Joburg has lots of outdoor delights

New normal does not have to dampen your festive season

Restaurants such as Arbour Café have added gourmet picnic packages to their offering
Restaurants such as Arbour Café have added gourmet picnic packages to their offering
Image: 123RF.COM

The festive season is upon us and yes the way we do things has changed but you can still enjoy some time outdoors with your family.  

Johannesburg has 17 nature reserves and 12 river systems running through it, says Johannesburg Tourism.

Residents and visitors can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities during the warmer months. 

These activities range from golfing on some of the country’s best greens, to canoeing and kayaking on dams, strolling, cycling or jogging through one of the City’s gorgeous botanical gardens or parks.

One of the best ways to enjoy some quality time outdoors is by either hosting a braai or taking it up a notch by having a picnic. Johannesburg eatery Arbour Café is one of the few places that have seen the need to cater to those who picnic.  For those who want to explore the city’s picnicking spots they’ve provided a list of them, courtesy of Vibescout.

If you’re in the north of Johannesburg, Emmarentia Dam might be perfect for you.

Emmarentia Dam is a series of dams that make up part of the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and surrounding parks. The dam itself has become a home for watersports like canoeing and rowing, while the vast area of lawn is welcoming for those wanting to picnic or braai.

In the South, Rietvlei Lifestyle Centre is a nice place to go as a family

For a kid-friendly day out, get down to Rietvlei. They have plenty of activities to keep your children busy while you enjoy a picnic under the trees.

If you’re in the west, the natural beauty of the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens should enchant.

This natural beauty is an excellent place for family picnics and walks through the gardens. Although the park does not allow bat and ball games, (because of the conservation happening in the area), there is plenty to do, from admiring the variety of plant life and looking for the small mammals and reptiles that call this place home, to a full outdoor gym.

In the east of Johannesburg, the water features at Gillooly's farm set it apart

The main feature of Gillooly’s farm is the large human-made dam that expands over the majority of the park.

A small stream runs through the remainder of the park. Because of these fantastic water features, luscious green grass, lovely tall trees and an array of bird life all occupy the park, it’s the perfect picnic spot.

Restaurants such as Arbour Café have added gourmet picnic packages to their offering, perfect for those days when you are in a hurry and need something ready to go. The Arbour Picnic Packages come complete with eco plates and paper serviettes and prices range from R1,295 to R2,970 for a package for 10 people.

Here are some outdoor activities you can do as advised by the City of Johannesburg:

Hiking:  You can go hiking in the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve and heritage site. It is the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg’s ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886.  The vegetation of the Koppies is entirely indigenous. For more information regarding access and scheduled tours, please visit:

Adventure: Go backpacking with Lebo's Soweto Backpackers. Lebo hosts day visitors, as well as overnight guests out to enjoy vibrant township experiences that include walks, quad biking, bicycle tours, indigenous cuisine tasting and luxury sleepovers.

Wildlife:  Nature lovers can take a hike through the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, which offers safe, secure and gorgeous 20km hiking trails on an expanse of 700 hectares of bushveld, which features diverse terrain and a selection of game. Here you can book to take a mini safari, where you can spot zebra, red hartebeest and black wildebeest. It’s also highly rated as a birding spot, home to over 200 species.

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