Trail of Lights shines in Durban

Sanchia Veeran enjoying the festive feeling of exploring the Trail of Lights in the Botanical Gardens. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

Sanchia Veeran enjoying the festive feeling of exploring the Trail of Lights in the Botanical Gardens. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 3, 2022


Durban - ’Tis the season to be jolly and the Durban Botanic Gardens is showing us how with its much-anticipated sparkling Trail of Lights.

At sunset last night, one million LED lights in a dazzling array of colours were switched on, bathing the gardens in a magical glow and setting the scene for a joyful festive season.

From now until January 2, apart from Christmas Day, the gardens will be filled with good food, friends, family and an array of locally produced goods that will be on sale.

Organiser Alene Naidoo said the Trail of Lights was a family-friendly activity and one of the biggest festive events in the country. There are even special nights where your dogs will be able to join in the fun.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, between 3 000 and 4 000 people flocked to the gardens each night, and they anticipate that with all restrictions lifted, they will see a huge influx of visitors again. “People book their tickets even before they come on holiday to Durban,” she said.

Naidoo said planning for the event started six months ago and over the past few days their crews had been working around the clock – in some cases the lighting crew until 3am – to ensure that everything went according to plan.

And they are prepared for everything, including load shedding.

Behind the scenes, at least 200 people will work hard to make sure visitors have an unforgettable experience. Since last night, festival-goers and their furry friends have been gasping with joy after seeing the beautiful lights on display.

Expect to hear sounds of “wow, wow, wow” accompanied by awestruck adults and children gleefully running around in wide-eyed wonder.

Two food gardens, with dozens of stalls, vendors with unique handmade gifts for those searching for last-minute presents, and live entertainment will be available every night.

Santa Claus has made a special trip to Durban and those wanting to take photos with him and his elves can enter his grotto to do so.

Many others, like Sanchia Veeran, who posed for the “Independent on Saturday”, will be there to capture all the smile-inducing sights, sounds and smells associated with the Christmas holiday period.

Naidoo said Santa’s charity-driven workshop and the Grinch will also be there and that the Trail of Lights was an important event of their fund-raising calendar.

“A large percentage of the earnings go to the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust to maintain the gardens, because the money received to look after the gardens has been dwindling,” she said.

Apart from giving people access to a place of refuge in the city and a green zone, this year sustainability is at the heart of the event: all waste will be sorted and recycled while food waste will go into bokashi bins for composting, said Naidoo.

Tickets can be bought at, at your nearest Pick n Pay or at the gates, subject to availability. They range from R80 to R100 and the earlier you arrive the cheaper the ticket.

The Independent on Saturday