The character of the Garden is shaped by the two main rivers that cut across it, namely the Crocodile and Nels Rivers. Before these two rivers converge in the Garden, they form spectacular waterfalls which can be viewed at the Cascades and the Nels viewpoints. When the Crocodile River is low, interesting geological formations are visible. When in bloom the Clivias at the Garden's main entrance are a beautiful and welcoming sight. Walking through the enchanting African Rain Forest enables one to cross the Crocodile River across the famous suspended bridge, where the cascading waterfall can also be viewed. This South African Forest contains fascinating vegetation from the Coastal Belt as well as the Limpopo Province. The Garden plays a critical role in conservation of rare and endangered species and played a pivotal role in establishing the Cycad Gene Bank. The Garden also boasts one of the largest collections of South African fig trees. The mystical baobab tree is famous for its unique shape and medicinal properties.
The Garden was established in 1969, after the Nelspruit Municipality noted that it would be best suited to promoting tourism, education and the conservation of the diverse flora of the region. The Garden was officially opened by the Administrator of the Transvaal on 10 September 1971. A portion of the 165 ha. it occupies, was donated by the local municipality and the rest by the Board of HL Hall & Sons. Of the 165 ha, only 30 ha is cultivated or landscaped, while the remainder is natural or low maintenance areas. Various plant species have been introduced into the Garden. These include South African Coastal Species and a unique collection of plants which represent the rapidly disappearing tropical forests of Central and West Africa. In 2003 funds were secured from Tsogo Sun Casino and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism to construct the Visitors' Centre on the Western side of the Crocodile River.
The Visitors' Centre houses the restaurant, the Garden entrance gate and the conference/ multi-functional room. The suspended aerial pedestrian bridge, links the Visitors' Centre to the main garden, was also added in 2004.
The Biodiversity Education and Empowerment Centre was built in 20014 using funds from the Poverty Relief Fund through the Extended Public Works Programme. SAPPI and the Botanical Society of South Africa donated the Centre's furniture and the teaching aids respectively.
-25° 26' 42", 30° 57' 46.8"