Lowveld National Botanical Garden

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Information provided by Hans Bornman from his unpublished book, Lowveld Tour Guide:

Botanical Gardens Lowveld

Regional botanical garden, 4 km north of Nelspruit, one of eight regional gardens in South Africa of the National Botanical Institute, with head office in Cape Town. The botanical garden was officially opened in September 1971 and is being developed on a 160 hectare site. The garden is being developed with a taxonomic (plant families) plan as the basis but with variations such as an ecological forest area and a dry garden. To date, in addition to the 700 species which occur here naturally, a further 1 500 species have been introduced into the garden. This comprises a total of over 10 000 plants introduced since work commenced in 1969. It is a popular tourist attraction and the interesting variety of plants enables Biology teachers from surrounding schools to illustrate their lessons with local flora. In addition to the garden there is a comprehensive Lowveld Herbarium. This is of great benefit to Botanists as well as to laymen and chemical companies.

The latest addition is an African rain forest. Trees from forests throughout Africa have been established along a section of the Crocodile River where plants from Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar and other countries are developing into a real rain forest. An added attraction is a swamp forest in the making. Care should be taken as hippos wander through it occasionally.


Nelspruit Cascades.

Cascades in the Lowveld Botanical Gardens, 4 km north of Nelspruit, in the Crocodile River. The farm, on which the town of Nelspruit was founded, was leased to Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of the book Jock of the Bushveld, in 1890 for £12 per annum. He wanted to call the farm ‘the cascades’, after the waterfall in the Crocodile River. He could, however, not afford the annual rental and let it lapse. During the festival year in 1980, when Nelspruit celebrated its 75th proclaimed anniversary, this waterfall was officially named NELSPRUIT CASCADES/ NELSPRUIT WATERVAL on 3 October l980 by Prof Brian Rycroft, then director of the National Botanical Gardens. The plaque was unveiled by Dr Cecily Mackie Niven, daughter of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick.