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Ten things to do in Joburg

Published Sep 29, 2009



Pack a picnic for a laidback afternoon or walk through the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Roodepoort. Home to a pair of black eagles that nest on the rock face alongside the Witpoortjie Waterfall, it has a variety of succulent plants, cycads, wetlands and ponds with water-loving plants. It is open 8am-6pm daily, with no entry after 5pm. You can arrange for guided tours. A Biodiversity and Rare Fair is being held there this weekend, featuring interesting and unusual plants on sale, children's entertainment, life sciences and biodiversity careers information, guided walks, wildlife displays and demonstrations. A "Top of the Pops" concert featuring Veronique Lalouette and her band is scheduled for September 27.

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- For more info, call 071 118 0277, e-mail [email protected] or visit and see the "What's On" page for details of garden events.


As you look over arts and crafts, feast at stalls stocking anything from cheeses and pickles to pastries and honey. There are several food markets on our doorstep:

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- Bryanston Organic & Natural Market is open 9am-3pm on Thursday and Saturday. It is on the premises of Michael Mount Waldorf School, Culross Road (off Main Road), Bryanston.There are crafts and home-made deli food with live music. Call 011 706 3671 or see the website,

- Blubird Whole Food Market is open every Sunday, 9am to 2pm. It is at the Blubird Shopping Centre, Athol Oaklands Road, off Corlett Drive in Birnam. Besides culinary fare, it supplies earthworms for composting and sells bio-friendly detergents. Call Robyn at 083 311 4768

- Irene Village Market happens on the second and last Saturday of each month, 9am to 2pm. It has a tea garden, food stalls, original art and craft merchandise, and entertainment for kids such as pony and camel rides.

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It is at Jan Smuts House, Jan Smuts Lane, Irene, Pretoria (40km north of Johannesburg). Call 012 667 1659 or visit


Highly recommended by The Star's Angela Day, who visited this countryside venue early in the year. It's a great place to get away at the weekend and offers activities for children including tractor rides, play area, a BMX track and a petting park. The venue also has a pet-shop, two restaurants and an organic vegetable garden, from which visitors can pick and pay for a basket of fresh vegetables.

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- Call 071 140 3421 or 082 600 0819, e-mail: [email protected] or go to


The Ngwenya Glass Village, about 20 minutes from Joburg, is an ideal place to spend a warm afternoon. The quiet spot offers a playground for kids, quaint shops for browsing, good food at Zest restaurant or a drink at Gilroy's Brewery. It is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 4.30pm. Glass-blowing is demonstrated only on the last full weekend of the month.

- Find it in Muldersdrift in Shady Lane, 200m east of Beyers Naudé and Diepsloot R114 Corner. Call 011 796 3000 or visit the website,


Escape the heat by venturing into one of Gauteng's museums. There are dozens which you can Google, but two that are highly recommended are the Apartheid Museum and the Origins Centre.

- Apartheid Museum is a must-see for tourists and locals alike. It offers a multi-sensory journey through the rise and fall of apartheid. It is on the corner of Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Road, Ormonde, and is open 10am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Call 011 309 4700 or visit

- The Origins Centre explores the history of humankind in Africa. There are important exhibits of rock art, and visitors can experience the San/Bushman trance dance. It is on the corner of Yale and Enoch Sontonga streets, Wits University, Braamfontein, and is open 9am-5pm from Monday to Sunday. Call 011 717 4700 or go to


The Maropeng Visitor Centre is at the centre of the World Heritage Site of the Cradle of Humankind. It has won awards for its interactive displays focusing on the origins of the human race, and will be enjoyed by both adults and kids.

It is situated on the R400, just off the R563 Hekpoort road, and is open daily 9am-5pm.

- Call 014 577 9000, email [email protected] or visit


The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is the largest science centre in southern Africa, and offers a host of interactive displays to heighten the experience of science and technology to children and adults alike. It is on the corner of Miriam Makeba and President streets, Newtown, and is open 9am-5pm during the week but closes at 4.30pm on weekends and public holidays. Call 011 639 8400 or e-mail [email protected]

- Its website is currently being upgraded but is at


Truly an oasis of art and beauty in the heart of Joubert Park, the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), with its vast permanent collection and interesting exhibitions, is well worth a visit.

- Its entrance is in King George Street. Call 011 725 3130, or visit the City of Joburg website,

To find out what else is happening on the art and culture scene, start off with the events calendar at the City of Joburg's website, On until September 27 is the Arts Alive international festival.

- Go to for full programme.


Yes, they're right on our doorstep. So don a hat and sturdy shoes and visit them.

- Lory Park in Midrand is home to more than 130 different species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Birds of prey include the Jackal Buzzard and the American Bald Eagle. There are also tigers, pumas and lions. Owners Eddy and Matty van Eck want to offer a holistic learning experience to children and to educate them on the rehabilitation of the environment. It is at ' Kruger Road, President Park, Midrand. Call 011 315 7307 or see

- Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary is situated on 10ha of indigenous forest in Hartbeespoort. A privately owned sanctuary recently opened to the public, it offers visitors tours on elevated wooden walkways through the forest to see the exotic monkeys. Tours are held 9am to 12pm and 12pm to 4pm daily. Call 012 258 9908/9 or 084 384 5000, e-mail [email protected] or see

- Rietfontein Nature Reserve, a 25ha green space, has small game such as duiker and klipspringer, 138 species of birds and a variety of indigenous trees. Its trails offer an easy hour and a half hike. You can bring a picnic basket. It is at 138 Holkam Road, Paulshof, off Witkoppen Road, and is open weekdays from 7.30am-5pm. For weekend walks, call the reserve on 011 803 9300 to make arrangements.


Who would have thought that such a place existed in Joburg? The venue offers a number of fun and interesting mazes for families (children have to be accompanied by an adult) to explore, such as a green maze made from indigenous plants, an elemental maze made from reed walls, and rope maze. For older children and adults, there's also the option of the Moonlight Mazes, generally held every two weeks or so, usually on a Saturday evening. But booking for this is essential. The venue also offers a game of Bocces - a precision sport that closely resembles bowls and pétanque. A coffee shop on the site sells crisps, filled rolls, and drinks. It is open 10am-5pm on weekends, with the last entry to the mazes at 2.45pm.

- For more info, directions and map go to, e-mail [email protected] or call 010 222 0075.

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