The Botanical Gardens had been founded in 1946. After the University of Pretoria granted approval to the Department of Agriculture for the development of a botanical garden on a piece of land. (This was previously part of the University’s Experimental Farm.) The main reason for the transfer of land from the University was that the land had been found to be unsuitable for agricultural experimental purposes, owing partly to its isolation and also to the presence of an abundance of poison leaf (Dichapetalum cymosum), a plant which is poisonous to livestock. There where however also private properties along the Northern part of the ridge. The Garden was then officially opened on 23 October 1958.
It now contains one of the most important and comprehensive collections of indigenous flora in the country. The Garden has been divided, into eleven sections which represent each of the major Provincial, vegetation belts of South Africa. It was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 3 August 1979.
The Pretoria National Botanical Garden, is home to the Head Office of SANBI (South African National Botanical Institute). This Pretoria Garden successfully bridges the divide between scientific research and the recreational environment!