There are significant challenges to retaining indigenous biodiversity and ecological infrastructure in African cities. These include a lack of formal protection and status for remnant ecologically functional patches rendering them open to ad hoc human settlement, which is in part linked to weak governance and management emerging from complex histories, and competing crisis-ridden demands. Persistent gaps in knowledge and practice mean that the social, economic, development and well-being benefits of ecological infrastructure are not understood or demonstrated. Addressing these challenges requires the adoption of multiple top-down government interventions and bottom-up community and neighbourhood actions. The development of detailed case studies that engage with knowledge generation and sharing at multiple scales through co-learning practices will also help create a much-needed deeper understanding of development options within this context.