Nature & parks in Johannesburg

Top Parks & Nature Attractions in Johannesburg, South Africa

Nature & Parks in Johannesburg

  • Traveller favourites
    Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
  • Traveller ranking
    Highest rated attractions on Tripadvisor, based on traveller reviews.
Nature & Parks
Traveller rating
Good for
24 places sorted by traveller favourites

What travellers are saying

  • Heather S
    Nottingham, UK169 contributions
    We caught an Uber to the Military Museum next door, and after doing that, came to the zoo, to make a complete day out. Plenty to see, and the animals have nice big enclosures, and in a lot of cases moats/walls surrounding, so you're not looking through wire fences. Plenty of grassy space to sit / picnic too. At the end, we struggled to get an Uber back as they'd gone on strike, and the zoo was about to close, and we didn't know the phone numbers for any local taxi firms, but the staff at the golf buggy hire station were incredibly helpful, arranging a car for us, and making sure the driver knew where to take us and that we knew what the fare would be. They were so wonderful, at a time when we were starting to get a bit desperate, really appreciated them.
    Written 8 April 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Robert O
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands3 219 contributions
    For a city park, this site is huge (circumference 5km if you include the sports facilities). Moreover, there is a lot of variety in scenery, though English landscape style is dominant. A stream is cutting right through the whole length of the park. Some sections almost resemble forest. Grassy areas provide a sense of openess. There is a rose garden and a lake near Emmarentia dam towards the northeast side suitable for watersports such as kayaking.

    The whole park area is fenced and there is security. The main entry point is near the dam (north side). There are smaller gates on the west and east side, but not towards the south (inconvenient for pedestrians like me coming from Melville). Near the gates are parking lots used by most visitors who arrive by car.

    The reason I got quite enthusiastic about this park is you can move around in a relatively safe environment. Rather essential after being mugged in Joburg cbd.
    Written 5 February 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Blue
    8 contributions
    For years, The Wilds has been mirred by its history after it fell foul of criminals. These days, any mention of going is immediately met with a "is it safe?"
    As a solo female, I went on a walk by myself and at no time was I concerned.

    Whether you want to chill around the giraffe lawns or follow the paths to explore, you're always reminded you're in Joburg with her iconic skyline. The beautiful colors surround you and the sounds of the birds playing mixed in with sound of nearby traffic - it's a perfect urban escape - somewhere to relax and catch your breath.

    Only downside is the limited parking. Overflow parking is available at the nearby St Johns school and there is a pedestrian bridge to walk across to the park.
    Written 31 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Setimela M
    Johannesburg, South Africa9 contributions
    Good hikes. Great for a picnic. Nice coffee shop. Security is at the gate. Free entry.

    Trails marking. Picnic spot with tables and kids playground.
    Written 27 December 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew B
    Lincoln, UK12 117 contributions
    I called here courtesy of the Red bus tour - it is the first stop and about 10 mins from Rosebank Mall start.

    A pleasant park situated in a nice area, not that far from central Johannesburg. As a European by myself instinct told me I would safe here ( late morning) as I saw a lady with young child and several joggers and cyclists going round the man made lake. Unfortunately the park is past its best but the authorities are doing a decent job in trying to keep it in good order and its appearance is not helped erosion work on a fair bit of the shoreline.

    There is a decent block paved path around the lake which needs some attention and generally this large park is looking tired. The park does have a lovely setting and looking into the distance is a background of trees going into the hills. There is a boathouse but no boats for hire when I was there.

    I did have one unsettling moment when I was approached by an opportunist but unthreatening beggar who was after R10 so it does perhaps pay to be vigilant at all times if you are by yourself.

    I enjoyed my visit here and my mind wandered back to how it must have been in it's halcyon days of yesteryear. Well worth a visit if you can access it fairly easily.
    Written 16 April 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • elouise36
    Isle of Arran, UK158 contributions
    A area of stunning natural beauty that I would never have expected to find so close to a city let alone actually "within a suburb" of the city! We were travelling from Soweto and wanted some time out in nature so picked this place for its ease of getting to in combi taxi. We found what was described in a leaflet as the main entrance, but wandered aimlessly up the road, to find out after that access is via another gate down the road (!), so we headed down, found it, and then discovered it was locked! Luckily the phone number was displayed and I got through to a very helpful person, who was eager to help us. She told us the Eastern part of the reserve was open at all times because it is safer (however im now not sure whether she meant western by the time we got there), and gave me detailed instructions on exactly how to find it on foot. We made it! Were so glad as my friend being on the slow side had taken all morning to get ready (Africa time...not always such a bad thing tho!)...and I knew rain was coming.

    We managed to get into the park and head up the reddish coloured soil tracks leading to some of the rocky outcrops "koppies" with stunning (would be on a better day!) views across the whole of the city of Johannesburg. There were many paths to take, and it was lunchtime so we found a sheltered spot as the rain was coming on, as my friend will not eat sandwiches in the rain (!). I could now relate completely to the archaeology of this area, imagining what it was like during neolothic times (we were afterall in a kind of cave....), we could have wondered for hours up here, if it wasnt for the torrential downpour.

    I am so thankful for the telephone operator who helped us find the entrance as it was definately worth the effort, and id love to return to see some of the educational aspects of the site as we didnt have long enough really. We got down the hill, and straight into a combi as the sky opened ;) Couldnt have timed it any better...
    Written 3 July 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Suz v
    Greater Johannesburg, South Africa10 contributions
    A beautiful park where dogs have more rights than humans :) Both pup and I thoroughly enjoyed walking/running right around the dam - if you're worried about your dog being off the leash around so many other dogs for the first time, wait until you get to the other side of the dam before taking her/him off the leash, it's much quieter there.
    Plenty of trees, shade, picnic tables, braai areas, taps, and a few bowls around for pups to drink from. Even a couple of plastic "clams" filled with water that we could soak pup in to cool him down.
    If your dog loves playing with other dogs, this is the place to be. The best part for me was that I'm new to living with a dog, and I got some lovely advice from friendly dog lovers there.
    The staff is friendly, and the cafe looks cute but I didn't eat there.
    It's a little smaller than I had been led to believe - think large plot rather than farm size.
    Written 12 April 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • joyswords
    County Dublin, Ireland7 contributions
    When I go to the James and Ethel Gray Park, my curly ears sway and my tail wags insanely because I love this space. It has hills and crevices, it has woods filled with all kinds of shade trees (oh the sniffing – I simply can’t resist), it has walkways and two playgrounds and the views – oh my Dog, the views! This is one of the best places to see the city in all its glory and if you happen to be there at sunset, then it’s deep red skies and crimson window all-a-twinkle.
    Humans of all kinds trot around this little piece of the countryside in the city; some are young, some are not, but they all have a lovely time. Many bring their little ones to play and romp and gleefully slide down the hills on makeshift cardboard toboggans. It’s a safe space for them too and should they decide to bolt, then there’s one of those new see-through fences to stop the little pups from escaping.
    Finally, let me let you into a little secret – just across the road are some friendly neighbourhood shops including one that has the most delicious bones in town and another where I like to have a nice bowl of cool, fresh water to quench my thirst (caused by all the skittering about in the park - with my doggie friends of course); the kind owners also give my human a cup of coffee while I enjoy my divine libation.
    Do visit us soon.
    Bob Doolin CS. (Cocker spaniel) - my human is called Joy Kanter
    Written 7 August 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • cathM0
    Cape Town, South Africa2 contributions
    This place no longer exists, yet you can walk right inside. No staff, no entrance fee, no attractions. Two relics remain - giants Jan van Riebeeck out on the street and Michael Jackson wearing a thong. Atmosphere much like the opening scene of a horror film. The vintage King Kong lurking in the entrance hall is cool, not sure why it hasn’t been stolen!
    Written 21 June 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • keith W
    Clevedon, UK10 contributions
    Miles of Trails best suited in my opinion to beginners and Intermediates. There are trails of various lengths which are difficulty colour coded like ski runs. I would only class myself as intermediate , but tried a few of the Black trails which we not too challenging, The best bits were near the river and the lake. There were even monkeys in one bit ! I hired a bike for ZAR 175 (£9-10?), it was OK apart from the rear tubeless tyre which had to be pumped up and partially lost pressure fairly soon after, so I felt the rim get banged a lot, and the rear end was hanging out more than usual ;-). Glad it wasn't my wheel !. Bike was a bit tired but adequate for these trails.
    Written 27 August 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Toronto Travel Enthusiast
    Toronto, Canada1 contribution
    In mid-January I booked a last minute tour with MoAfrika for a half-day (closer to 3/4 of a day) tour to the Cradle of Humankind. I was a little disappointed in the tour - there was only one other person on the tour, no guide, only a driver. And it seemed pricey for the service provided - about 2,000 Rand, about US$140.

    But the site itself was amazing. I particularly enjoyed visiting the caves where Little Foot and Miss Mes were discovered. It’s one of the most significant archaeological finds - they were our ancestors! The museum was also very interesting.

    A really worthwhile outing, about an hour from Johannesburg. You can probably save some money by engaging a taxi driver to take you out to the cave and then to the museum.
    Written 31 January 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • sharmla
    Kempton Park, South Africa275 contributions
    This is a beautiful, lush, scenic nature reserve.
    Gates open at 7am and close at 6pm.
    Entry if FREE.
    We saw wildebeest, Camera (or human) shy squirrels. A very brave meerkat. The reserve has more animals, but we did not encounter more on our hike. Speaking of hikes, one can choose either, 4.2km or 3km or 2km hike. We started on the 2km but somewhere along the route, we were enthused bu nature and the pleasant company that we ended up joing the 4km trek and eventually hiked 6.2kms; which we accomplished in a modest 2, 15hours.

    There are braai(barbecue) facilities on the reserve, but one must reserve a braai stand in advance telephonically or by email. Good luck with your communication. Their response or lack of response in our case; caused us a 40 minute wait for the Manager on Duty to authorize us acquiring a braai stand, even though we called days ahead and emailed and got no response. Though kudos to the manager, she immediately consented to us braaing.
    Alternatively one can take a picnic basket and just indulge at leisure. There are no restrictions on visitors taking in alcohol either.

    If you are of the lazy visitor type, there is an adorable. quaint tea room. One can buy cool drinks, cakes, tea, coffee, cappuccinos, toasted sandwiches, etc at very reasonable prices. Do tell the waitress if you prefer your coffee strong, mine was a little weak for my liking. (My mistake, I should have alerted the waitress, I like my coffee strong like the African sun)

    Overall it is an exquisite hiking site for a large family outing or with friends.
    There is ample parking, but get there early. We arrived there at 8H30 am and found parking immediately.
    There is manned security at the gate. You sign in and are allowed immediate entry. It is a secure, crime free hiking site.
    Fellow hikers, (even though breathless) are friendly and will greet you, do responding in kind accordingly
    Written 5 February 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • slinkymacvelvet
    2 contributions
    Large spacious and serene. one of jhb's best parks connected to botanical gardens and emmarentia dam. great spot.
    Written 1 September 2013
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Robert O
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands3 219 contributions
    Westdene dam and lake is between Sophiatown and Melville, some 7 km northwest from the center of Joburg. The lake is surrounded by a park area with a trail all around. Excellent for a stroll. There is also a playground for youngsters. Westdene neighborhood is a relatively safe area.

    The park is fenced. There are two gates (one closes at 6PM, the other at 7PM).

    Westdene dam was the scene of a tragic schoolbus accident in 1985. After the bus crashed through the barriers and hit the water 42 people died, most of them pupils of the Vorentoe Highschool. There is a small memorial in the park.
    Written 4 February 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions about Johannesburg