Doing the touristy thing at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg
I found myself at Cape Town International Airport on Friday afternoon boarding the 16h00 Kulula flight to Lanseria International Airport – a weekend up to Egoli for my brother’s birthday. My brother has lived in Johannesburg on and off for a number of years and I’ve visited a few times but have never really done the touristy thing. So, this time I wanted to at least see something that the city is known for.
I’d decided that the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens would be our nominated tourist visit but we couldn’t find our way there and en route drove past a sign for Zoo Lake so we opted for that instead! I’m sure the botanical gardens are equally as lovely but I was really impressed with Zoo Lake … I’d read somewhere that Johannesburg is the most ‘treed’ city in the world and I can believe that now that I’ve seen the size of the Zoo Lake park …
The grounds are large, in fact so large that to stroll around the park can take between 60 minutes and two hours, depending on the route chosen. As the name suggests there is a lake, complete with row boats for hire and ducks hungry for a chunk of bread! Take the kids down for a picnic or braai during the school holidays or over the weekend and you’ll be able to keep them occupied for hours! If you plan a visit then perhaps make it on the first weekend of the month. The ‘Artists under the Sun’ monthly art market is held on these weekends.
Zoo Lake is probably one of the safer parks in the city and certainly when we visited on Saturday morning it was relatively busy with people braaing, rowing on the lake, walking or just lying enjoying the sunshine but it is a public space and one should use common sense. Try to walk in a group of four of five people and keep an eye on what is going on around you.
Zoo Lake Park is situated on Jan Smuts Avenue and is a quick 15 minutes from the city centre. Boats are not available for hire on a Monday but can be rented out on public holidays. Renting times during the summer months (1 September to 30 April) are from 9.30am to 5.00pm and from 9.30am – 4.30pm during the winter months. Costs are R7.50 per adult and R5 per child with a minimum charge of R10 per boat.
I really enjoyed my visit to Zoo Lake and am so pleased we opted out of botanical gardens visit (we’ll do that next time)!
Photographs taken at Zoo Lake (click to enlarge)