If there’s one thing that unites most Joburgers it’s that the people of this city love the beginning of summer: those early spring days when the promise of warmer weather is certain and when the sun rises a little earlier each morning, bringing longer days and more time to spend outdoors.

In Jozi, we love to #FeelTheSun.

The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden is celebrating the arrival of spring in special style this year. On 18 September the sun will rise at exactly 6am and will be welcomed in the garden with an incantation that will be performed by Makhosi Vulamasango of the Credo Mutwa Cultural Village. She is daughter of the late Credo Mutwa.

The garden will welcome Stellenbosch law professor Thuli Madonsela as a special guest at the #FeelTheSun ceremony.

“The sun,” says garden curator Xolelwa Mokoena “is the source of all life on Earth. We look forward to the long, lovely summer months. The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden opens every morning at 6am so that visitors can enjoy the full richness our garden offers including our breath-taking hiking trail and the beautiful, landscaped spaces.

“For a small fee of R70 per adult the garden offers a variety of activities for fitness enthusiasts including hiking and an outdoor gym while bird lovers can enjoy the abundant birdlife in the garden including our famous Verreaux Eagles.

“The garden is looking absolutely beautiful right now and it’s especially lovely at daybreak. This is worth celebrating and being thankful for. Our 6am sunrise ceremony will welcome summer, and all the joys that summer brings. Please come and feel the sun with us!”

In addition to the 6am ceremony to #FeelTheSun, there will be a sunrise yoga session (led by Aimee Barnes) and a contemplative hike through the garden (led by Lesego Mapeka of Epic Hikes Outdoor Movement).

Says Mokoena: “Getting out into the beauty of nature is not a mere nice-to-have for city folk: it’s essential for physical and mental health. The city comes at us 24/7 with its demands, stresses, noise and interruptions. Escaping into the tranquillity of a national botanical garden allows one to find one’s centre again – to breathe deep, relax, recharge and reconnect with what really matters.”

On Sunday 18 September gates will open at 5.30 am. The ceremony will commence at 6am sharp as the sun rises. The yoga session and contemplative hike will start once Mme Vulamasango concludes her incantation to the sunrise.

Find the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Malcolm Road, Poortview, Roodepoort.

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