SANBI has two main libraries, the Mary Gunn Library at the Pretoria National Botanical Garden and the Harry Molteno Library at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town. They rank amongst the biggest botanical libraries in the southern hemisphere and are a valuable resource for information on southern African flora and biodiversity. There are ten small regional satellite libraries.

The mission of SANBI libraries is to meet the information needs of all SANBI staff and to address a public demand for comprehensive, easily accessed information on the biodiversity of southern Africa.

Subjects covered include taxonomy, biodiversity, climate change, global warming, morphology, plant anatomy, plant geography, ethnobotany, conservation ecology, history of botany, palaeobotany and plant exploration.

Search the SANBI Libraries Catalogue provided by OpenOPAC.

Library hours

Mondays to Fridays from 08h30 -– 16h30

Visiting the Library

Members of the public, learners and students are welcome to use the Library for research purposes. Photocopying facilities are available. Please make an appointment if you wish to visit the Library.

How to contact us

Mary Gunn Library
Tel: +27 (0)12 843 5040/42

Harry Molteno Library
Tel: +27 (0)21 799 8712

Biodiversity Heritage Library Africa

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that works collaboratively to make biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community and to make that literature freely available for responsible use as part of a global biodiversity commons.

They work with the international taxonomic community, rights holders, and other interested parties to ensure that this biodiversity heritage is made available to a global audience through open access principles. In partnership with the Internet Archive and through local digitisation efforts, the global BHL has digitised millions of pages of taxonomic literature, representing tens of thousands of titles and over 100 000 volumes.

Since 2009, BHL has expanded to what is a worldwide co-operative network of autonomous members. In 2013 BHL Africa was officially launched. BHL Africa supports conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity. BHL Africa aims to partner with organisations and agencies in Africa and beyond with similar goals aimed at improving access to African biodiversity literature. BHL Africa will also partner with Internet Archive, which provides free storage (sustainability) and access to all BHL digitised materials. Key values for BHL Africa are open access, collaboration, interoperability and transparency.

If you need more information on becoming an African partner, please send an email to The Librarian.

Scroll to top