Too few tourist attractions can truly claim, to totally immerse the visitor in the total experience, because as is often the case with tourist attractions, they lack a comprehensive base from which experiences are gleaned. This is not the case with Lowveld National Botanical Gardens.
The picturesque garden has a braille trail, an impressive feature that looks to extend experiencing the garden to those who are blind or are poor of sight. It is an addition that looks to extend the experience of the garden to people who cannot experience it through their own eyes and marks the garden out as a definite must see.
The 20 storyboards are engaging and include information sure to engage the most curious of minds, both young and old. Written both in print and braille perfect sighted and those of differing sight ability or those totally blind can experience the garden side by side! This makes it a perfect place to be for siblings and family members of differing sight abilities, avoiding the separation that usually comes with having separate platforms for those of clear sight and those who are blind.
The braille feature was added in March 2013, from funding which was generously given by the local branches of the Lion’s Club in South Africa. The print and braille enabled trail focuses on displaying thousands of Africa’s plant life. The trail allows for a true display of its African floral heritage, showing the unique sensory feature of Africa’s plants – plants one can touch, smell and hear. This, ultimately is the visitors dream, a full immersion in the experience at the botanical gardens.
The South African National Botanical Institute’s (SANBI) came up with the idea of the trail and the trail marks the institute out as a truly visionary organisation, in having the thought leadership and vision to increase the country’s National Gardens accessibility, and promote the independence of those who are blind.
The garden’s trail is not the only worthwhile feature at the Garden. It boasts, beside the breathtaking natural views of natural foliage, and various unique flora, the thundering waterfall as the Crocodile River powerfully surges through and down the granite gorge.
A number of restaurants are available at the park as well, providing and olfactory experience to compliment the trail. Culinary establishments such as the Red Leaf Fig Tea Garden and Kuzuri’s among others.
Kids have access to jungle gyms, swings and sand pits while adults can sit at any of the restaurants and enjoy the views and ambience or sit in and have a picnic on the lush green grass.
There are various accommodation options in and around the Lowveld Botanical Gardens, ranging from luxurious suites, boutique hotels to self-catering guest houses in town and budget friendly hotels.
For more information contact the places below:
SANBI Lowveld can be contacted on 013 752 5531 or www.sanbi.org/gardens/lowveld
Red Leaf Fig Tree can be contacted on 084 345 0607 or www.redleaffig.co.za
Kuzuri can be contacted on 013 757 0907 or www.kuzuri.co.za