What better way to kick off the silly season with a great picnic under the trees? Here are the pros and cons of five family-friendly picnic spots in Jo’burg
1. Zoo Lake
Where? Cnr Jan Smuts Avenue and West World Street, Parkview, 2193
Pros: Situated opposite the Johannesburg Zoo, Zoo Lake is an ideal spot for a family picnic. There is enough space to play a soccer game or take out the braai stand – there is even a demarcated braai area. There are rowing boats available for hire, but there is no entry fee to the park.
Cons: This park can get packed in a blink of an eye especially during the festive season or on public holidays, so make sure you head there early to nab good parking.
2. Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmerentia Dam
Where? Main entrance on Olifants Road, Emmarentia, 2195
Pros: This park is a great alternative for Zoo Lake. Situated in the suburbs of Greenside and Emmerentia, next door to the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. It has a great open space surrounding a dam where ducks and the canoe club members can be found doing their usual rounds. There are also market vendors selling great crafts on the weekends – really useful if you haven’t purchased a Christmas gifts yet. Free entry.
Cons: Finding parking can be tricky.
3. Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
Where? Malcolm Rd, Poortview, Roodepoort, 1724
Pros: This nature reserve has a beautiful waterfall and a great hiking trail. Whilst you sit under the trees, try spotting the Verreaux’s Eagles flying over the surrounding mountains, an added bonus for all bird lovers. Porters can be found at the entrance to help you carry your baskets and blankets.
Cons: No braais are allowed in the park, but you are allowed to bring your own food inside. This park has an entrance fee of R40 for adults but is free for children under the age of six.
4. Fourways Farmers’ Market
Where? 1 Montecasino Blvd & William Nicol Dr, Sandton, 2191
Pros: This is Jo’burg’s ‘go-to’ farm for fun, food and live music. The Farmers’ market operates on Sundays and the ambiance is always amazing. There is a variety of food, crafts and must-have cocktails jars. The market is child friendly and opens at 9am ’til sunset.
Cons: Parking can be nightmare if you don’t come early, there is alternative parking at the nearby Montecasino for R10. You will need to bring cash to pay for your goodies as only a very few vendors have a scan and pay app.
5. Gillooly’s Farm
Where? 47 Boeing W Rd, Germiston, 2007
Pros: Gillooly’s Farm is known as the family park, with a wonderful lake and plenty of space for running around and playing games. The park has several easy-to-spot bird species. Braais are allowed, and access to the park is free.
Cons: Like most of Jo’burg’s other parks, parking is limited, so come early to find a good parking spot.
Get that picnic blanket out, put the straw hat on and take out that braai stand. Enjoy, it is the festive season after all.