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Ewanrigg Botanical Garden
National Monument No.:
- The Gardens are internationally known for the wide range of both indigenous and exotic aloes and cycads and succulent plants, one of the largest collections in the world.
- The overall setting is extremely attractive with the collections planted in a natural style amongst small granite kopjes where these plants flourish amidst a habitat of indigenous Miombo and brachstagia woodlands.
- Easy Access from Harare on good tar road.
How to get here:
Take the (A2) Enterprise Road, passing through Newlands and Chisipite and continuing until the tollgates. Distances are from the tollgates. 0.2 KM turn left on the (A13) Shamva Road; 15.4 KM pass Ewanrigg turnoff on the right. The Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens are 2.4 KM down the Harold Christian road, after crossing a small ford, turn right at the signpost.
The national road (A13) is in excellent condition, the dirt road is good and passable in all conditions; there is a small ford to be crossed just short of the entrance.
GPS reference: 17⁰41′38.06″E 31⁰20′02.86″E
Harold Christian, a farmer, started the aloe collection in his garden and they were such a success that he added cycads and many species of small succulent plants. He named his farm after his brother Ewan, who was killed in World War I. (Rigg is the Welsh word for a ridge) His initial garden covered about 1.6 hectares which in 1950, shortly before his death, he donated to the State. This area has been considerably expanded over the years so that now the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority have 100 hectares under cultivation.
The best time for aloe viewing is in the winter from April to July when they are in bloom. At this time, they attract large numbers of long-billed sunbirds attracted by the nectar and visits by bird watchers will be well rewarded. Short-billed birds have also learnt to perch on the stem of the aloe spike and puncture the base of each flower to capture the nectar. A wide variety of birds are attracted, including water birds to the dam in the north of the garden.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority operate the site. Some reasons for visiting the site include:
- A picnic site popular with families with braai stands, water points and toilet facilities
- An open ground where visitors can play ball games
- Photography of plants and birds
- Walks – guided and unguided
- Bird watching
- Enjoying the botanical gardens set in an attractive piece of countryside
In mid-April, the café on site was permanently closed, probably due to a lack of visitors, although the braai area was well used with at least a dozen cars. The gardens looked well maintained, paths and walkways had been cut back and the staff at the entrance was very welcoming. Despite the state of the economy and the lack of funding for Parks and Wildlife, Ewanrigg Botanic Garden does not feel neglected and is very much a resource which Harare residents should be encouraged to use. Perhaps Harold Christian made a wise choice in low-maintenance gardening all those years ago.
When to visit:
All year around Monday to Sunday 6am to 6pm
An entrance fee is chargeable