‘Good for the body. Very good for the soul’

The 11 national botanical gardens across South Africa are inviting people to come and experience the restorative, healing power of nature this summer.

A series of special, summer-celebrating events are being delivered in each of the gardens, from Thohoyandou in the north across the country to Kirstenbosch in the south.

This December the focus is on unwinding and enjoying the healing and stress-busting power of nature. “A morning, afternoon or even a whole day spent walking barefoot on the lawn and picnicking in the coolness of an indigenous tree canopy is the perfect antidote to a year that’s been filled with stress, tension and pressure,” says Nontsikelelo Mpulo, Director: Marketing, Communication and Commercialisation at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, which manages South Africa’s national botanical gardens and is the proud custodian of the biodiversity that graces each of the gardens.

Among the activities offered this festive season are carols by candlelight; family fun days; music concerts; market days; indigenous plant sales; starlight runs through the gardens; nature talks and walks; and art exhibitions.

These various activities are offered on top of the attractions that draw folk to the national botanical gardens all year long: hiking; bird watching; outdoor gyming; yoga in the fresh air; admiring gorgeous sunrises and sunsets; spending valuable time with loved ones; being there as toddlers take their first steps on green, green grass; ice-cream eating; long, lazy, hand-holding walks; and watching kiddies splash about in fountains and streams as they hunt for tadpoles and other slippery creatures.

“These are things that are all good for the body. They’re also very good for the soul,” says Nontsikelelo.

The National Zoological Garden (affectionately called the “Pretoria Zoo”) is getting in on the action, too, and inviting people to come and get better acquainted with some of our most intriguing, charming and charismatic creatures. This December the zoo is offering talks on vultures, elephants and giraffes in a series of family fun days that are guaranteed to delight all.

The full schedule of national botanical garden (and zoo) activities is listed on the SANBI website: www.sanbi.org. The schedule may also be found on all of SANBI’s social media pages, and on the social media platforms of the different gardens. Go look for #ChooseYourVibe #NatureIsHealing #NatureIsFun #HolidayEvents to find out what’s happening at a national botanical garden near you this month.

The full schedule (that may be subject to change) is:

KZN NBG 15 December 2023 – Simphiwe Shembe comedy picnic
1 January 2024 First of 1st (brand new day) – picnic concert
Walter Sisulu NBG


15-24 December 2023 – Christmas town celebrations (games and markets)
Harold Porter NBG




15-17 December 2023 – plant sale
16 December 2023 – Beer Festival
16-22 December 2023 – A Moment in Time art exhibition
22 December 2023 – Carols by Candlelight
30 December 2023 – night run and picnic under the stars
Karoo NBG 9 December 2023 – Uncle Bob’s Christmas party
National Zoological Garden in Pretoria


9-10 December – Vulture talk, elephant talk and zoo adventure, 09h00-15h00
15-17 December – vulture talk, elephant talk and zoo adventure, 09h00-15h00
Pretoria NBG 16 December 2023 – Homecoming concert

20 – 23 December 2023 – Christmas Market

22 December 2023 – Movie Night

6 January 2024 – New Year’s gospel festival

Scroll to top