Finding Sanctuary in the Big City || Johannesburg

When people imagine Jo’burg, they tend to picture the hustle and bustle of the big city – full of towering buildings, blaring hooters, and brusque people. In fairness, that’s mostly true. It’s easy to feel like you’re a cast member from Ants when you drive through Sandton CBD. If you manage to go more than a block without someone hooting, well Dorthy, you’re probably not in Jo’burg anymore. And there’s a reason Jo’burg wasn’t given the moniker “The Friendly City”.

But if you’re prepared to look (and enlist the help of some Instagram friends – thanks Michaela!) Jo’burg has some secluded corners of tranquility – though at 1.25km2, the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens can hardly be considered a hidden gem!


johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city

johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city

These beautiful gardens, on the edge of the Emmarentia dam, are a haven of peace, right in the middle of the city. It’s an odd sensation. When you stand at the dam, you can see all the giant buildings, and a steady stream of cars. But all you can hear is the rustle of the trees and ducks quacking quietly.

I live in a coastal town that only has two seasons: beach weather and hurricane weather. We don’t really get autumn, specially since most of the trees here are evergreens. So seeing all these towering trees covered in reds and oranges and golds was absolutely magical. Everything about the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens is something straight out of a fairytale.

There’s really something for everyone. There are wide open spaces where your children can run around and play. You can go canoeing on the lake. There are rose gardens to walk through. Even a succulent garden – every blogger’s dream!

johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city

The pictures in my last post were taken in a lovely archway in the Rose Garden. While we were wrapping up the shoot, some security came and started asking us why we were taking pictures. Eventually it came out that it was fine for us to be taking pictures for personal use, but they thought that because we were using a big camera we might be planning on selling the pictures. The next part was strange. One of the security guards kept telling me that it’s women’s month so I must be proud and keep taking my photos and enjoy myself. He was very sweet, but all in all it was just…odd.

johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city
johannesburg botanical gardens and emmarentia dam sanctuary in the big city

If you live in Jo’burg or you’re planning on visiting, I can’t recommend the Botanical Gardens enough. If I lived in the area, it’s the kind of place I could happily go every day on my lunch break. I might even be persuaded to exercise by stopping in for a run after work. I love going on holiday to big cities, but even I sometimes just need to sit somewhere quiet and take a breath. If you live there, I can only imagine you feel that even more. And the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens are the perfect sanctuary of peace when you need to get away.

If you liked this post, you might enjoy HOGSBACK ARBORETUM and STARWAYS ARTS CENTRE.

Follow:
Share:

6 Comments

  1. July 6, 2017 / 11:41 am

    the JHB is beautiful.

    • Kelly Hoggons
      August 8, 2017 / 8:55 am

      Isn’t it just??

  2. July 7, 2017 / 11:42 am

    That looks beautiful, I love the cacti and the red leaves!

    • Kelly Hoggons
      August 8, 2017 / 8:56 am

      It was magical!

  3. Nikki
    August 16, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    Hi Kelly. Beautiful photo’s you’ve taken. Especially the one of the pinky coloured rose up close!! Do you know if they allow one to have picnics in the Rose Gardens at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia? It would be such a beautiful setting to have a picnic in!! It would be like Heaven to me as am a huge rose fan!!

    • Kelly Hoggons
      August 17, 2017 / 10:35 am

      Thank you! As far as I know, you are allowed to picnic throughout the gardens 🙂 If you’re a rose fan, I’d definitely recommend trying to go in spring or summer. We went in autumn, and there were still a surprising number of roses flourishing, but the pictures I’ve seen of the beds in full bloom are breathtaking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *