Enjoy the great outdoors in Johannesburg with the whole family this spring

28 August 2014

By Stuart Dickinson

There’s something truly special about Johannesburg as the cold winter months give way to spring – that palpable change in the air as the days get warmer and the city takes on shades of green.

But it’s a transformation that is best felt, not read about, and of course this means getting out there and experiencing the best outdoor spots Joburg has to offer.

Here are a few great outdoor activities to enjoy with the whole family this spring.

Kloofendal Nature Reserve

Kloofendal The Kloofendal Nature Reserve. Photo via FROK.

Kloofendal Nature Reserve, set in the suburb of the same name in Roodepoort, was one of the first nature reserves established in Johannesburg. It offers visitors a unique environmental experience that combines the Bankenveld, Drakensberg and Savanna ecosystems, and is home to a number of small mammals such as duiker, hedgehog, black-backed jackal, dassie, mountain reedbuck and much more.

It’s also a great place to take the kids from an educational perspective, with informative signboards located throughout the reserve. It’s also where one of Joburg’s first gold mines was established – the Confidence Reef Mine – at the spot where gold was discovered in 1884. It was declared a national monument in 1984, and its remains can be viewed by special appointment.

Visiting hours are daily from daily from 06h00 to 18h00, and admission is free.

Click here for directions.

Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

Waterfall watchers at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens Waterfall watchers at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. Photo by Mike Blackburn.

The pristine grounds of the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens are perhaps most famous for the pair of breeding Verreaux’s Eagles, which nest on the cliffs alongside the waterfall. A short hike up the cliffs allows for a better vantage point, where you can also take in stunning views of the surrounding rocky Highveld grassland below.

The variety of habitats accommodates over 600 naturally occurring plant species, and manicured lawns provide the ideal setting for a picnic with the family.

Click here for directions.

Amazing Mazes

Honeydew Mazes Honeydew Mazes. Photo via Snapshot South Africa.

Located just off Beyers Naude Drive in Honeydew, Amazing Mazes has been in operation for 10 years and is a consistent hit with kids of all ages. It’s such a popular drawcard for the family that Leisure Options magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards rated it the second-best thing to with children in Joburg.

See if you can navigate your way through the tricky Elemental Maze made from reeds, which is open from June to December. Their maize maze is open from February to June. Pack a picnic basket and bring the whole family out for a day of discovery in the spring sunshine.

Click here for directions.

Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam

Frosty Dawn at Emmarentia Dam Frosty dawn at Emmarentia Dam. Photo by evergleamy.

This popular weekend attraction is seen as one of the best places in Joburg to walk your dog, take a jog or have a picnic with family and friends. The gardens are split up into seven distinct sections – the Herb Garden, Hedge Garden, Succulent Garden, Shakespeare Garden, Rose Garden, Chapel Garden and the Arboretum (a collection composed exclusively of trees).

Make your way to the nearby Emmarentia Dam, where you can take a leisurely stroll around the water’s edge, feed the ducks, and enjoy a light meal or ice cream at the small café near the main entrance on Olifants Road.

Click here for directions.

Delta Park

delta park Learning at Delta Park. Photo via JoziKids.

This beautiful, spacious park is the perfect place to take a leisurely walk and appreciate the green lung that is Johannesburg. The park is made up of 104ha of grassland and woodland terrain, with winding pathways connecting three serene, tree-lined dams.

The park is also home to the Delta Environmental Centre, where both children and adults can enrol in fascinating wildlife-related courses facilitated by professional staff. The Simba Playground is also a massive hit with kids.

There is safe parking at the centre and main entrance, reached via Road No 3 or Road No 5 off Rustenburg Road, Victory Park, or at the corner of Pitcairn Road and Penelope Avenue in Blairgowrie.

Click here for directions.

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