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Safari Garden Centre review, The Willows (Pretoria East)

Credit: Luschka van Onselen
Thank you again to Luschka van Onselen for this, her latest contribution to Plebs with Kids - keep 'em coming!

I'm not sure if it's all over South Africa, or just in Pretoria, but Garden Centres are glorified playgrounds that sell a few garden essentials on the side. 
Honestly, I've seen garden centres all over the world, and none of them hold a candle to the ones here, and in the garden centre league, Safari is my personal first place title holder.

Location and Setting

On Lynwood Road, Pretoria, Safari Garden Centre lies on the T-Junction of Lynnwood and Rubida Street, The Willows (Pretoria East) and it is pretty impossible to miss.

From the road it looks like your average garden centre. 
Parking is plentiful, free, and there's a car guard on duty.

You can find directions here.

For the kids....

Credit: Luschka van Onselen
Walk through the garden centre and you're faced with a world you didn't know was there from the road. Passing by all the plant centre things, you find a wonderland for children.
There are pony rides and a train ride on weekends and public holidays.
There's a jumping castle, and a walk in aviary / animal farm, which houses bot belly pigs, chickens, rabbits, a few goats and more varieties of farm birds.
There are also marmoset monkeys, dwarf mountain goats and rabbits.

In the centre of all this is a playground with slides and climb frames. Really, its a child's paradise.
There are also many water features, water falls, fish and a rickety looking bridge over the water, something my daughter was fascinated by.

There are ride-on machines and a large elephant for looking at, and there's plenty of opportunity for walking around, exploring and playing imaginative games.

For the adults...

There are different 'plant' sections – rose, cacti, herbs, herbaceous and indoor are only a few- and a water feature area with everything from little fountains to a roaring waterfall. 
There are also plenty of opportunities to walk around daydreaming about your ideal garden.

The key to any good child's place for me, is a decent cup of coffee, and the restaurant here serves that, no doubt. There's a full restaurant, a bar, a chapel and various function rooms.  
Outdoors there's a function area with a huge bonfire. The restaurant also stretches all the way to the play area, so you can keep an eye on the children while enjoying lunch or a drink.

Anything else?

Although the Safari Garden Centre is open till 17.30, the aviary is locked around 16.30, and the restaurant stops serving around the same time.

There is no entrance fee for any part of Safari, and only the rides and ride-on toys will cost you any money – and of course anything you purchase from the restaurant.

Final thoughts

The Safari Garden Centre is a free, fun-filled afternoon. There is so much to see that it caters for all ages, and it's hard to believe that beyond the King Kong - like walls, there's a whole bustling city.  
It's one of my favourite places in Pretoria, and I strongly recommend it for a visit.

Contact information

012 807-0009

0866 800 772

Physical Address:
C/o Lynnwood Road and Rubida Street
The Willows
Pretoria East

Business Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 08:00 - 17:30
Sunday and Public Holidays: 09:00 - 17:30



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About Plebs with Kids

Plebs with Kids visits mainly JHB-based venues, coffee shops, restaurants, play areas and other such establishments.

We rate their kid-friendliness (among other things :) for your convenience, and for the next time you need a place to go, while knowing that your little ones are well catered for.

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