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Pretoria National Botanical Garden gives easy access to a range of interesting birds in a safe and relaxed environment. Ideal for a family picnic the Botanical Gardens has a good restaurant and ablution facilities. Of particular interest to birders is the dense shady woodland and acacia thickets that are to be found on the rocky ridge that runs through the gardens. Thick-billed Weaver, Bar-throated Apalis, Fairy Flycatcher (winter), Brown-backed Honeybird, Red-throated Wryneck, Garden Warbler (summer) and Black-crowned Tchagra are special ticks here. Birders can expect to find around 50 species in 2-3 hours.

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Birding

The best way to access the ridge is to follow the Dassie Trail which winds its way along through superb birding habitat and offers a good range of species (especially if your visit is in the early morning). Look for Cape Robin-Chat, White-throated Robin-Chat, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Neddicky, Amethyst Sunbird, White-bellied Sunbird, Red-throated Wryneck, Fairy Flycatcher (winter), Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Acacia Pied Barbet, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Black-crowned Tchagra, Southern Boubou, Black-backed Puffback, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Bar-throated Apalis, Long-billed Crombec and Brown-backed Honeybird. The latter is best found in September and October when it performs aerial chases accompanied by high-pitched insect-like calls.

The denser and darker bush around the waterfall is home to African Paradise-Flycatcher, Karoo Thrush, Kurrichane Thrush, Red-eyed Dove and there has even been an escapee Violet Tauraco for a few days.

The lawns are home to African Wattled Lapwing, Crowned Lapwing, Blacksmith Lapwing and Spotted Thick-knee. Some small ponds are situated throughout the garden. The pond near the waterfall has very tame Common Moorhen and Thick-billed Weaver, and Bronze Mannikin are usually to be found here. Constantly check the skies above for various swifts and swallows including the occasional South African Cliff-Swallow. Raptors sometimes fly over the reserve and a few interesting species have been recorded in the past.

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General

The gardens are situated between between Cussonia and Pretoria Roads, and are mostly easily reached from the N1 / N4 interchange. Travel eastwards along the N4 and at the Val de Grace Interchange turn left (north-east) and then left again into Cussonia Ave. The entrance is situated on the right, and secure parking is available.

Opening Times and Costs:
The Garden is open 365 days a year from 08:00 to 18:00. No entry after 17:00. Ordinary entrance fees are R12 for adults and R6 for scholars and students (if a valid student card is shown). Senior citizens have free entry on Tuesdays. Botanical Society members have free entrance to the Garden if valid membership cards are shown.

Contact information:
Tel:+27 12 843 5194
Fax: +27 12 843 5104
Email:
SANBI Website

Faansie Peacock 2007



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