This past weekend (Oct 21, 2023) we curated a morning photowalk in the heritage-rich suburb of Westcliff, partnering with the exceptional Four Seasons The Westcliff hotel – who offer one of the most exceptional jacaranda views from their Flames terrace. We also teamed up with our tour guide partner Kennedy Tembo of MicroAdventure Tours, who even on the earliest mornings is a superbly enthusiastic and warm and welcoming host. A special shout out to the team at Pam Golding properties in Westcliff who heard about our walk and made sure to we didn't get too thirsty – they set up a water station at the busy Westcliff stairs.
Next up we took a bloom-spotting bus across the city, stopping for gin and tonic at Munro Drive, provided by the The Ginologist – who are based at 1Fox in the city. Our next stop was for a walk in The Wilds with Kennedy Tembo leading the charge, followed by a sky high visit to the Rooftop at Hallmark House Hotel.
These two experience are part of our October series. To see all of our jacaranda experiences, click here. We still have a last few ticket's for Saturday's Kensington photowalk with @2Summers so make sure to book now!
We began our journey at the 'Grand Dame of Joburg' herself, at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, meeting at the Après-Spa terrace. There, we were greeted with invigorating ginger and pineapple shots and health bars, the perfect way to kickstart our morning. The terrace is a lush hideaway that beckons you to linger and relax, but we had other things in mind. We then set off on a walk through the neighbourhood of Westcliff, possibly one of Joburg's most charming places.
Our photowalk was not just about capturing the purple beauty of the jacaranda trees, but also about delving into the heritage and history of Westcliff. The neighbourhood is known for its charming heritage properties, evident by the numerous blue plaques adorning many of the buildings, making our photowalk not only a visual journey but also an educational experience.
As we made our way through the area, Pam Golding Properties kindly provided us with water at the base of the famous Westcliff Steps. These 210 steps are like a stone magnet for fitness enthusiasts on the weekends as they challenge themselves to conquer this steep climb. The equivalent (on a smaller scale) of Sea Point's promenade in summer, the stairs were filled with people doing their morning exercise.
After a morning filled with exploration and discovery, we made our way back to the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff for a well-deserved coffee break at Flames. There, we enjoyed some of the best views of Johannesburg's jacarandas. With our cups of coffee in hand, we marvelled at the stunning purple canopy that these trees create, painting the city in shades of lavender and making our photowalk a memorable and Instagrammable adventure.
Our afternoon bloom-spotting experience started at the tourist bus stop at Rosebank Mall, where we hopped on the City Sightseeing Bus and rumbled up the winding uphill roads of Houghton towards the historic Munro Drive.
With jacarandas being the theme of the day, we enjoyed some heavy-handed gin and tonics made with Ginologist's floral gin. While we swilled, Tembo shared some historical points about Munro Drive and how jacarandas came to Joburg.
After our lilac-coloured libations, we boarded the bus once more for a short drive to The Wilds. The top of the bus was the place to be, with a welcomed breeze blowing through the Saturday heat while we drove past large, mid-century homes and the back of St. John's College. Read more about 125 years of Johannesburg history on display at St John's College.
With the highly knowledgeable Kennedy Tembo as our guide – we stopped alongside the road and walked towards a small, locked entrance gate of The Wilds and entered the eastern side through a usually private gate. We then headed up the rocky top of a hill, where we got the rundown of this hidden suburban hiking trail before starting our short but enjoyable walk.
With incredible forested views still on our minds, we took a winding route to Hallmark House Hotel, passing through Parktown to merge onto the M1 where we enjoyed views of the cityscape with every bump of the road. Hallmark House was our final stop, where we were reminded about what we know best: why we love Joburg.
The views continued on the hotel's rooftop. The cityscape view is exceptional from this place, and orange-infused drinks served in champagne glasses perfectly complemented the Joburg sunset.
No tour would be complete without something delicious, and the nibbles were well-received with finger food options ranging from saucy beef meatballs and chicken skewers to creamy mushroom arancini and spinach quiche. While no jacarandas were in sight in the sprawling City Centre below, the sight of Joburg was awe-inspiring. The reason we ended our experience here is because we believe that Joburg is best understood by its contrasts – magnificent nature in a concrete city. Thanks to everyone who joined us – it is always a treat to host these, and we look forward to our next adventures with you.
Join our JacarandaInYourPocket 2023 Kensington photowalk with 2Summers on Sat, 28 Oct.