The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens dates back to 1866.
The farm "Braamfontein" was owned by the Geldenhuys family, who contracted the main dam to be built after the South African War. The dam is named after Louw Geldenhuys' wife, Emmarentia.
With seven distinctive gardens; which include marshland, grassland, trees and cultivated gardens; and located just 6km from Johannesburg's city centre, Emmarentia Dam and the surrounding botanical gardens provide open space and recreational area for the city dwellers and visitors. The park is a popular picnicking site and it is said to be one of the most often places in the city to take a walk, jog or ride a bike.
The Emmarentia Dam is an area for water sports such as canoeing, fishing and sailing small boats. Bird watchers can see geese, dabchicks, moorhens and other waterfowl which make up part of the surrounding ecosystem.