Joburg’s first park, Joubert Park in the City Centre, was established in 1887, just one year after the discovery of gold. By the 1930s there were already more than 60 parks in the city and today according to Johannesburg City Parks there are more than 2,000 parks and an estimated 10 million trees.
Always a practical city, in the city’s first decades, the planting of trees was often motivated by the need for wooden props to line mining tunnels. Fast growing blue gum plantations were established to ensure a steady supply. In Turffontein in the south, a vast tree nursery was created and during the early decades of the 20th Century the city went on a massive tree planting spree, lining new suburbs with beautiful Jacaranda trees.
Meanwhile in Joburg’s northern suburbs such as Westcliff, Parkview, Emmarentia and Parktown, farmland was sold off to wealthy mining magnates (known as Randlords) who planted grand plane trees, pines and jacarandas in the vast gardens surrounding their mansions. The result is a magnificent sea of green that spreads out from the city’s central ridges in all directions.
Sit on a suburban rooftop or climb atop one of the city’s ridges such as Westcliff or Observatory and you’ll see nothing but green, peppered with bursts of purple during the spring jacaranda season. Whether you favour long walks, carefully manicured formal gardens or wild green spaces, Joburg has a park for you.
Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam
Olifants Rd, Emmarentia
This sprawling oasis, once part of a large farm owned by the Geldenhuys family, has extensive parkland for kicking around a soccer ball, picnics or long walks. …
Melville Koppies Nature Reserve
Cnr Judith Rd and Orange Rd, Melville
A nature reserve and heritage site, the Melville Koppies (koppie means small hill in Afrikaans) boast archaeological remains of Stone Age and Iron Age …
One of Gauteng’s most beautiful and well-maintained parks, head here for stunning flora and fauna, excellent birdwatching (look out for the black Verreaux’s …
Hyundai Mushroom Farm Park
Daisy St, off Rivonia Rd (opposite Radisson Blu Hotel), Sandton