Yesterday we walked the Braamfontein Spruit. We smothered ourselves in Vichy sunblock 100, put on good walking shoes, filled bottles of water, grabbed our hats and off we went.
We set off from the Delta Park environmental centre (tons of parking), and then followed the part of the trail that leads from the Delta, through the Spruit and on to the Parkmore Field and Study Centre. The walk is 6.5 kms, one way, and – OH MY – the things we saw!
It was hard to believe we were right in the centre of Johannesburg with all these huge open spaces of grassland, woodland and water. Delta Park is a nature lover’s paradise. We were guided by landmarks – go past the first bird hide, left at the second dam, through the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary, over the bridge, through the shady trees, over the cyclist’s path, past The Trailhead Bicycle and Coffee Shop, right and then follow the trail!
Of course we stopped at the coffee shop (packed with cyclists, families, walkers and birders) and picked up delicious coffee. And then the path gets quieter, the river gets wilder and everything changes.
You pretty much feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.
We saw a beautiful Grey Heron just hanging on the edge of the water. And nearby there was a group of churchgoers, baptising a young man – right there, in the waters of the Spruit. It was incredible to witness, and we loved watching and listening to the African singing. It was Easter Monday after all.
We couldn’t cross the river into the Field and Study centre as the water levels were too high. We could’ve continued along the path to Witkoppen (another 8 kms) but chose to head back to – of course – the coffee shop!
We had toasted cheese, they helped us nurse our blisters and gave us a bit more sunblock, then we did the last few kms back to our cars. A fantastic morning, right here in Johannesburg.
Do it. You’ll be amazed. Take a map, the routing can get tricky. Walk in a small group. Dodge the cyclists. Take your cameras. Plenty of water. And binoculars too.
The Braamfontein Spruit trail is divided into three sections. Emmarentia to Delta is 4 kms. Delta to Parkmore is 6.5 kms. Parkmore to Witkoppen is 8 kms. You can do the whole thing or just a section, depending on your time and fitness levels.
We used the book Gauteng Hikes and Walks, by Tim Hartwright. It’s super useful if you can find a copy. Otherwise ask your Johannesburg Guesthouse owner to guide you to the closest starting point and to print out a map for you.
Note: There are entrances into the Delta close to Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, Amanzi Guest House and Rutland House. The Emmarentia entrances are closer to our guesthouses in Parkview – Roscommon Cottage and Village Green Guest House. And Hands on Retreat would be the closest to Parkmore. But everyone is in the nearby vicinity.