Johannesburg

The Wilds

  Houghton Drive, Houghton      +27 11 643 2313     20 Aug 2018
created 28 Jun 2017
This magnificent historic park with its stone-cut paths and water features, and awe-inspiring city views has recently been brought back to life as a public space by the efforts of artist James Delaney and his team of assistants and volunteers. Delaney's artworks, 67 steel laser-cut owls placed in a yellowwood grove to mark Mandela Day 2017 (July 18), were the catalyst for rallying the powerful and the not-so-powerful to restore the park to a place of pride for the city. Since then there are almost monthly events to clean up the space (usually held on the third Saturday of the month to coincide with the Joburg-wide A Re Sebetseng clean up day initiative). A little free library marks the park's entrance (bring a book) and you'll spot other artist's works inspired by Delaney's efforts dotted through the park.

The Wilds has for years had a fearsome reputation for crime, based mostly on a terrible crime wave that swept through the area in the 1990s. With the help of Delaney and his team, who have worked tirelessly to cut away the thick overgrown vegetation that made an ideal hideout for opportunistic criminals, the situation has improved considerably. As Delaney points out, the more people who return to enjoy the park, the safer it becomes. Dog walkers are welcomed with open arms (Delaney takes his own honey-coloured Labrador Pablo out for a walk in The Wilds every day), although owners are requested to please clean up after their dogs.

Note that the western section of The Wilds (bordering Killarney) is currently undergoing a major transformation. The eastern section of The Wilds (bordering Upper Houghton) is still very overgrown and little visited.

Find The Wilds guarded parking on Houghton Drive.
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Open

Open 07:00-16:00.

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