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
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.
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
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.
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.
Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam
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.
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.