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These gardens are situated on the northern outskirts of Bloemfontein, and consist of a mix of planted and indigenous habitats. Habitats include the gardens, two small dams with associated reedbeds, and a few small koppies (hills) dominated by indigenous Karee and Wild Olive trees. The total bird list is currently 133 species, with at least the half of this number possible in a few hours, especially in summer.

A circular trail meanders through the cultivated areas and up to the plateau of the koppies which overlooks the gardens. The cultivated gardens provide good habitat for White-backed Mousebird, African Red-eyed Bulbul, Karoo Thrush, Cape Robin-Chat. During spring (August-September) and autumn (April-May) the cultivated Leonotis leonurus (Wild Dagga) in the gardens and Aloe grandidentata in the hills are in bloom and attract both Malachite Sunbird, White-bellied Sunbird, and rarely in winter, Dusky Sunbird. A small group of Green Wood-Hoopoes, which have become resident in the gardens, prefer areas with larger trees.

On the koppies Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler, Layard’s Titbabblers (winter), Grey-backed Cisticola, Cape Bunting, Yellow Canary, Pririt Batis, Ashy Tit, Yellowbellied Eremomela and Fairy Flycatcher (mostly in winter) occur.

The dams support Squacco Heron, Green-backed Heron, Glossy Ibis, White-faced Duck and Yellow-billed Duck, while Cape Wagtail and Greater Striped Swallow have bred in the hide overlooking the larger dam. African Black Duck have been observed along the riverine sections, while Purple Heron, White-backed Duck and Baillon’s Crake have also been recorded here.

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General

Access is via Rayton road, and a visit of one to three hours can be worthwhile. An entrance fee is payable on entering the gardens (Botanical Society members enter free of charge).

The garden is open throughout the year from 08:00 – 18:00.

Contact the gardens for further information on Tel: + 27 51 436 3530, Fax: +27 51 436 4101 or email: . A map of the gardens can be viewed on SANBI Website.

Dawie de Swardt, Johan Kok, Rick Nuttall 2007.



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