A Walk Through Old Johannesburg

by | Aug 14, 2010 | Johannesburg, Melville and Surrounds, Tours | 4 comments

Just before dusk yesterday, we went walking in Westcliff — an old, wealthy neighborhood adjacent to Melville. We tramped over a bridge along a busy road as rush hour traffic whizzed past. Then we crossed the street and entered another world.

Sunset through the jacarandas in Westcliff.

The streets of Westcliff are quiet and peaceful and lined with jacaranda trees. The jacarandas haven’t bloomed yet but I love looking up at their black curving branches. In a few weeks they’ll be exploding with purple flowers.

There were stately old mansions, modern architectural masterpieces, and everything in between. We strolled along at a  semi-athletic pace, admiring the gardens and critiquing the houses. Joe told me the names of all the flowers and trees I didn’t know, which I will promptly forget. It’s a fun game to play anyway.

Westcliff was built more than a hundred years ago across the Witwatersrand Ridge, which runs east to west through Johannesburg. This means it’s very hilly. There is a network of stone stairways connecting the streets — Joe uses these stairs for his daily exercise. We climbed up and down several flights, sharing them with the joggers as the sun began to go down.

The Westcliff steps.


As we made our way home, we were chased briefly by an overzealous jack russell terrier who escaped through the fence of his owners’ estate. I tried to grab a picture but he scurried away too quickly.

In other news, Millie has officially departed the house for greener pastures in the garden. Joe and Lucky are mourning her disappearance — apparently she had been living here for several months. But I know she’ll return when I’m least expecting it.

Millie. Photo courtesy of Joe.


  1. clouded marble

    Ahh, was wondering what happened to Millie 😉

  2. Sine

    Such an escape into the past to read one of your earliest blog posts!

    • 2summers

      Yeah, I see these pop up but I never read them now. I’m almost afraid to, strangely.


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