Thursday the 1st of June a number of changes will come into force at the Botanical Garden.
The tropical glasshouse will be open to the public for the first time in years. The tropical glasshouse was originally constructed in the 1920's. The height of the roof has been raised with recent renovations to provide enough space for the bigger tropical plants. Technology has also been cleverly used to ensure that the glasshouse's temperature is kept between 18 and 30 degree Celsius without consuming a large amount of energy. The glasshouse is also currently the only functioning public tropical glasshouse in South Africa. A variety of tropical plants can be found in the glasshouse including jade vine, titan arum, (the biggest flower in the world), vanilla, cacao, cola nut, black pepper, bread fruit, curcuma, henna, panama hat palm, Darwin's orchid to name but a few.
From the 1st of June an entrance fee of R10 will be charged. A portion of this fee (R5) will be refunded for any purchase at the shop or restaurant.
"With rising pressure on various tertiary institutions it has become a necessity to become more self-sustainable and ensure that the Botanical Garden also flourishes into the next century. With the Garden being located so close to the bustling town centre there has also been a growing need to ensure that the Garden stays a peaceful and safe community hub and for this reason it was also decided to start charging a nominal entrance fee in 2017," says Martin Smit, Curator of the Botanical Garden.
Members of the Friends of the Botanical Garden, enrolled SU students and staff with active SU cards will be able to gain free entry. Groups that make prior arrangements, such as school groups, will still be allowed to enter the Botanical Garden free of charge.
Members of the public can become a Friend. Membership cards will be sold in the Botanical Garden's shop. Members will get a set number of visits per year (365) and will be able to let accompanying persons enter for free under their membership. Non-members will need to pay an entrance fee, part of which will be reimbursed for any purchases at the shop or restaurant. Groups that make prior arrangement, such as school groups will still be able to visit for free. Friends will also receive invitations to special events and talks.