Botany: Botanical Garden

Welcome to the North-West University's Botanical Garden

The NWU Botanical Garden is managed by the School of Biological Sciences of the North-West University and is a member of BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International). The Botanical Garden fulfils many important functions within the School for Biological Sciences and the local communities. Key activities of the NWU Botanical Garden include:

• Provision of practical material for the training of students
• Conservation of rare and endangered plants
• Research and research support

• Education in the local communities about relevant environmental issues


The NWU Botanical Garden and campus will be closed for the public as long as level 1 lockdown regulations are in place.

Chris van Niekerk
Curator NWU Botanical Garden


The main gate of the Botanical Garden in Calderbank Avenue will be closed on a permanent basis from January 2020. The garden can now be accessed through the small gate on campus, east of Dampad dining hall (Please see map below).


  • Enter campus (with your driver's license or identification document) at Gate 1 (corner of Gerrit Dekker and Steve Biko Avenues)
  • Proceed to the parking area as indicated on map 
  • Enter the garden at the small gate on the eastern side of Dampad dining hall (NWU students and staff members can use their student/staff cards to open the gate)




Franci Greyling from the Subject Group Creative Writing, School of Languages at the North West University recently published a research paper titled "'Ek loop hier in 'n labirint'-Digitale kinderverse in 'n botaniese tuin: performatiwiteit en rasionaliteit" in Stilet. The NWU Botanical Garden features throughout the article. Franci added that the Botanical Garden played a pivotal role in the research for the article. Please see abstract below. Contact Franci at for a complete version of the article.

Abstract from 'Ek loop hier in die labirint'-Digitale kinderverse in 'n botaniese tuin: performatiwiteit en rasionaliteit:

Site-specific digital literature (mobile literature, locative literature) offers a distinctive reading experience that cannot necessarily be understood by existing reading frameworks. In this article performativity is suggested as a possible framework to account for the interwoven interaction characterising site-specific digital literature installations. Working from a material semiotic perspective, four modes of performativity (spatial, embedded, textual and embodied performativity) are investigated and applied to the children’s poems in the Byderhand site-specific digital literature installation in the NWU Botanical Gardens. The article argues for a view of site-specific digital literature as multifaceted, relational, dynamic and performative in nature and that the participant thus plays an integral role in the performance and realisation of the work.


Short History

The origin of the NWU Botanical Garden dates back to 1962 when Dr. W.J. Louw, a Botany lecturer, developed the garden to supply plant material for Botany practicals. With the arrival of Dr. D.J. Botha, a Botany lecturer in Taxonomy, in 1971 the impetus came to develop a botanical garden. During the 1970's the Botanical Garden flourished under the supervision of Mr. B. Ubbink, the first curator. On 24 November 1982 the Botanical Garden was officially opened to the public by Dr. W.J. Louw. The Botanical Garden is currently enjoying a big resurgence and is definitely worth visiting.

Garden and Climate

The Botanical Garden is situated adjacent to the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University. It covers an area of almost 3 hectares. Most of the plants in the Botanical Garden are indigenous with the exception of a few exotic plants which are of botanical, medicinal or educational importance. A section of the garden, around a man-made rocky-ridge, is managed as a natural field garden while the rest of the garden is more intensively managed. A variety of mammals, birds, amphibians and fish made the garden their home in recent years providing a whole new dimension to the Botanical Garden.

Potchefstroom is located in a lower lying area along the Mooi River, in the Highveld region of South Africa. The region is characterised by cold dry winters with frequent frost and hot summers with regular thundershowers. The average rainfall is 767 millimetres a year. As a result of cold air settling in this lower lying area temperatures as low as minus 10 °C have been recorded in the Botanical Garden during winter. This extreme climate has a great influence on the variety of plant species that can be successfully grown in the garden.

Visiting hours

Mondays to Fridays: 07:30-16:00
Entrance is free (No groups without prior arrangement)

No photo shoots will be allowed in the garden!

Links to other botanical gardens:



Other links

Links related to other sites: Links to school gardens:
•  Dendrologiese Vereniging -SA
•  Plants for the Planet
•  Gardens for Life
•  Garden Africa
•  Seed