City of Joburg

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo

Johannesburg Zoo


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Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo has thrown its weight behind the City's Explore, Experience & Enjoy campaign to attract tourists to the green city.

Take some time to visit the botanical gardens at Emmarentia DamTake some time to visit the botanical gardens at Emmarentia DamOVER the past 20 years, tourism has grown phenomenally in areas such as Vilakazi Street in Soweto -once home to two Nobel Peace Prize laureates – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu - and the Maboneng and Braamfontein precincts in the CBD.

Now, the City of Joburg's Explore, Experience & Enjoy campaign promotes Joburg's rich suburban setting, highlighting its arts, culture, history and unique parks. The campaign supports visitors on a hurried schedule to see the sights in just 72 hours.

"Given the time and budget constraints of modern life, this '72 hours' tagline is intended to communicate why visitors need to spend more time in Africa's most vibrant and exciting metropolis to best discover its fascinating, complex and colourful appeal," explains Tshidi Mlaba, the City's deputy director of destination marketing.

In announcing its Explore, Experience & Enjoy campaign, the Joburg Tourism team explained the importance of the City's spatial development plans, which are expected to have a positive impact on the booming tourism industry.

The South American exhibits in the Temple of the Ancients at the Joburg Zoo are not to be missedThe South American exhibits in the Temple of the Ancients at the Joburg Zoo are not to be missedCalled Corridors of Freedom, this spatial development vision, in line with the City's Growth and Development Strategy, GDS 2040, involves a massive transit-oriented initiative that focuses on mixed-use development – high-density accommodation supported by office buildings, retail and opportunities for leisure and recreation. The corridors aim to bring people together, and bring people closer to jobs and recreational areas.

A significant part of the GDS 2040 vision is maintaining the city's environmental heritage; Joburg is home to more than 10 million trees and an abundance of parks and recreational space – some 2 000 in total. This lush greenery is a major contributor in attracting scores of visitors.
The most popular of these spaces, and well worth a visit in a whirlwind 72 hours, are Zoo Lake, the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens at Emmarentia Dam, Thokoza Park in Soweto, and the Johannesburg Zoo.

Emmarentia Dam

Emmarentia Dam is one of Johannesburg's "green jewels". Just six kilometres from the CBD, it is a haven of tranquillity amidst the city's bustling northern suburbs. A popular dog-walking spot, every weekend the park hosts families and even wedding parties amidst its extensive indigenous plant collection. Rolling green lawns, a charming rose garden, and a herbarium make the park an ideal spot for time with friends and family.

Thokoza Park

Thokoza Park, in Rockville, Soweto, houses the township's first fountain, popular with children during the city's hot summer days, and Moroka Dam, named for Dr James Moroka, a former African National Congress president. The park is perfect for families, with a children's playground and braai and picnic facilities and visitors are treated to regular exhibitions and concerts. The big TV screens at the park often show sports matches, adding to the park's capital as a recreational and cultural space for the township.

Zoo Lake

Zoo Lake, in Saxonwold, is a favourite of local residents with its large central lake. It’s a popular spot for picnicking, walking your dog or taking a leisurely boat ride. It is the venue for the annual Jazz on the Lake and Carols by Candlelight events and also hosts the monthly Artists under the Sun open air art exhibition.

Johannesburg Zoo

Housed in the heart of the city, the Johannesburg Zoo is now home to the Big 5 as well as a large number of species from around the world. The latest attraction is the Amazon Exhibit, where animals from the Amazon rainforest and South & Central America can be seen. The Zoo is a full day's worth of entertainment. It regularly hosts guided tours and walks, offers visitors their choice of picnic lawns and is dotted with eating spots. Its mini-fairground is hugely popular with children and the animals, when you spot them, always delight.

Greening Johannesburg

The Greening Soweto campaign has spruced up the most-visited area in the city. The campaign is run by Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, the custodian of the region's parks, cemeteries, open green areas, street trees and conserved spaces, and has had some 160 000 trees planted in the township since 2006.

The campaign is part of City Parks and Zoo's commitment to creating and maintaining a greener environment for current and future Joburgers, ensuring the city remains one the greenest in the world.