Our country is well-known for its sunshine. Joburg, in particular, offers one of the best climates, the summer days are warm and the winter days are crisp and clear. Winter is upon us, the temperate has dropped, but it shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the outdoors in the city of Joburg this winter.
Says Jenny Moodley, Spokesperson of Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo: “We recently launched a new campaign called “Welcome Outside”. The aim is to invite Joburg’s residents into green open spaces. These areas have been developed and maintained for everyone’s enjoyment.”
The winter weather – often cold with very little sunshine – may make even the most “outdoorsy” people want to stay indoors. But, we all know the importance and benefits of being outdoors.
So, to encourage you to enjoy the outdoors during the cold winter months, we’ve put together the below tips:
1. Do your exercise outside. Whether it’s a walk or a jog, as long as you wear layers of clothing and protect your skin, you can definitely exercise outside. Looking for a great location? Visit the James and Ethel Gray Park on Atholl Oaklands Road. This park is home to an assortment of feathered residents. The Sandspruit River flows through its 36 hectares, creating an attractive, tranquil atmosphere. Alternatively, visit Golden Harvest Park. Located on First Avenue, Northgate, this park is immaculate and features rolling walks around a dam and indigenous bushveld. The scenic park is a secret treasure about which many are unaware.
2. Watch wildlife. You may have heard it before, but there is no better time to enjoy animal life than in winter. The bushes thin out and lose colour, improving visibility considerably. Visit the Rietfontein Nature Reserve with your partner or family. It is the home of the FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, boasts a circular walking trail that is well maintained and is the perfect spot to sight the myriad of birds here. If you’re based in Roodepoort, Kloofendal, a cultural heritage, and ecotourism facility is one of the first nature reserves in Joburg and offers a great escape from city life. The reserve has remains of early gold mining activities and is recognised as the first gold mine in Johannesburg. This reserve is home to a number of small mammals such as reebuck and dassie.
3. Bird Watching. South Africa provides an exquisite habitat for a variety of colourful birds. Spectacular bird watching can be experienced almost anywhere in the country. One location that’s great bird watching is the Cumberland Bird Sanctuary. The sanctuary boasts an incredible bird life, over 80 different species, particularly well-known known for the pair of black Sparrow-Hawks that breed in the sanctuary. In the middle of Cumberland Bird Sanctuary is a little dam. There is also a picnic spot with tables and benches. Take your hot chocolate or coffee along with you.
4. Something for curious kids. Children are naturally curious and creative. By encouraging more outdoor play you will encourage more physical activity. The Delta Park is the home of the Delta Environmental Centre, where a wide range of fascinating wildlife related courses are offered to adults and children. This includes holiday programmes for children between the ages of six and 13. The courses are facilitated by professional staff. Take the kids to Hyundai Sky Park. This park is great for kids because it is well equipped with an interactive children’s play area, but if you want them to kick a ball or run around, take them to Innesfree Park. Located in busy Sandton, the park boasts lush green lawns and leafy trees. The park boasts two tranquil dams and plenty of open space for picnics. Due to its size, Innesfree Park often hosts large-scale events.
5. Take a bicycle ride. Take family or friends out on a bicycle ride around Zoo Lake. Zoo Lake is a favourite for many of Joburg’s residents. It also boasts the Coronation Fountain and is a popular spot for walking your dog and enjoying a meal at one of the restaurants or pubs.
6. Get in touch with nature. Despite a busy life, slow down and take the time to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors this winter. Visit Sandton Central Park. This park is small, intimate and located in the heart of Sandton. It occasionally hosts live concerts and other events. The park boasts a grassed amphitheatre, sculptured garden beds, indigenous trees, solar powered lights, seating and a magnificent garden. Sandton Central Park is the ideal spot to enjoy a quick coffee and lunch.
7. Visit Joburg Zoo! The zoo is one of the most popular local attractions in Joburg, with animals from around the world including those from the Amazon Basin, the Big 5, white lions and the aquarium.
For more information and suggestions on other locations in Joburg that you can visit to participate in outdoor activities this winter, visit: www.jhbcityparks.com
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo develops and maintains, amongst other things, the city’s parks, cemeteries, nature reserves, bird sanctuaries, main arterials, Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Johannesburg Zoo. We’d like to hear from you about your experiences with us. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and share your outdoor winter pictures. Use the hashtag #WelcomeOutside