These botanical gardens were the first botanical gardens to be established by the British in 1853. Bots, as is it called by the locals, has a variety of habitats from tropical near the stream, forest on the lower part of the slope which reaches the 1820 Settler National Monument, drier grassveld with aloes higher up the slope and a grove of Erythrinas on the west side.
To find Bots from Somerset Street, turn up between the Albany Natural History Museum and the Cultural History museum and park opposite the entrance way, which is on your left, or find parking just a short way further up in the larger parking lot.
The gardens are home to a large variety of birds. The lower part with stream and bridge has a tropical feel. African Green pigeons, Spectacled weavers, Brown-hooded kingfishers, Swee waxbills and Chorister robin-chats have been seen there.
Further up the stream in the rushes you can see Little Rush warbler, Thick-billed weavers, Tawny-flanked prinias and Cape weavers build their grass nests overlooking the stream in Spring.
In the thicker forest parts on the lower slopes you can encounter African Paradise flycatchers (in summer months), Black-backed puffbacks, Dusky flycatchers, Greater and Southern Double-collared sunbirds, Amethyst sunbirds, Knysna turacos, Black-bellied starlings, Red-fronted tinkerbirds, Olive and Knysna woodpeckers, Terrestrial brownbuls, Cape batises and in summer the Klaas’s and Diederick’s cuckoos.
Higher up the slopes where it is drier the many species of sunbirds enjoy the aloes in midwinter. The beautiful Malachite sunbirds are more common in winter months when the aloes are in flower.
The grove of Erythrinas are a hive of activity when they come into flower in early Spring. A variety of sunbirds can be seen enjoying the nectar: Greater and Southern Double-collared, Amethyst and Grey sunbirds. Little collared sunbirds can be seen nearby on the Tecoma flowers. Other birds seen around this part are Black-headed Orioles and Red-winged starlings.
Higher up around the 1820 Settlers National monument you may see Cape sugarbirds on the King proteas in June/July.
Long-crested Eagle, African Goshawk, Gabar goshawk, African Harrier Hawk , Black Sparrowhawk, Red-breasted sparrowhawk and Little Sparrowhawk.
Rare birds seen:
Violet-backed starlings, Narina trogons, Barratt’s warbler and Bush Black-cap.