Explore your garden with these nature apps

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 29 April 2020

When confined to your home, it’s easy to feel out of touch with the world, never mind nature. If you have a garden and outdoor areas at your disposal, get kitted out and start exploring with these fun and insightful garden and nature apps.

Here you can find 11 apps to help you become a garden explorer:

1. TheTreeApp South Africa

Find out more about what’s growing outside your window with this step-by-step Tree Search process. Identify both indigenous and invasive, alien trees in South Africa.

Tree details are available in artworks, photos, maps and texts.

TheTreeApp South Africa was the 2017 MTN App of the Year in the Best Agricultural Solution category. R399.99


2. Gardenate

This mobile gardening companion will help you grow and maintain your herbs, plants and veggies. Gardenate is suited for local gardeners as it contains climate-specific planting calendars and resources for South Africa. The app is surprisingly inexpensive too. R14.99


3. PlantSnap

This plant ID-app allows you to photograph or scan a plant at close range and identify it in a matter of seconds. PlantSnap as a 90% recognition rate and aims to be able to identify every known plant species on the planet. It also uses geo-tag technology to help build a knowledge base of information that will aid in data collection. The app is free to use but the premium version – PlantSnap Pro – costs R399.99.


4. Candide

This free community app also allows you to ID plants, but links garden centres and botanical gardens with a community of gardeners. You can ask questions, share your photos and findings, and learn from others. There are video tutorials and as well audio tours of gardens and nurseries in the UK, including a partnership with Babylonstoren in the Cape.


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5. Birding apps

Image: Rodger Bowren/Getaway Gallery

Three of South Africa’s most reputable bird guide books each have apps. Pick your favourite.

  • Sasol eBirds of Southern Africa, R379.99

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa 5th Edition will be published in June.

  • Roberts Bird Guide 2, R499.99
  • Newman’s R289.99


6. Woodhall’s Butterflies RSA

The app database consists of 672 South African butterfly species and 126 subfamilies. Get pointers on how to identify these winged beauties, with the help of detailed and colourful photos and distribution maps. The app helps you keep track of your butterfly sightings. R299.99

Steve Woodhall’s fully revised second edition of the Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa is out now.


7. eInsects of South Africa

There are over 1,600 close-up photos to help you identify your tiny, crawling garden critters. The app covers over 1,200 of the SA’s insect families and species, including info such as insect history, anatomy and classification too. R299.99


8. eSnakes Southern Africa

If you’re feeling really adventurous, or curious about a slithering garden visitor, this snake ID app will help you identify 171 southern African snakes with the help of 600 close-up photographs and illustrations. Available in English and Afrikaans.

9. ASI Snakes

While you’re trying to ID sneaky serpents, the African Snakebite Institute app is a good one to keep on your phone when travelling and exploring. Make sure that you stay safe, and refer to this helpful, free mobile resource if you need help identifying snakes or more info on snake removals or first aid. ASI Snakes was the 2018 MTN App of the Year in the People’s Choice category.



Image: PlantSnap /Facebook

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