Top 10 Gardens in Africa Inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show

By Shona 21 May 2019

This week, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show kicks off, and it features a Facebook garden, displays you can get lost in, and a royal woodland wilderness complete with a treehouse. So with our mind in the flowerbed all week, we thought we’d highlight a few Southern Hemisphere equivalents, from gloriously located working farms in South Africa to cactus- and boulder-strewn outcrops in Namibia:

1. Babylonstoren Hotel, South Africa

Babylonstoren is not only a luxury boutique hotel featuring a sublime restaurant and fabulous places for sitting in the sun drinking a glass of chilled wine… it’s also an historic Cape Dutch working farm with magnificent gardens and clivia-fringed pathways! The 3.5 hectares of gardens are divided into 15 sections that include fruits, vegetables, berries, bees for pollinating, indigenous plants, fragrant lawns, and a prickly pear maze – all frequently visited by ducks, chickens, and the hard-working gardeners.

2. Gibb’s Farm, Tanzania

Gibb’s is another working farm, but this time of German origin and located in northern Tanzania. Sitting on over 30 hectares of gardens and farmland, the area is almost entirely dedicated to organic Arabica beans, perfuming the property in a constant aroma of coffee. As well as joining in with the daily tasks of the farm, guests can explore the coffee plantation and walk along the peaceful terraced flower gardens shaded by ancient trees – an utterly ideal break between exploring the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.

3. Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, South Africa

Just check out Cellars-Hohenort Hotel’s Instagram account, and you’ll see a stream of garden-focused pictures. A short drive from one of the world’s most acclaimed botanical gardens, Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch, Cellars-Hohenort is a destination in itself for any green-thumbed horticulturist thanks to its award-winning setting featuring a delightful rose and herb garden, perfectly symmetrical vegetable and citrus tree patches, and Hohenort lawns.

4. Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Uganda

The gardens at Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge are extremely lush and verdant. However, this property makes our list of top gardens because of the fact that even the gorillas visit its well-manicured lawns! One of the first lodges to open for gorilla trekking in Uganda, Bwindi Lodge has evolved from providing a simple stay to guaranteeing a luxurious and unforgettable adventure. It’s topped with jutting terraces that are brilliant for birdwatching across the property and into the forest canopy beyond.

5. Grootbos Garden Lodge, South Africa

A secret garden turned private nature reserve, the Grootbos area is home to an incredible 765 species of fynbos, many of which are endangered or unique. As a major part of the Chelsea Flower Show is plant conservation and biodiversity, any of the Grootbos properties deserves to be on our list. Garden Lodge is a particularly great choice for a visit as it offers flower safaris in a 4 by 4 as well as the option to wander through organic gardens and meet some of the horticultural students who study here.

6. Gorges Lodge, Zimbabwe

Gorges is a perfect haven for rest and relaxation after a day’s experiencing all the thrills of the Falls – bungee jumping, white water rafting, helicopter flying… and much more besides. Based 10 kilometres downstream from ‘The Smoke that Thunders’, guests can enjoy breathtaking views of Batoka Gorge from the comfort of the lodge balconies, hemmed by the beautiful landscaped gardens.

7. Delaire Graff, South Africa

Located between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, Delaire Graff has one of the finest settings in the Cape Winelands. At its inception, the founders of Delaire set out with the intention of making the estate South Africa’s most desirable art, hospitality, and wine destination. Since then it has achieved this and more, and is famous today for its working vineyard, its unparalleled lodge accommodation, and its lush gardens peppered with original artworks from the personal collection of Laurence Graff, who is frequently named one of the world’s top art collectors. A visit here won’t pigeonhole your choices, as you can weave between being a satisfied gourmand, a contented art-aficionado, a spirited sommelier, and an inspired landscaper all during one stay.

8. The Oberoi, Mauritius

One of the most romantic hotels on the island, The Oberoi Mauritius is suited to honeymooners and couples looking for a post-safari jaunt on the beach. What makes this a superb option is its enviable location in Turtle Bay Marine Park, its mountain and ocean views, and a network of pathways that snakes through over 8 hectares of subtropical gardens.

9. Sorris Sorris, Namibia

Sorris Sorris certainly doesn’t have a typical garden, but we are going to make like James May and go off piste for number 9! (James May made a garden for the CFS without any living plants – just plasticine.) The outcrops that make up Sorris Sorris are populated by red granite boulders. Instead of walking through fragrant flowerbeds, here we recommend clambering up one of the large rocks just in time to watch the sun set across Damaraland – a fantastic lightshow of ochre, sienna, and every kind of red. Who needs flowers when you have sand and colourful rocks?

10. Sirikoi, Kenya

Sirikoi’s owners, Willie and Sue, have poured their heart and soul into this property. While Willie focused on the architecture of the lodge, Sue’s passion for botany had her busy in the gorgeous grounds and organic vegetable gardens, resulting in one of the most exceptional lodge gardens in East Africa. The one-acre organic garden supplies daily produce for guests, including fresh vegetables and fruits from the avocado tree grove, an impressive variety of banana trees and berries, and over 80 types of herb. Visiting Sirikoi and taking a tour of the garden with head groundsman George Kabere is an absolute highlight – just ask our expert James!

If you’d like more information on garden-focused properties in Africa, feel free to call us on 020 8547 2305 or send us an email at [email protected]