea parties, and an indigenous plant fair in September.
The gardens are open April 16-September 15 from 7:30am-5:30pm, and September 16-April 15 from 7:30am-5:15pm. The Orchid House is open daily from 9am-5pm. Admission is free (tickets are required for many events), and donations are always welcome.