With over ten million trees living and breathing in the city, Joburg is renowned as the world’s largest urban man-made forest. Welcome! The city of gold is home to some enchanting parks and gardens that are perfect for picnicking, strolling, birdwatching or a gentle early morning jog.
For the more adventurous, Joburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam offer an environment for canoeing, sailing, kayaking and even open-water swimming and training. The water gets tested regularly so don’t be afraid – dive in!
Situated 6kms from Rosebank Mall, the Joburg Botanical Gardens are the biggest gardens in the city and are considered as the city’s ‘green lung’. The gardens date back to 1866, before the city itself was established! There are seven distinct gardens in the Botanical Gardens: the Succulent Garden, the Shakespeare Garden, the Herb Garden, the Hedge Garden, the Chapel Garden, the Arboretum and the Rose Garden. For those more interested in botany and the indigenous plants of South Africa, the Herbarium houses over five thousand indigenous and exotic pressed plant specimens as well as free plant identification, tours and access to the library and herbarium collection.
Looking to chill out for a bit? The Rose Garden is it! Housing over ten thousand roses, this garden is the perfect place to take a blanket and a book and escape the hustle and bustle of the city for an hour or two. Don’t feel like bringing your own picnic treats? You can get a bite to eat at the small cafe near the Olifants Road entrance. Keep your eye open for the occasional open – air live music festival hosted in Emmarentia as well as the gloriously tranquil weekend ‘Yoga in the Park’ hosted by Yoga Works SA.
Other green spaces that form part of Joburg’s inner – city green lung are the Zoo Lake, Delta Park, the Melville Koppies and the James and Ethel Grey Park. The Joburg City Parks website is a treasure trove of historical tidbits about the parks that help make Joburg a real urban forest.
For those looking to get out of the city, the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens is the ideal serene sanctuary. Situated 30km outside of Joburg, the gardens are home to a mesmerizing waterfall and a rare pair of Verreaux’s (black) eagles – said to be the only pair in Joburg. The Gardens also offer a series of walking and hiking trials – explore the Cycad Garden and Succulent Rockery or hike up the hill for some gorgeous views.
For the art lovers, the Nirox Sculpture Park is the perfect outer-city art adventure. Situated just an hour’s drive from the city in the historic Cradle of Humankind, the sculpture park offers a peaceful and undisturbed ambience and exclusive viewings of sculptures that are not normally open to the public. Nirox is only open for certain events, so be sure to double check before planning your trip.
The benefits of heading outside to get some fresh air, stretch your legs and reconnect with nature are no secret, so why not take some time to enjoy the gorgeous weather in our beautiful #joburgparks?