Once you’ve admired the falls from the viewing platforms, or wandered the aerial boardwalk through the rainforest section, it’s the cycads you should seek. The garden is home to an impressive collection of these ancient trees, and plays a pivotal role in cycad conservation, establishing the country’s first cycad gene bank. Also look out for the wonderful floral displays from large clivia beds, Lowveld chestnuts and the well-known Sausage tree. Bring a picnic, or book a table at the on-site Tindlovu Restaurant.
3. Old Nectar, Stellenbosch
Shadowed by the craggy peaks of the Jonkershoek Mountains, Old Nectar is the passion project of acclaimed gardener and author Una van der Spuy, and an oasis in the Stellenbosch winelands. The garden dates back to 1941 — much of the original landscaping was done by Italian prisoners of war — and over the past eight decades has evolved into a serene escape filled with ancient trees, formal layouts and wilder corners.
Wander along the 200m pergola garden, shaded by roses and climbers, towards the terraced lawns where formal borders lead away from the original Cape Dutch manor house. Off to one side the bench garden offers a quiet space to relax and reflect, while on the millstone terrace an original millstone from the old watermill in Stellenbosch forms a welcome picnic table, shaded by oak and maple trees.
4. Hantam National Botanical Garden
In the springtime you never have to travel far in the Northern Cape to find dramatic floral displays, and around the town of Nieuwoudtville you’ll be hard-pressed to find a field not covered in blooms.