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parks

Cosmos in Delta Park

#Gauteng52, Week 12: The Cosmos of Delta Park

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. Fields full of cosmos in Delta Park. 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 […]

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the wilds Johannesburg

The Wilds: Joburg’s Controversial Garden of Eden

There is a big park in Johannesburg, very near to the city center, called the Wilds. For many years I didn’t go there because everyone said it was dangerous. Even the name — the Wilds, bwahahahaaaaa — has a menacing tone to it. I assumed the warnings were legit. I’ve now been to the Wilds twice over the last several months, and damn, is it beautiful. The Wilds is so stunning and peaceful and well landscaped and immaculately maintained that it puts most other Jozi parks to shame. (I don’t say this lightly, as I’m a serious fan of Joburg parks.) The park was opened in 1938, after the Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Company donated it to the city on the condition that the land remain in its natural state. The park is hilly and planted with thousands of indigenous trees and other native flora, crisscrossed by several kilometers of winding stone paths. Walking on the wild side, through the Jozi Wilds. Walking on the Wild Side I don’t want to totally discount the perception that the Wilds is dangerous. I’ve visited lots of quote-unquote dangerous places in this city — Hillbrow, Alexandra, Yeoville, and many others — but none of them seem to elicit quite […]

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An “Off the Beaten Path” Guide to Joburg

Pictured above: A church service in Alexandra Township. A couple of months ago I posted about the “Three Days in Johannesburg” travel guide that I wrote for TripAdvisor. I also wrote a “Johannesburg Off the Beaten Path” guide, which I’m going to summarize for you here. (Check out my full Off the Beaten Path guide on TripAdvisor, which includes longer descriptions and tips for each location.) Writing a guide to off-the-beaten-path spots in Joburg was interesting because in many respects this entire city is off the beaten path. (By the way, I hate that cliché.) In reality it’s the opposite: Joburg is the transportation and financial hub of Southern Africa and the most visited city on the continent. But Joburg is still an underdog from a tourism perspective and many of the city’s best attractions are difficult for first-time visitors to find. Anyway, for my Off the Beaten Path guide I included a diverse group of places — restaurants, parks, galleries, and shops — that adventurous tourists will enjoy but struggle to discover on their own. I’ve listed all ten off-the-beaten-path destinations below. Where possible I’ve linked to blog posts I’ve written about the destinations. I’ve also mentioned a few other off-the-beaten-path places that didn’t make the TripAdvisor top ten. 1) Walter […]

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My New (Almost) Favorite Jozi Park

This week, while poking around the Illovo/Melrose area for my SandtonPlaces research, I wandered into James and Ethel Gray Park: a city park just off the M1 highway in the small suburb of Birdhaven. Sunset dog-walk in James and Ethel Gray Park.

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