Johannesburg weather is perfect right now. We’re at the beginning of autumn, there’s a light breeze and the air smells like lemons. It’s the best time to get off the couch and head out for a walk. Here are some ideas to help get you going:-
Head off to Delta Park where you can while away a few leisurely and relaxed hours. Take the kids, dogs and a picnic. Delta Park has one of the world’s best environmental centres, a bird sanctuary and Scout centre too. There are cycle paths and walking paths, it’s huge and there are always enough people around for to feel safe. Try the delicious Delta Cafe where not only are pets are welcome but you can also have your bikes washed. Amanzi Guest House, Buckingham Guest House, Liz at Lancaster, B & B on 23, Rutland House and Hands on Retreat are all close to Delta Park, and your Guesthouse owner will happily point you in the right direction. Entry from Road No 3 in Victory Park, or from Marlborough Road in Craighall Park.
Join the walkers at Zoo Lake. This is a favorite of Johannesburg’s residents and in the early morning and late afternoon you can see the serious walkers marching round and round the lake. It’s slow and leisurely in the day, kids feeding ducks and riding bikes; artists with their easels painting the lake, boats and trees. Moyo is a gorgeous African restaurant and you can sit and have a coffee or a full on meal if you prefer. Cotswold Gardens and Avondu Guesthouses are both in Saxonwold, and you can easily walk from The Village Green Guest House, At The Zoo, Roscommon Cottage and Zoo Lake B & B which are all in Parkview.
Be brave and take Johannesburg’s stairway to Heaven – Westcliff Steps. There are 210 stairs (I know, I have counted) that are really steep, snaking their way along some of Westcliff’s most exclusive houses. Some of the residents have kindly put water fountains at the top of the stairs, for which we are always grateful. The view from the top is just gorgeous and on a clear day you can see all the way to Magaliesburg. You do need to be fit to do the steps more than once, but after one set you can continue walking around the suburb and even on for a drink at the new Four Seasons Hotel. (the old Westcliff).
Access is from Crescent Drive in Westcliff. You can walk from your Parkview, Parkwood or Saxonwold Guesthouse, as long as you’re reasonably fit.
Emmarentia Dam is also one of our preferred picks. There are the Emmarentia Botanical Gardens which are large, grassy open spaces, perfect for picnics. There is a dog section which is very popular amongst dog-lovers, (no leads required) and then the main dam area where you’ll find the canoeists and cyclists. Wander around the beautiful Rose Garden, visit the Succulent Garden and even hire a canoe if you want. You’ll need to drive from our Johannesburg Guesthouses, but just for a few minutes.
The main entrance is on Olifants Road in Emmarentia, but there are also access points from Thomas Bowler, Orange and The Braids Roads.
The James and Ethel Gray Park is a little park snuggled in the suburb of Birdhaven, close to Melrose Arch with its many upmarket shops. This park has been beautifully landscaped with indigenous plants and neat lawns, meandering walkways and a playground, and HAS the Sandspruit river flowing through it. Melrose Place Guest Lodge, Premier Classe Suites and de Pinna’s Executive Guest House are all fairly nearby, and the fabulous Voodoo Lily Restaurant is down the road.
It is near The Wanderers Club, just off Athol Oaklands Drive – ask for directions.
Melville Koppies – this is one of Johannesburg’s best surprises. Pristine and rocky koppies with amazing birdlife (owls at night), church singers on the weekends, and locals walking their doggies. Beautiful Jozi views. There is little shelter so take a hat and water (always take water) and then go eat in one of the Melville cafes. It is best to go in a group or to walk when there are people around in the early morning and evening.
Entrance on Judith Road in Emmarentia, or any of the gates in Melville itself. We have the lovely Melville Manor nearby.
Of course you can also just walk. All our Guesthouses are in beautiful suburbs with wide tree-lined streets. Bridge House in Parkhurst is close to the Braamfontein Spruit and Delta Park, and there’s nothing nicer than just walking (wandering) along Parkhurst’s 4th Avenue. The Ashford in Parkwood is so central that you can walk anywhere, and the same with Acorns on 8th and Leighwood Lodge in Parktown North. Walk, explore the antique stores and galleries, and head back to a trendy coffee shop for a cappucino.
Have fun. Don’t forget your hat, sunblock and sense of adventure!