Pretoria NBG
Savannah and Grassland

This large area of the Garden represents three separate sections – the African savannah garden, the natural koppie and highveld grassland areas. The northern section of the garden, planted mostly with trees of the African savannah, is a wonderful area for birds, small animals and other shy creatures not often seen. Collections of acacias, albizias, and other trees from the warmer parts of the country are grown here. Fever trees (Acacia xanthophloea), so called because their greenish-yellow stems were associated with the dreaded malaria fever, can also be seen here – a rarity for Pretoria! Open areas between the plant groupings are left natural – with mown strips facilitating access for serious birders and tree-spotters.

The natural ridge (or koppie) dividing the Garden along it’s length, is traversed by a trail named after the numerous rock hyrax (or dassie). Starting at the waterfall near the Tea Garden, the Dassie Trail follows a series of paved pathways through the natural bankenveld vegetation along the spine of the koppie.

Some edible fruits (natural to the area) such as the wild apricot (Ancylobotrys capensis) and the unusual “stamvrug”(Englerophytum magaliesmontanum) provide interesting and tart in-season refreshment! Route markers, numbered viewpoints and numerous benches along the trail, make this hour-long walk a must for the keen nature-lover. Guidebooks are available at the entrance gate and at the bookshop, for a small fee.



The natural highveld grassland area on the southern side of the koppie is an interesting ecological display. Ungrazed by domestic animals for more than fifty years, it shows the vast diversity of plants that should be found under natural conditions in a typical highveld grassland environment. Here, the emphasis is not on the bold and beautiful, but rather on the small and stunning! Visitors are free to find their own way through this grassland, stopping to look at and study the diversity and beauty of smaller flowers and plant features. Although left largely untouched, it is cut or burned on an annual basis by rotation, in order to simulate natural conditions. The best time to discover the riches hidden in this grassland is in spring, after the first good rains, when the grass is still short and numerous plants advertise their presence.

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