The Magical Bonsai Trees of Randfontein

by | Feb 6, 2018 | Arts and Culture, Johannesburg, Johannesburg Day Trips | 4 comments

A couple of months ago my friend Ang went to a bonsai tree nursery outside of Joburg. The nursery has thousands of bonsai trees and it’s called Bonsai Magic. Naturally, I saw Ang’s Instagram post and went to Bonsai Magic myself about three days later.

Bonsai, as I’m sure you know, is a Japanese art form that involves growing and sculpting tiny trees. I vaguely remember buying a bonsai tree at the mall with my allowance when I was about 12, probably inspired by Mr. Miyagi of the Karate Kid, and promptly killing it. (I’m sure there are others among you who did the same.)

I hadn’t thought much about bonsai trees since those Karate Kid days. Until I went to Bonsai Magic.

Bonsais for sale at Bonsai MagicRows and rows of bonsai. I’ve just realized I really love that word. BONSAI!

Bonsai Magic is owned and run Kathy Steyn, who I understand is one of the top bonsai artists in South Africa. Kathy and her husband have a lovely house with a beautiful garden (the nursery is on the property), lots of chubby dogs, and a gaggle of exotic ducks and swans.

The Steyn garden and dogThe Steyn garden and dog. And lots of bonsai.

Black SwansBlack swans. The Steyns are currently completing a much larger pond for the swans and their smaller duck friends.


More bonsai at Bonsai MagicMore bonsai.

Dog at Bonsai MagicAnother cute dog.

What I learned at Bonsai Magic

I used to think bonsai trees had to be Asian trees. But during my visit to Bonsai Magic I learned any tree can be a bonsai — an acacia tree, for instance, or a wisteria tree, or a baobab tree. Kathy has all of these. She also has an entire bonsai Hobbiton inspired by Lord of the Rings.

Baobab bonsaiA baobab bonsai. (At least I think this is a baobab. Kathy, please correct me if I’m wrong.)

Bonsai HobbitonTiny bonsai Hobbiton. Bilbo Baggins’ house, in bonsai!

There’s a lot of other interesting stuff I could say about bonsai and Bonsai Magic. But I have really bad jet lag right now and I’m sleep deprived and I have no memory and no vocabulary. All I can think is bonsai! Bonsai! Bonsai!

You should go to Bonsai Magic and see for yourself.


Steyns and Bonsai Magic staffKathy (left) with her husband and the awesome Bonsai Magic staff.

Bonsai Magic is at Plot 67 Pieter Road, Randfontein. Open by appointment only. (Incidentally, Randfontein is also home to the Basotho blanket factory. I think I see a magical Basotho-Bonsai day trip developing here.) Call +27-83-710-4243 or email


  1. dizzylexa

    It’s one of my hobbies which I have neglected, I need to get back into it so maybe a visit here will refresh my interest.

    • 2summers

      Oh yes, you’ll love it!

  2. autumnashbough

    I feel mean just pruning my roses in the winter! I’m not sure I’m up to bonsais. 🙂

    • 2summers

      I do think you have to be a pretty fearless pruner.


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