Mall of Africa is a popular spot.
Mall of Africa is a popular spot.
Have a bite at the Life Grand Cafe, Waterfall Square.
Have a bite at the Life Grand Cafe, Waterfall Square.
The BON hotel is a favourite for locals.
The BON hotel is a favourite for locals.
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, c aracal, 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.

Visit:

 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