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Walking Trails in & Around Soweto

Thokoza Park

Thokoza Park

Walk the paved footpaths of Thokoza Park in Rockville in Soweto, which includes the recently rejuvenated Moroka Dam, which was named after Dr James Moroka, a former president of the African National Congress. It has a rocky pond and fountain, picnic areas and large well-manicured lawns and huge leafy trees. The park is a block away from the famous Regina Mundi Church, so include this landmark in your walk, and savour the birdlife along the way.

Walks take 20 to 45 minutes.

Getting there: Off Potchefstroom Road in Soweto, just past the Roodeport Road. Easily visible from the road. Enter parking on the right or from Regina Mundi’s side.

For more details phone: 011 938 1820

Dorothy Nyembe Park

dorothy nyembe park

This is a picturesque park in Mofolo North. It has amenities, including an environmental centre, bird hide, various dams, and amphitheater. The park is fully fenced. It is named after a prominent 1950s African National Congress activist. The park recently got a face-lift. The sparkling dams are fed by a natural wetland running through the park and attract a variety of bird species. These can be spotted from the bird hide. Added amenities such as braai facilities will keep you there longer than planned.

Walks take 30 to 45 minutes.

Getting there: Off Roodeport Road onto Main Road directly into park for parking.

For more details phone: 011 938 7600

Avalon Cemetery

Graveside

Located just off the main Johannesburg railway line, Avalon Cemetery is the final resting place for many prominent persons and heroes of the liberation struggle, including Joe Slovo, Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Zephania Mothopeng, Tsietsi Mashinini, and Hector Pieterson. The Mendi Memorial, built-in memory of the soldiers who died with the sinking of the ship Mendi in February 1917. There is no specific trail to follow, but historical graves are marked with heritage site markers. The cemetery can be tied in with a visit to other historical sites in Soweto as well.

Walk for as long as you can.

Getting there: From Bara Taxi Rank off Potchefstroom Road, turn left at Tshabuse Street across from Chiawelo Clinic, and follow the road to Soweto Mountain of Hope. Turn right for 20 – 30m, pass the railway bridge to the cemetery entrance.

For more details phone: 011 712 6602

Walter Sisulu walk

walter sisulu

The entirely indigenous Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, 25 kilometres west of the city centre, offers several wonderful walks. One of the best is up to the top of a 70-metre high waterfall, with a view down on the nest of a pair of breeding Black Eagles. The garden is in Malcolm Road, Poortview, and Roodepoort. It is opened from 8 am to 6 pm, including weekends and public holidays, Tuesdays are free. Dogs are not allowed.

Walk for a long as you like, or just sit and contemplate the beauty of the gardens.

Getting there: Off Hendrik Potgieter Road in Ruimsig, turn (into) onto Doreen Road (and then turn first right into) to Malcolm Road. (Take the sharp right-hand bend at the end of Malcolm Road) and park inside the Gardens.

For more details phone 011 958 1750 or 086 100 1278

Zoo Lake

zoo

Zoo Lake is a favourite of Joburg residents. It also boasts the Coronation Fountain, a Johannesburg heritage symbol. Zoo Lake is a popular spot for picnicking, walking your dog or taking a leisurely boat ride. It has its own information centre.

The land was donated by Beit and Co in 1904, with a stipulation that the park is divided into a public park and a zoological garden. It opened for the first time to the public in 1908.

Walks may take from 30 minutes – 1 hour.

Getting there: Off Jan Smuts, park by Moyo Restaurant off Westwold Drive down the Prince of Wales Avenue.

For more details phone: 011 646 2000

Klipriviersberg ramble

Klipriversberg

Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve is a 615-hectare reserve 11 kilometres south of the city, open from sunrise to sunset for unguided rambles. Zebra, reedbuck, wildebeest, and hartebeest were introduced in 2003, so prepare for a bit of game spotting too. The reserve is supervised by horse patrols, with a guard at the parking area.

Tswana people lived on the koppies, and they lived harmoniously but were overrun and wiped out in the early 1800s when ousted Zulu leader Mzilikazi moved into the area and established his kingdom.

Walk for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Getting there: Off the Columbine Avenue exit from the M1 to Ormonde Drive and Frandolph Drive. Park in cul de sac by guardhouse and start the walk by Silent Pools

For more details phone 011 682 3459

Melville Koppies

mellville koppies

There’s a myriad of paths in the western section of the Koppies, open from sunrise to sunset with great views, and walks up to 4km along grassy slopes and rocky ridges. The central Melville Koppies section, with its Iron Age furnace and crisscrossing paths, is open three Sundays each month for three hours.

Walk for up to 3 hours or less.

Getting there: For Reserve, park at Marks Park across Judith Road and access from North Gate. In other areas, park on streets. For Eastside, park end of Zambesi Road in Emmarentia or Kloof Street in Melville. For Westside, park on 3rd Avenue off Arundel in Westdene.

For more details phone 011 482 4797

Emmarentia Dam

emmarentia

Located at the north-east side of the 81-hectare park, the sparkling dam is a popular destination for energetic canoeists and small-boat enthusiasts. Pleasant for family picnics, with a tearoom, several dams, and gardens to visit. The vast green surrounds are equally as popular with dog walkers, bikers, and runners. In the northern section, take a pleasant stroll through a rose garden, indigenous herb patch, or view an amazing collection of succulents at the Johannesburg Botanic Gardens. It is open from sunrise to sunset and there is safe parking just over the bridge, or in Thomas Bowler Road.

Walks from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

For more details phone: 011 782 7064

Getting there: Emmarentia lies between Beyers Naude and Barry Hertzog. Parking in the main car park off Oliphants Road, or along with Thomas Bowler near The Botanical Gardens.

The Wilds

the wilds

One of the oldest parks in the city, The Wilds offers Joburgers 40 acres of indigenous plants, shrubs, trees, and stone pathways to wander, up and down the koppies of the Parktown ridge. The paths crisscross the west and east side, the latter slightly wilder than the west, with its lush green lawns and pretty ponds. The Wilds is throwing off its dangerous reputation, with guards now patrolling and secure parking. But be cautious, walk-in groups, don’t carry valuables, and if you need to, ask one of the guards to accompany you while you admire the view of Hillbrow to the south, and Sandton City to the north, while getting a good workout.

Walks of 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Getting there: Park off Joe Slovo Drive in Houghton by a bridge.

Information courtesy of City Parks and City of Joburg




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