Welcome to Week 12 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit Delta Park, which explodes with pink and white cosmos flowers every autumn.
This #Gauteng52 post is cheating a little because I’ve been to Delta Park — a huge city park bordering the suburbs of Craighall Park, Blairgowrie, Victory Park, and Linden — before. But up until yesterday I had never been to Delta Park during cosmos season, which transforms this park into a totally different place.
Cosmos are wildflowers that made their way to South Africa in contaminated horse feed during the Anglo Boer War; the flowers are native to the Americas. The cosmos took to the dry climate of the South African highveld and everywhere the horses fed, the cosmos grew. The flowers seem especially fond of ditches along rural South African roads and highways, and they grow like wildfire in Delta Park.
Cosmos: Johannesburg’s Autumn Leaves
March is the beginning of autumn in South Africa. We might not have the same abundance of fall leaves that I grew up with in America (there are some, but not as many), but the explosion of pink and white cosmos more than makes up for scarcity of red and orange leaves. Especially in Delta Park.
I’ve made quite a few stops along the side of the road over the years to take pictures of pretty clumps of cosmos. But nothing could have prepared me for what I found in Delta Park. The park doesn’t have clumps of cosmos — it has outright seas of cosmos that grow taller than me.
Cosmos season at Delta Park is a photographer’s dream. Don’t miss it.
Tips for Photographing Cosmos at Delta Park
- Get over there before the end of March or early April at the latest.
- The biggest concentration of flowers seems to be behind the Delta Environmental Centre. Follow your GPS to the main Delta Park Car Park and you’ll see the cosmos there.
- Wear sturdy, closed shoes and bring mosquito repellant. The ground is quite soggy in some spots due to all the rain this summer.
- We arrived at 4:00 p.m. and the light was perfect. I’m sure early morning is nice too.
- Bring a few lenses for shooting at various focal lengths and depths of field. Shooting flowers, which are very patient models, is a great way to experiment with photography.
- Delta Park is a great spot to hang out and take photos at any time of year, so don’t limit yourself to cosmos season.
The main entrance to Delta Park is on Craighall Road in Victory Park.