The great out­doors

Kerry Phillips, trust man­ager of Dur­ban Botanic Gar­dens

Getaway (South Africa) - - ESCAPE NEIGHBOURHOOD -

‘This is the old­est sur­viv­ing botan­i­cal gar­den in Africa. It was es­tab­lished in 1849, when the set­tle­ment of D’Ur­ban had lit­tle more than three or four sandy tracks, a few thatched cot­tages and huts, and a dou­ble-storey house on the cor­ner of An­ton Lem­bede and Dorothy Nyembe streets. At first, it was on the south bank of the Um­geni River but had to be shifted from this hippo- and croc-in­fested site to the lower slopes of the Berea For­est in 1851. There it lan­guished in splen­did iso­la­tion, still vis­ited by lions, cut off from the grow­ing town by the fa­mous East­ern Vlei, an ex­ten­sive wet­land which ran from the Um­geni right up to near present-day War­wick Av­enue. To­day this 15-hectare gar­den has both indige­nous and ex­otic sub­trop­i­cal plant col­lec­tions, with a good num­ber of ma­jes­tic trees. I en­joy con­nect­ing with na­ture here; I call it “green ther­apy”.’ Free en­try. dur­ban­b­otan­ic­gar­

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