Situated just outside the centre of Johannesburg is one the cities vital green lungs, the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. The land was set aside for the Gardens in 1969, making them one of the youngest gardens in the country.
There are two major attractions here, the Botanical Gardens and the Emmarentia Dam, which the gardens overlook. The gardens provide a beautiful green space and recreational area and has proved to be a very popular weekend picnicking site and one of the best places in the city to walk your dog or ride your bike. In 2004 it was voted the best passive recreation space in the city.
The 81 hectare botanical gardens contain an attractive mix of bunched indigenous and exotics surrounded by lawns and is home to over 30 000 trees! There are seven distinct gardens within it and most recently added was the Chapel Garden specifically for capturing those special moments. It now also has its own wedding venue. The Rose Garden is home to 4 500 varieties and adjacent to it is the Shakespeare Garden featuring herbs which the English playwright referred to in his works. The Herb Garden contains a surprising collection of traditional African medicinal herbs, culinary, medicinal and cosmetic herbs.
The north-east section of the gardens is dominated by the large Emmarentia Dam which is fed by two smaller dams within the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. The Dam spans 7.5 hectares, attracting a wide variety of bird life, offering a whole different atmosphere to the Gardens. While birdwatchers can see Geese, Dabchicks (little grebes), Moorhens and other waterfowl on the eastern embankment, there are also canoeing and rowing facilities for those interested in a little more energetic activity.
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