In and around Rosebank: A radius of 5 km

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In this series of articles, we focus on places to visit and sights to see within 5km of The Jack Rose which is situated within the heart of Rosebank, mere minutes from the Gautrain, Rosebank Mall, The Zone and The Firs. Each week we will mention 10 sites, in no specific order of popularity which we hope will tantalise your appetite and encourage you to explore the nooks and crannies of our amazing City and its surrounds.

1. Zoo Lake (1,7 km)

Ideal for picnics, plenty of shady trees and green grass surround this man-made lake which is the centre of attraction. There is no entrance fee. One can hire a rowing boat from a member of the Lions Club and take a trip around the lake passing the iconic Zoo Lake Fountain.

Ambling along the 1,2km circular path one may even encounter the colourful cockatiels who have made their homes in the trees in addition to the plethora of ducks, swans and birdlife that abounds.

Gym equipment (for adults) as well as a children’s playground are also available at no additional charge. The only request is: Please do not litter or build a fire – there are demarcated areas for braaing.

Address: 60 Jan Smuts Ave, Forest Town Contact: 011 4831017

2. Johannesburg Zoo (2,6km)

Moonlight Tour

We focused on the Johannesburg Zoo in an earlier article, but felt it deserves to be mentioned again as this Saturday (29 May), the Zoo will be open for a Moonlight Tour. The focus will be placed on nocturnal animals. Time: 5:15pm – 8pm

Booking is essential, especially due to limited numbers because of COVID restrictions.

Contact: Lebo Moalusi (011) 646 2000 ext 2243 or email:

3. The Wilds (3,4km)

This 16 hectare nature reserve in the heart of the City is situated between Killarney and Houghton. Foot trails, waterfalls, koppies to climb and more form part of this ‘urban jungle’. Indigenous flowers and plants abound as well as a variety of birds and butterflies. In 2017, 67 owl sculptures were added to the Nature Reserve created by artist – James Delaney. Since then, he has added bushbabies, monkeys and bucks … and challenges you to see how many you can find on your walkabouts.

The entrance to the Reserve is located on Houghton Drive. PS: The area is dog-friendly, so you can bring along your pet.

For further information call: (011) 643 2313

4. Constitution Hill (5km)

This is a ‘living’ museum which houses the country’s Constitutional Court. ‘The site served as a prison and briefly as a military fort for 100 years, incarcerating men, women and even children within its walls. Its long-standing history of incarceration and abuse is today laid bare for all to see (which you can do with a personal guide). The sites of these museums – the Old Fort, the Women’s Jail and Number Four – are juxtaposed against profound symbols of human rights, democracy and constitutionalism, making the site a place of remembrance and redemption’, states the website. Guided tours take place between 11am – 2pm daily, but bearing in mind COVID restrictions it is advised that you call ahead prior to visiting to book your place (011) 381 3100.

5. Military Museum (2km)

The South African Military Museum (aka The War Museum) is literally packed to the rafters with war memorabilia, tanks, aircraft and more. It stands as a memorial to the devastation wreaked by World War II as well as South Africa’s military involvement over the years.

There is even the opportunity to climb into a cockpit of a fighter plane or see the inside of a tank.

Hours: 8am – 2pm Mon – Sun (with the exception of Christmas Day and Good Friday). Address: 22 Erlswold Way, Saxonwold Contact: 011 646 5513

6. Everard Read Gallery (300m)

Situated only 300m away from The Jack Rose is South Africa’s oldest commercial art gallery. It proudly houses paintings and sculptures created by our country’s best artists – modern and contemporary. In addition, the Gallery’s website has been created to be a historical archive which can be referenced by historians, artists and students alike.


Until 19 Jun: Setlamorago Mashilo: Against the Grain – this solo exhibition concentrates on the challenges faced by our land utilizing sculpture and photographs.

3 Jun 3 – 3 Jul : Michael MacGarry: Superstructure “a comprehensive body of new work across the Speke and Main galleries in sculpture, installation and two-dimensional works that extend the artist’s practice focused on conjecture as to possible futures, the dynamics of natural resource extraction, registers of human infrastructural development and the attendant climate crisis coupled with critical engagements with the ontology of art making itself. The large-scale installation in the Main Gallery features a purpose-made score by electronica composer Markus Wormstorm” (extract from Press Release)

Address: 6 Jellicoe Ave, Rosebank

Hours: 9am – 6pm (with the exception of Sundays and Public holidays) Contact: 011 788 4805

7. Goodman Gallery (500m)

This contemporary art gallery runs a global programme with prominent and emerging artists with a specific focus on women from the African diaspora.‘“In Context”, explores tensions of place and belonging; and “South-South”, which considers connections between artists from the “global south”. Goodman Gallery’s expansion to London furthers this mission to confront dominant historical narratives and to contribute to contemporary art discourse and social repair.”’ (extract from website).

Address: 163 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood

Hours: 9:30am Tues – Fri; 9:30am – 4pm Sat (Closed Sun, Mon and Public holidays) Contact: 011 788 1113

8. Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Centre of Memory (2km)

The preservation of Madiba’s legacy is the aim of this non-profit organization, established in 1999. Founded by Nelson Mandela when he stepped down from the Presidency. The Centre was opened in 2013 and contains archives of Madiba’s writings, works and accomplishments.

Dialogues are hosted to discuss critical social and other pertinent issues.

Address: 107 Central Street, Houghton

Hours: 8am – 5pm Mon – Fri (Closed on Sat, Sun and Public holidays) Contact: 011 547 5600

9. Melville Koppies Nature Reserve (4.7km)

This area, according to the website, is “the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg’s ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886”… as a result, the area has been declared a Johannesburg City Heritage Site. The vegetation is totally indigenous and there is an abundance of wildlife which can be spotted during one’s walks.

Things you need to know… (as referenced on the website)

  • Melville Koppies CENTRALis always locked and has CONTROLLED ACCESS ONLY for people on hikes or walks. Please refer to Hike/walk/map for details of opening times. Other tours may be booked on 011 482 4797.
  • Melville Koppies EASTis open daily for walks and socialised dogs are welcome.
  • Melville Koppies WESTis open daily but it is advisable to walk only on scheduled walks. Do not take valuables onto EAST or WEST as these are public open spaces.

Please Note: No braais, camping, picnicking, radios, mountain bikes or vehicles.

Address: 4 Judith Road, Emmarentia Contact: 011 482 4797

10. Johannesburg Botanical Gardens (3,7km)

The 81-hectare Botanical Gardens are bordered by Emmarentia Dam. Housing an arboretum, a Shakespeare Garden, Rose Garden, Herb Garden and Hedge Demonstration Garden the area contains a mix of exotic and indigenous flora.

It is yet another fabulous open space to picnic, watch the canoeists on the water and walk one’s dogs. Most of the area is grassed and the pathways have been designed to offer a choice of short and long routes around the gardens.

Emmarentia Dam itself is historic and dates back to the end of the Anglo Boer War when it was constructed on the farm ‘Braamfontein’ – now the site of the Gardens too. Allegedly the stone used to build the Dam was taken from the Melville Koppies mentioned above.

Address: Olifants Road, Emmarentia

Hours: 6am – 6pm Contact: 011 7126600

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