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Not wholly given over to showcasing indigenous flora, these gardens feature little-known succulent flowers and bulb collections, an alpine collection, as well as an admirable cycad collection. A rose garden and herb garden complete the picture. A large dam runs adjacent to the gardens, and fishermen, canoeists, windsurfers, cyclists and the general public pass through continuously. Springtime brings a dazzling spectacle of cherry blossoms, while the autumn foliage of the many deciduous trees bequeath their own beauty to those who pass by. Picnics are allowed almost everywhere and a kiosk supplies light meals and refreshments.
Though relatively small in size, the Koppies pack quite a punch both in terms of the abundance of wildlife and in good ol' outdoor fun. There's lots of hiking to be had, plenty of plants and animals to see, and much pristine greenery to enjoy, as picnics are not permitted here. So keep to the paths to minimize your ecological footprint and commune harmoniously with nature. No dogs allowed.
Probably the most frequented open-space area in the suburbs of Johannesburg, Zoo Lake has a restaurant, paddle-boat facilities as well as waterfowl in abundance. The restaurant is housed within buildings at the heart of the property and a bowling club lies to the right. Concerts are often hosted here and an annual, ‘Jazz at the Park' concert is becoming a recognized event. ‘Artists under the Sun' is a regular affair providing artists an opportunity to showcase their works by the lakeside. Weekends are always hectic and everyone and their dog seems to find some amusement there. No entrance fee. Dogs on leashes only. Plenty of parking.
Let the little ones run free at this fantastic playground and activity center located in Rosebank. Children frolic in the outdoor play area with a host of games or can create masterpieces of their own at The Artists Corner. There's a dress up area where the kids can put on interesting costumes and bring their imagination to life. The center also has a gift shop offering toys as well as costumes. A selection of cakes and light bites keeps the children as well as the parents on their toes. Facilities for hosting kids parties are available. Check website for more.
Featuring park-like surrounds, the Johannesburg Zoo offers a glimpse at over 3,000 animal species. Night-time tours are also offered, giving a fascinating show of the nocturnal behavior of many residents. ‘Behind-the-scenes' tours offer a chance to witness first-hand, the goings-on in a typical zoo such as the feeding and cleaning routines the public seldom see. Children's' birthday parties are hosted (book in advance) and a restaurant/tea garden is open during all normal visiting hours. An approximate time of four hours is required in order to view all the exhibits.
Braamfontein Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city. Located along the Enoch Sontonga Avenue, it has the graves of the brave soldiers who were killed during the World War I and II. It also has a monument that was erected in the memory of all those who died in the dynamite explosion at the Braamfontein station. You can also visit the memorial dedicated to Enoch Sontonga, who composed South Africa's National Anthem. To schedule a visit or obtain further information, please call ahead.
Spread over an area of 16 hectares, this splendid inner city park is a haven for nature lovers. The Wilds offers the city's outdoor enthusiasts a chance to leave behind the city's urban landscape without having to venture beyond the city's limits. Paved paths make their way across the reserve, leading you past tranquil gardens, shimmering pools and babbling waterfalls. The hilly terrain offers splendid views of the city and makes for a moderately challenging hike. Bird watchers will find much to capture their fancy as they make their way across the park. The Wilds is also home to some hard to find indigenous flora and plant species. Although the park is popular amongst local dog walkers, it is best to explore this verdant wonderland in a group. The park is split down the middle by Houghton Drive, however a number of walkways connect the two sides to one another. Look for the sundial that marks the highest point of The Wilds. The spot also offers some splendid vistas to admire. Certain areas of the Wilds are available on hire for weddings and corporate events.
Experience the forest from a whole new angle with Acrobranch, one of a number of outdoor adventure parks, which offers a number of exciting activities like canopy walks, bungee jumping and zip lines. Located in the James and Ethel Gray Park, this particular facility has one of Africa's longest zip lines which makes its way through the forested canopy of the park. Zip down the rope from tree to tree across their various zip lines or show off your climbing skills on their various obstacle courses which include everything from monkey bars to Tarzan swings. Separate obstacle courses are also available for kids and teenagers.