Midrand is burgeoning not only as a business destination, but as a leisure destination too. Beyond the Mall of Africa, and the trendy Waterfall Corner shopping-cum- restaurant precinct, there’s actually plenty more going on.
Attendant to the rash of commercial and residential developments in Midrand is the need to provide things to do over weekends, so where this part of Gauteng was once a bit of a no man’s land, it’s fast taking the shape of a city hub, where you can work, eat, shop and play.
The well known restaurant chains are all in Midrand now, but one of the most vibey over weekends is definitely Grand Life Cafe, in Waterfall Corner, with a diverse menu with options like sushi, pasta, pizza and tapas, as well as some interesting cocktails. Cruise in there on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll see some of Midrand’s hot young things, and some handsome Harleys parked outside to grace the scene.
Indeed, diners in the wider Midrand area have a wide breadth of choice now, with eateries like Col’Cacchio in Dainfern Square, Imbizo Shisanyama Busy Corner in Ebony Park, Milhaus in Kyalami on Main shopping centre, Kream in Mall of Africa, and Windmill on Main in Kyalami, which sells organic produce grown on its property, all getting excellent reviews.
Riversands Farm Village, once a quick stopover to buy homemade chicken pies, is now a leisure centre, with food stalls, a play centre and its own craft beer brewery, and on weekends when there’s live music and other big music events, it really comes alive.
In the heart of Riversands Farm is a 54 year old pine forest, where a zipline course has been set up, and it’s open all week. Music lovers also don’t need to drive to Joburg or Pretoria for their fix anymore, because in Midrand there’s Blu Lounge, above Newscafe in San Ridge Square, which regularly features club DJs like Mo Flava, Speedsta and Thabithabs.
A relaxed day outing is The Swiss Country Club in Vorna Valley, which houses The Courier restaurant, originally in Parkview and voted one of the South Africa’s top restaurants. The restaurant combines a fine dining experience with all the pleasures of a tranquil environment, a safe option for a Sunday afternoon with the folks.
Pampering is also plentiful in this part of the world, with a choice of spas, a popular one being the Intimidation Salon & Spa in Vorna Valley, which prides itself in its ethnic hair treatments including extensions, dreadlocks, braids, plaits and fusion hair.
If you have kids, there’s Lory Park animal and owl sanctuary,which TripAdvisor recommends highly, a “boutique zoo” with some magnificent big cats, and other mammals like duiker, mongoose, jackals, as well as reptiles and birds, notably owls.
And you can’t go wrong with the Lion Safari Park, a 650ha wilderness near Lanseria, and populated by lion (including White Lion), cheetah, hyena, leopard, serval wild cat, kudu, nyala, steenbuck, sable,gemsbuck, caracal, black wildebeest monkey, ostrich and crocodile. Smaller animals include meerkat, squirrels and African scrub hare.
The dining options here are the upmarket Wetlands restaurant/bar, and the Bull and Buck Grill, where hearty, meat dishes are popular. Halaal food is also available, and if you have small children, there’s a kiddie’s park adjoining the restaurants, with supervised jungle gyms, jumping castles and rides, so your kids can play safely for hours while you relax.
Accommodation for out-of- towners doing business in Midrand ranges from upmarket to basic, but for good value and a homely feel, you can’t go wrong with BON Hotel Midrand, which has a compact indoor/outdoor dining area and bar set around a pool, so you get that holiday feel. Also, celebrity chef Citrum Khumalo has set up his kitchen-cum- culinary school there, called Asidle Culinary Kitchen. Driven by tourists wanting to experience African hospitality, Asidle provides a wide variety of top South African food offerings, including the traditional and very popular shisanyama experience,and the adjoining Black Pepper Bar hosts jazz nights, comedy hours and township-based entertainment groups.
You can get deals at around R650 per night here, breakfast included, so if you’re working, you might consider extending your visit to Midrand by another night to relax or take in some of its attractions.
Waterfall Corner: www.waterfallcorner.co.za
Riversands Farm Village - http://riversandsfarm.co.za
Imbizo Shisanyama Busy Corner: www.imbizoshisanyama.co.za
Swiss Country Club: www.swissclubjhb.co.za
Intimidation Salon and Spa: www.ihbsalonandspa.co.za
Lory Park: www.lorypark.co.za
Lion & Safari Park: www.lionandsafaripark.com
BON Hotel Midrand: www.bonhotels.com/midrand