Loving life in the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens

Loving life in the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens

26 February 2013 Environment 0

From my tumblr page, curated while living in South Africa:


Just a stone’s throw away the natural haven is waiting for us. I strap on the chunky one (who is now too big for this carrier we have) and walk towards the trees. The park is a South African park, but the species that dwell there come from all across the world, kind of like how Jozi itself is the multicultural immigrant city of the country. There are many different oaks, pines, cypresses and other big trees…there’s a rose garden, a flower garden, a herb garden, a succulent garden and a big fountain

The parks website says it is 81 hectares (that’s about 200 acres), making it only a fraction of an acre bigger than Kingston’s Hope Garden’s and Zoo. But think about the landscape of Hope Gardens populated with much more foliage and a dam. There’s a section of the park that’s mainly field and a little brook and here’s where you will see dog lovers and their dogs getting their exercise and socializing in. Today in the dog park I saw a cute little dog being pushed in a stroller. There are also always cyclists, joggers and babies/toddlers along the way.

The first time I went into the park I saw 2 storks. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen these baby-bringing birds in real life. There are also a whole bunch of geese who hang out close to the water that baby can spend forever staring at.

The park overlooks the Emmarentia Dam and every single day there are people ‘canoeing’ on the lake. Don’t let the water fool you though- you can’t swim in it. In fact, Johannesburg (and Birmingham) are special in the world, as the only major cities not built on a river. There used to be small “spruits” (springs) and “fonteins” (fountains) coming from the Limpopo and Orange rivers but the early colonial settlers manipulated all this to serve the water/drainage needs of the growing town. For me, from the land of wood and water- I’m full of wood but no natural water source that is available for people to go in. That 5 hour drive (or half hour plane ride if yuh ballin’) to South African east coast big city Durban will have to become a regular thing. When I get there it will be the first time I dip into the Indian Ocean.

My favorite thing at the moment about the park are the grand eucalyptus trees. I love them so much im gonna blog just about them soon. I love the pines too, they smell so good and there are so many different types, each with a subtle hint of uniqueness. There are trees from Mexico, America, Brazil,Australia, Japan… all over, along with native trees. The succulent garden had tons of aloe that I’ve never seen before, big and small, but I am yet to see an aloe that looks like those I know from Jamaica and NY.

One tree that I had experienced before I just now learned is called ‘Sweetgum’. I recognized the fruit- a woody, prickly little thing- from Prospect Park Botanic Gardens in Brooklyn, NY. My bush mama auntie (who also delivered my baby) does nature walks there and I remember her saying the quirky little fruit are said to bring good luck.

I can’t wait to see how beautiful all these trees must be during autumn (March to June..winter starts in June here.)


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