Second in my series of Sandton Snapshot posts.
While reading my recent post about the impending publication of SandtonPlaces, you may have wondered where the photo on the mock cover of the book — a shot of a dog playing in a river — was taken. A good friend of mine from Sandton, who lives and works a couple of kilometres from where I encountered that cute doggie, looked at the mock cover recently and asked me, “What does this have to do with Sandton?” Haha. Prepare to be enlightened.
The photo was taken at the Sandton Field and Study Centre, a park that borders William Nicol Drive to the west and the Sandton suburb of Parkmore to the east. The Braamfontein Spruit, one of Joburg’s main waterways, runs right through it.
The Sandton Field and Study Centre is a five-minute drive from Sandton City. But if you go there at the right time and stand quietly next to the water, you might momentarily forget you’re in Joburg and think you’ve been teleported to Montana.
The Braamfontein Spruit (spruit is the Afrikaans word for stream) babbles through the Sandton Field and Study Centre.
I took these photos during the South African winter, which is why the trees are bare.
Unlike James and Ethel Gray Park, my other favorite park in the Sandton area, the Sandton Field and Study Centre’s name doesn’t do it justice. This might be one of the reasons why hardly anyone seems to know about it. Trust me though, the Field and Study Centre is nowhere near as boring as its name implies.
In addition to the lovely trees and water, the Field and Study Centre includes a large community centre in a century-old house (read more about the house here), offering exercise and language classes and various other activities. There is a horse stable, a montessori school, and a nice outdoor restaurant called the River Café. The park is also a great launching-off point for hiking or biking the Braamfontein Spruit Trail, which I’ve been meaning to do forever but haven’t gotten to yet.
The Spruit. I still don’t know how to properly pronounce it — sprit? sprewt? sprew-it? — but I think it’s a lovely word nonetheless.
So don’t be put off by the boring name. The next time you’re looking for an outdoor outing in Joburg, check out the Sandton Field and Study Centre. Bring your dog.
The famous mystery dog. I’m still on a quest to learn his name.
The entrance to the Sandton Field and Study Centre is on Louise Avenue in Parkmore, near the corner of 14th Street. The centre does have a website, but I’m hesitant to link to it because Google tells me the site might be hacked. Shame. The URL is fieldandstudy.co.za.