Joe and I spent Sunday afternoon at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden, a national botanical garden northwest of downtown Joburg. Technically it’s within the city limits but you would never guess you’re in a city while you’re there.
“Garden” doesn’t properly describe this place; it’s a large nature reserve with a complicated maze of hiking paths, a bird-watching hide, and spectacular waterfalls. The main garden area – which includes swaths of green grass and an extensive collection of indigenous and endangered southern African plants – was filled with families lugging blankets, coolers, and picnic baskets. But once we walked up into the hills we didn’t see many other people.
Our time at the garden is best described through pictures.
We stayed at the garden until it closed and it was starting to get dark as we drove home. When we got to Northcliff, a suburb close to Melville, Joe turned off the main road and drove straight up. We climbed through residential neighborhoods and admired the jacarandas, which have burst into full bloom since last week’s rain. I didn’t know where we were going.
Eventually we reached the water tower at the top of Northcliff Ridge. There is a small nature reserve there with amazing views of downtown Joburg, Sandton, and the Magaliesburg mountains.
We arrived five minutes before sunset.
I’m a little upset with Joe for waiting so long to take me to Northcliff Ridge. He says he wanted to find just the right moment to reveal it — I suppose his patience paid off.