Harold Porter NBG: Visitor Information
Please obey our Garden Regulations - they are there for your own safety and for that of all the living organisms and natural features in the Garden.
- Parking and use of the Garden and all its facilities are at your own risk.
- The Garden is home to many wild creatures and dogs may disturb them, so no dogs are allowed, even on leads. The exception is service dogs.
- All litter should be taken away with you to assist with managing baboons in the area.
- Feeding any animal, especially baboons, is strictly prohibited.
- All wild animals, including the snakes, are protected. They can however be dangerous and should not be disturbed.
- Do not damage, pick or take any plant material from the Garden, including seeds.
- Feel free to walk on the lawns but please do not enter the flowerbeds or any of the ponds and streams.
- Please supervise children at all times and make sure they also keep to our regulations.
- Please check Garden times which change with the seasons and make sure you leave on time as the gates are locked after hours.
- No swimming or paddling is allowed.
Best Time to Visit
- Spring is a good time to view the most flowers in the Garden.
- To see the disas growing in their natural habitat in Disa Kloof or Leopard's Kloof you need to come to the Garden from the end of December to the end of January for the best chance to see these lovely orchids. Bring your binoculars as they grow high up on the cliff faces.
- If you plan to visit Leopard's Kloof it is best to come early as the keys are only available from 8 am to 1 pm. The number of visitors in the kloof is restricted to maintain the peaceful atmosphere and to prevent damage to the sensitive ecosystem. Keys are given out on a first come first served basis and may not be reserved ahead of time. There is a R50 deposit for the key which will be returned only if the keys are returned on time. Forfeited deposits are used for the upkeep of the trails.
- Summer is an especially good time to visit the Garden if you are a keen birder or interested in insects. Early morning and late afternoon are best on a hot day, but it is generally cool in Disa Kloof under the tree canopy next to the river at midday.
- Combine a whale and/or penguin watching expedition along the coast with a visit to the Garden for a lovely day trip in winter.
Visitors requiring wheelchairs
Two wheelchairs are available at the Entrance Gate for use in the Garden, free of charge. Please ask the staff should you need to use them. We cannot, however, help to push them. All the facilities in the Garden are accessible to standard size wheelchairs with the exception of the Disa Kloof toilets. A wheelchair-friendly toilet is situated between the restaurant and the conference centre.
The main circular route and the Ecosystems Walk in the Garden are of exposed aggregate concrete and can be easily negotiated by wheelchair users. The lovely path up to the waterfall at Disa Kloof is also accessible to visitors in wheelchairs.
Safety Tips for Trails
- Never hike alone. It is best to have at least four people in your party in case of accidents. One person can stay with the injured person and two can go and get help.
- Please make sure that a family member or friend knows exactly where you intend going and what time you expect to be back. Stick to the plans you have made.
- Wear or carry suitable clothing, including a hat and sturdy shoes for our hiking trails, including the Zigzag, Fynbos and Leopard's Kloof Trails. The cultivated Garden area and Disa Kloof can be negotiated in ordinary footwear (high heels not recommended).
- For our longer trails take water and sunscreen with you and make sure to take at least a jacket as the weather can be changeable, and we sometimes have four seasons in one day. A fully charged mobile phone is a good idea but please note that certain areas don't have any, or very poor, reception. Our emergency number 076 779 1932 is listed on the Entrance board. Make a note of it before you go on any of these walks.
- Stay on the clearly demarcated paths.
- Should you encounter baboons on any of the walks or in the Garden, do not try to get close to them. Make sure any food you may have with you is out of sight and under no circumstances feed any animal. Do not stare or smile at a baboon as this is considered as aggressive behaviour by them.
- Look where you are walking as snakes may be encountered in the Garden or on the trails, especially in summer.
- Keep an eye on the weather. Clouds can move in very quickly on the mountain obscuring your view. If the weather starts to look inclement make your way back immediately. If you should find that you can't see where you are going, stay put until circumstances change for the better or someone comes to find you.