Beautiful Botanical Gardens and Parks in Johannesburg

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There’s a beautiful range of botanical gardens and parks in Johannesburg to explore regardless of the season. Joburg is known as a city of art lovers, a buzzy nightlife, and popular neighbourhood locals, but sometimes you want a little break from all the noise and to fill your lungs with fresh air and your eyes with the sight of some gorgeous greenery. When you’re craving a little Mother Nature, head to one of these lush urban oases.

Here are the best gardens and parks in Johannesburg

Parks in Johannesburg

Walter Sisulu Gardens

Founded in 1982, this luscious bit of land is the result of the Roodepoort and Krugersdorp city councils. It is currently home to more than 240 species of birds, which include the Black Eagles that have set up a lovely nest next to the waterfall for the past 30 years.

With an abundance of sparse open spaces to enjoy a spot of lunch, Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens is arguably the most popular place for picnickers and hikers. It is also a prime spot for book readers to lounge under trees, or birdwatchers to tick some more avian friends off their list.

Stroll through some of the most beautiful cycad gardens, and self-guided trails, then end your walk with a photo in front of the iconic waterfall as evidence of your date’s success.

Cost: R80pp for adults, R45pp for students, R25pp for kids, and pensioners enter FREE on Tuesdays. Book via Webtickets

When: Sun – Tue: 8am – 5pm | Wed – Sat: 8am – 6pm
Where: Malcolm Rd, Poortview, Roodepoort

Website: sanbi.org | Email: sisulugarden@sanbi.org.za | Tel: 012 843 5000

Johannesburg Botanical Gardens

The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, situated in the suburb of Emmarentia, spans 125 hectares, making it one of the largest urban green spaces in South Africa.

Visitors can explore themed gardens that include a succulent garden, a Shakespeare garden and a medicinal garden, each offering insights into different aspects of botany. The Rose Garden is a notable highlight, showcasing a variety of rose cultivars. The park is a popular picnicking site and you can take a break from the city to take a walk, jog or ride a bike.

Guests can enjoy various activities for free! Birdwatchers will find a variety of avian species to sight and guests can also enjoy the Emmarentia Dam for water sports such as canoeing, fishing and sailing small boats. The Johannesburg Botanical Garden also hosts educational programs, workshops, and events focused on horticulture and conservation.

Cost: Free entrance

When: Daily, from 6am to 6pm
Where: Olifants Rd, Emmarentia, Randburg

Website: jhbcityparksandzoo.com | Email: vmkhize@jhbcityparks.com | Tel: 011 646 2000

Parks in Johannesburg

Zoo Lake

Opposite the Johannesburg Zoo, there is an enormous manmade lake surrounded by a stunning park. The park, Zoo Lake, is the perfect answer to city dwellers needing to escape the concrete jungle without trekking too far out. A simple 15-minute drive will guarantee you the opportunity to unwind in the quintessential picnic format.

Depending on the route one chooses to take, the average time a walker spends around the lake is an estimated two hours at most. This can then be followed by a quaint picnic or row on the lake. Or, if you prefer the classic modern-day method of consuming food whilst sitting at a table, then low and behold as the deities of opportune favour you, there is a restaurant on the premises as well.

Being one of Joburg’s most popular and most importantly, safest parks, we would recommend that you attend this green gem during the weekends to fully experience what Zoo Lake has to offer.

Cost: Free entrance

When: All Hours
Where: Parkview, Randburg

Website: zoolake.org

Modderfontein Bird and Sculpture Park

Modderfontein Bird and Sculpture Park is one of the busiest family parks in Johannesburg. You’ll find the space in the heart of Modderfontein, opposite the Flamingo Shopping Centre on the banks of the Flamingo Dam.

The local community and visitors from all over Johannesburg (and beyond) enjoy visiting the park to connect with friends and family in a safe environment. Resident flocks of flamingos, ducks, geese and more provide both a picturesque and educational environment.

A new additional Doggy Park section has been added to the greater Bird and Sculpture Park where pups can enjoy off-leash fun, obstacle courses and more.

Cost: R10pp and children aged under 6 years can enter for free

When: Tuesday to Sunday, from 8am to 6pm | Open on public holidays
Where: Cnr Queens St and Valley Rd, Modderfontein, Sandton

Website: theflamingo.co.za | Email: mail@nevadagroup.co.za | Tel: 011 907 1700

Parks in Johannesburg

NIROX Sculpture Park

Take the entire family along to NIROX Sculpture Park, a 30-hectare green lung that is situated along the Blaauwbankspruit River at the Cradle of Humankind. The park hosts over fifty art installations from the likes of Willem Boshoff, Mohau Modisakeng and Ruann Coleman, and international creatives such as Guillen-Vaschetti (Argentina) and Priyanka Choudhary (India).

And then there was fire… is a restaurant housed in the park that showcases modern rustic cuisine with a creative twist for their small plate menu. There’s also the Lawn Pavilion Café that offers vegetarian and serrano ham baguettes, salad bowls, and sweet treats along with a selection of soft drinks, beers, wines and gin cocktails to enjoy in the park.

Cost: Entry fees are R150pp for adults, R80pp for kids under 12. Book via Howler

When: Saturday & Sunday, from 10am to 4pm. The park is also open on Monday, 1 January 2024
Where
: NIROX Sculpture Park, R540 Kromdraai Rd, Kromdraai, Krugersdorp

Website: niroxarts.com | Email: info@niroxarts.com | Tel: 060 886 2407

James and Ethel Gray Park

James and Ethel Gray Park in Birdhaven is a beautiful, well-maintained park and bird sanctuary offering panoramic views over the city. The space is great for picnics, dog walking, jogging, cycling or just chilling. On the odd occasion, you might spot a group of yogis doing yoga sessions on the grass.

The 36 hectares started as a bird sanctuary – hence the rather apt name for the suburb closest to the park, and are fed by the Sandspruit River that winds through a series of landscaped lawns, indigenous vegetation, walkways, and benches. 

The Katyn Forest Memorial is a simple plaque built in 1981 to commemorate the Katyn Massacre in Poland during World War II is located in the centre of the park and symbolises the bonds between South African and Polish communities.

Cost: Free entrance

When: All hours
Where: Edgewood Avenue &, Melrose St, Birdhaven, Melrose, Johannesburg

Website: jamesandethelgrayparkfoundation.org | Email: sunilgeness@yahoo.com| Tel: 083 304 0864

The Wilds Nature Reserve

The Wilds Nature Reserve is an inner-city park in Houghton where members of the public can relax, enjoy nature and experience the great outdoors. Dogs are welcome in the park, as long as their owner cleans up after them.

The park consists of 16 hectares of indigenous vegetation on the sides of two rocky koppies or hills with views of the city of Johannesburg and its suburbs. The land was donated to the City of Johannesburg by the Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Company in 1924 with the condition that it remains in its natural state and open to the public.

The space opened to the public in 1938 with lawns, ponds and waterfalls with paths through the park laid out in stone. The park is found on both sides of Houghton Drive and was connected by a footbridge in 1965. The Wilds was declared a national monument on 20 February 1981 and a conservation area in 2006.

Cost: Free entrance

When: Daily, from 6am to 6pm
Where
: The Wilds Nature Reserve, Houghton Dr, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg

Email: friendsofthewilds@gmail.com | Tel: 011 643 2313

Delta Park

With 104 hectares of grassland and woodland, and walking trails which link three tree-lined dams, Delta Park is a setting for a relaxing stroll or an intense jog.

There are sensory trails and bird-viewing hides located throughout the park for those more interested in the local flora and fauna. The Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary is incorporated inside the park and is part of the Delta Environmental Centre, where a wide range of wildlife-related courses are offered to adults and children.

Also included are picnic spots located in the south-east corner which is known for being one of the most tranquil spots within the park. Delta Park is also one of the most popular parks in Johannesburg.

Cost: Free entrance

When: Daily, from sunrise to sunset
Where
: Delta Park, Blairgowrie, Randburg, Johannesburg

Parks in Johannesburg

Montecasino Bird Gardens

The bird and wildlife park at Montecasino is a perfect place for a memorable family outing in Johannesburg. Wander along enchanted garden walkways and marvel at the variety of colourful birds, mammals, reptiles and unusual animals from around the world.

In your walk-through Aviary, you’ll find over 60 species of birds including Scarlet Ibises, and Nicobar pigeons, reptiles and small mammals, with smaller antelope wandering freely in the undergrowth. There’s also a bird show running on selected days and public holidays.

Cost: R105pp for adults, R70pp for pensioners and kids 2-12yrs, pay at venue

When: Mon – Tue: 10am – 4pm | Wed – Fri: 10am – 9pm | Sat: 9am – 9pm | Sun: 9am – 6pm
Where: Montecasino Bird Gardens, Cnr William Nicol Dr and Montecasino Blvd, Fourways, Johannesburg

Website: tsogosun.com | Email: montecasino.contactus@tsogosun.com | Tel: 011 511 1864

Gillooly’s Farm

Gillooly’s Farm in Bedfordview on the East Rand of Johannesburg provides a tranquil and peaceful haven away from the fast-paced city. Expect lush greenery, tall trees, and an expansive man-made dam that dominates its landscape at this park in Johannesburg. The presence of a quiet stream adds to its natural beauty. With an abundance of bird life and well-maintained lawns, Gillooly’s Farm is an ideal destination for picnics and braai meetups.

Cost: Free entrance

When: Daily, from 7am to 7pm
Where: 47 Boeing W Rd, Bedfordview, Johannesburg

Parks in Johannesburg

Nortcliff Ridge Eco Park

Positioned 1807 meters above sea level, Northcliff Ridge Eco Park is a super safe 6.9-km loop trail that offers some sublime views of North Johannesburg. You’ll meet families, couples and anyone who wants some quiet time in the city at busier times.

The early mornings and summer sunsets are the best, and the drive up to the top is really beautiful. And on a clear day, you can see as far as Pretoria, Magaliesburg and Hartebeespoort with the naked eye. This is a popular trail for running and walking, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of the day.

Cost: Free entrance

When: Daily, from 6am to 7pm
Where: 2115 5 Lucky Ave, Northcliff, Randburg

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