The Durban Botanic Gardens is set on a journey of rehabilitation and restoration to boost revenue and traction. The garden faced an enormous backlog of work due to the Covid-19 national lockdown.
Upon returning to work, the team got busy with a number of projects to restore the gardens. The rehabilitation was funded by the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust, which is an independent and discretionary trust, established in 1993 to support the Durban Botanic Gardens with maintenance and development. They assisted the facility to receive funding and provided assistance to remove the invasive water lettuce.
Botanic Gardens Curator, Martin Clement said with the lake being the main attraction at the gardens, it was important that the water lettuce was removed. “These are water bodies that appear as small plants around the edges of the lake. It grows until it covers the whole lake. As it is Spring now, the warm weather makes it more favourable causing a spiral in growth,” said Clement.
With that project complete, Clement and the team tackled another development, which entails the upgrading of the Orchid House. “Our Orchid specialist has also returned to work, ensuring that the plants get revitalised. We are using the time to change the look of the Orchid House and we hope that visitors will appreciate the work done,” he said. He said they will be installing a large garden selfie frame for visitors to take pictures and post to their social media accounts.
With the Covid-19 pandemic still ongoing, the Botanic Gardens have safety rules in place for both staff and visitors;
- The garden is currently running a staff capacity of 50 percent with two rotational teams,
- The John Zikhali Road entrance is the only entrance currently in use. This helps regulate the number of people entering with the number not exceeding 500,
- There are sanitising stations available and everyone is required to wear a mask,
- With regards to events, large crowds are not permitted. The conference centres are still closed; however, family picnics are allowed and,
- Benches are available for seating as many are legacy benches and cannot be removed. However, tables have been removed to minimise visitors touching surfaces.