Johannesburg

The Wilds

  Houghton Drive, Houghton      +27 11 643 2313     14 Dec 2021
A spectacular tree in The Wilds
A spectacular tree in The Wilds
Photo by James Delaney
This magnificent historic park with its stone-cut paths and water features, and awe-inspiring city views has in the past decade been brought back to life as a public space by the efforts of artist James Delaney and his team of assistants and volunteers. Once neglected and forgotten, its miraculous revival has seen this park transformed into one of the most popular in the city.

Delaney's artworks, 67 steel laser-cut owls placed in a yellowwood grove to mark Mandela Day in 2017 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. A little free library marks the park's entrance (bring a book) and you'll spot other artists' works inspired by Delaney's efforts dotted through the park, including beautiful mosaics by the late Andrew Lindsay.
 
Weekend walkers in The Wilds
The Wilds once had a fearsome reputation for crime, based 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.

The western section of The Wilds (bordering Killarney) is currently undergoing a major transformation and is the most rehabilitated and visited section of the park. The eastern section of The Wilds (bordering Upper Houghton and accessed via a footbridge) is still overgrown and less visited, although volunteers are at work here to revive the space. 
 
Awesome city views from the sundial on the top of the ridge at The Wilds

There are route maps and signposts dotted throughout the park to guide you on your way. Don't leave without climbing up to the top of the ridge (follow the signs for the sundial and Jock's View) to enjoy some of the most beautiful views of the city. For setting up a picnic we recommend finding a spot on the Fever Tree Lawn or closest to the car park on the broad expanses of the Giraffe Lawn (named for the huge life-sized pink sculpture of a giraffe).

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.

Every Tuesday at 9am senior citizens can join the Wise Wildies guided walk through the park, led by the dynamic king of hiking Kennedy Tembo of MicroAdventure Tours. The walk starts from The Wilds car park. Find The Wilds guarded parking on Houghton Drive.
 
Artist James Delaney's dog Pablo at the Jock's View lookout point in The Wilds

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Amenities

Guarded parking

Open

Open from 07:00 until sunset

Price/Additional Info

Admission free

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