South African cities are joining more than 400 others around the world in the 2022 City Nature Challenge by inviting people to experience, enjoy and record the biodiversity, beauty and bounty of natural places in cities. The 2022 City Nature Challenge runs from 29 April through to 2 May this year and is being supported in South Africa by 11 national botanical gardens. This is an amazing opportunity to share your experience of your visit to a participating garden!
Says Nontsikelelo Mpulo, director of marketing, communication and commercialisation at the SA National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), “South Africa is one of the world’s top three most biodiverse countries. This immense biodiversity is there for all to enjoy in our beautiful national botanical gardens. SANBI is proud to be participating in the 2022 City Nature Challenge and is proud, too, of the critical role each of the national gardens plays in protecting and showcasing the astonishingly rich biodiversity of our country.”
This year the City Nature Challenge is emphasising the importance of human observation in natural spaces. “It’s all about getting up really close to the intricate details of the natural garden,” says Mpulo. “So often our eye is drawn to the large, sweeping and beautiful vista of a garden. But real wonder also lies in the intricacy of how petals are arranged in living flowers; of the many, many different shades of green on one tree; and of the activity of pollinators and other garden creatures.”
South Africans can join millions of people all over the world by posting their photos, videos and other material to the global City Nature Challenge platform, which is easily accessed by downloading the (free) City Nature Challenge app.
“We are enjoying fantastic, crisp autumn weather across the country,” says Mpulo. “The national botanical gardens are wonderful to visit all year round. However, this weekend offers a special window to celebrate the beauty of biodiversity in your city.”
Participating gardens include Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (Cape Town), the Hantam National Botanical Garden (near Nieuwoudtville), the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden (Roodepoort), the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden (Betty’s Bay), the Free State, KZN and Pretoria National Botanical Gardens, the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden (close to Worcester), the Lowveld National Botanical Garden (Mbombela), the Kwelera National Botanical Garden (East London) and the national botanical garden in Thohoyandou.