For the Love of Jozi – Bertrams

Bertrams, centrally situated, lies to the east of the city surrounded by Doornfontein, Lorentzville and Troyeville. It’s right next door to the Ellis Park precinct, on a Rea Vaya route and was proclaimed a suburb on the 16th August 1889 when Robertson Fuller Bertram, an estate developer, acquired a portion of the farm Doornfontein.

Bertrams is not the place that you should go wandering the streets of on your own, however there are a few places that are quite safe to go to and are my favourite places to visit in the area.

A must visit is the Bertrams Inner City Farm for great organic vegetables in the heart of Jozi. It’s advisable to make time to visit here as you walk around with either Amon, Refilwe or one of the other ‘farmers’ as they harvest your order.

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Planting seedlings at the Bertrams Inner City Farm

Refilwe and her crew can also be found at Victoria Yards on their first Sundays; do try their freshly squeezed juices, mine been the beetroot, apple and ginger. They have a facebook page – Bertrams Inner City Farm and are situated at 46 Bertrams Road (the entrance is opposite the Rea Vaya station).

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Refilwe in the khaki coat with all the other keen growers.
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A very casual Sunday match at the Joburg Cricket Club 

Right next door to the Bertrams Inner City Farm is the Joburg Cricket Club which caters for the children in the area and has had some amazing success stories, such as a trip to Greece in 2015 with the youth, only to return with the Hellenic Cricket Federation trophy as winners. Visit http://www.joburgcricket.club for more information.

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Twilsharp Studios

Another of my favourite places is Twilsharp Studios which has working artist studios with an exhibition space. It is run by husband and wife team Garfield and Rebecca, who stay in the most intriguing accomodation on top of one of the many workshop roofs.

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Garfield Taylor and Rebecca Haysom
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The house that Garfield built.

It’s not generally open to the public but do keep an eye on the Twilsharp Studios Facebook page (@twilsharpstudios) for upcoming exhibitions. It’s one of those places that makes you feel right at home. It is situated at 40/42 Gordon Road, Bertrams.

Unfortunately most of the area has falling into disrepair but with developments like Victoria Yards and Nando’s Head Office in the neighbouring suburb of Lorentzville things will hopefully start to improve.

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Chapman Cottages as they are known were built around 1905

http://www.google.com/maps/place/Bertrams,+Johannesburg,+2094

 

 

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For the Love of Jozi – Parkview

I’m a lover of green spaces and community activities, it brings a neighbourhood, a city together, a way of meeting people. It gets people out from behind their high walls. Parkview just ticks all these boxes.

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What better way to have some family fun.

Zoo Lake, one of the many green spaces in Johannesburg, is situated in Parkview. Once a month ‘Artists Under The Sun’ is held here, as is the annual Jazz festival. However, it’s just such a great place to picnic or to just take a walk. Over weekends it gets rather busy so I prefer to visit mid week. I’m yet to be tempted to take a rowing boat out onto the lake –  these you can rent with life jackets at about R10 per person and R7.50 per child per hour (please check costs as these can change).

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On my to do list.  
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No need to worry about falling out of the boat, there are plenty of life jackets.

If you haven’t packed a picnic then Moyo, an African themed restaurant, is right there with a stunning deck overlooking the lake and gardens. I normally stop for a drink or a light lunch but they do have quite an extensive menu and are open in the evenings.

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One of  my favourite light snack options at Moyo.
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Entrance to the Public Swimming Pool.

The Zoo Lake Public Swimming pool is also a favourite during the summer months and is well used. It was built in the 1930’s and still maintains all of its original features. I found the shape unusual in that it is a square of 30 mts by 30 mts. There are very friendly lifeguards in attendance and the entrance fee will definitely not break the bank.

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How inviting is that pool?

There is so much more to Parkview, such as the quaint shops along Tyronne Street – and do keep a lookout for events on at Alliance Francaise, maybe even attend one of their language courses, like zulu or french. (www.alliance.org.za/johannesburg)

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Have a great summer exploring the outdoor spaces in our city.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Parkview,+Johannesburg,+2193

 

 

 

For the Love of Jozi – Maboneng

Maboneng (taken from the Sesotho word meaning ‘Place of Light’) is a vibrant area which falls within three Johannesburg suburbs – City and Suburban, Jeppestown and New Doornfontein. I’m not going to go into long explanations of the history of the area etc. etc., but rather what it is that keeps on bringing me back.

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These streets are so alive you can hear it’s heartbeat.

I love suburbs where the “streets are alive” – full of people out and about, sitting at sidewalk restaurants and coffee shops, browsing the street vendors stalls, appreciating the graffiti/street art, buying some fruit from the guy who pushes a trolley along the street selling his wares, stopping to listen to a busker play a tune or having your photograph taken by one of the many ‘street photographers’ – this is Maboneng.

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The street vendors have an interesting way of displaying their goods.

Of course there is the Market on Main on a Sunday, which attracts a lot of people, with their huge variety of food and drinks as well as The Living Room, a rooftop venue with great views of the city while you enjoy some good music, or one can venture over to the New Doornfontein side to check out some really incredible street art or visit the Agog gallery, ending with a drink on their rooftop.

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Great public art can be found everywhere in the area.

 

Why do I keep on returning here – for a number of reasons one of which is that I feel safe, I’ve made good friends with some of the vendors, I’m a avid book collector and a few of my favourite bookstores are here – David Krut Bookstore, Bridge Books and then over a weekend there are also a few sidewalk book dealers. It is seldom that I have left here without finding another great book to add to my collection.

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Great food to be found at the Sunday Market on Main

It’s a place that needs to be explored as there is just so much to see and experience – meet a friend for coffee or lunch, check out the unusual wares in some of the shops, support the sidewalk vendors or just discover the amazing artworks all around. I’ll let you in on my favourite eatery – it has to be James at Maverick Corner for an authentic Ethiopian meal under the olive trees. To escape the crowds for a quiet drink or coffee then Bertrand on Fox Street is the place.

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For that moment when you want to escape to somewhere quiet.
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Or if you’ve over indulged, head to the New Doornfontein side for a quick free workout.

http://www.mabonengprecinct.com/find-us/

 

 

For the love of Jozi – Newtown

Newtown has so much history attached to it, so I’ll firstly fill you in on a brief history of the area before I let you know why I frequent the place –  The Newtown precinct was originally known as “The Brickfields” due to the high levels of clay in the area which established brick making as a popular form of generating income at the turn of the century. In 1896 it’s location, close to the city centre and the railway line, attracted a lot of businesses to the area and the name given at the time was Burghersdorp, wherein about 7000 people of all races lived. In 1904 when the bubonic plague broke out the local fire brigade was ordered to torch the Location, as it was now referred to, and it burnt for three days. When they rebuilt the area it was then named ‘Newtown’.

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Building of the Newtown Fresh Produce market. (Taken off the internet, unfortunately with no credits available)

I started frequenting Newtown regularly when the first outdoor flea market started on Mary Fitzgerald Square in the 1980’s, along with visits to ‘Kippies’ for some jazz and the ‘Yard of Ale’ just to catch up with friends. There was of course also the Market Theatre that opened in what was previously the fresh produce market, in 1976 and operated as an independent non-racial theatre.

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Market Theatre building
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Mary Fitzgerald recently got a blue plague

With the new Newtown Junction sitting alongside the Market theatre it helps make attending shows in the evening so much easier for parking and security. There is also a very good tour of the Market theatre which takes you backstage and also points out some of the old signage and pay stations from when it was the produce market. For more information check out their webpage <markettheatre.co.za>.

Newtown to me has always been the ‘Gallery of Graffiti‘, and this is where my love of this art form started.  Under the freeway the support pillars of the motorway get painted once a year for the ‘Back to the City’ festival. I love graffiti/street art so I do make frequent trips to see what I can discover as it spills out over the area. Newtown also has some of my favourite pieces of public sculptures – Brenda Fassie outside the Bassline and Kippie Moeketsi outside what was Kippies Jazz Club. Then there are the Newtown Heads by a group of local carvers and recently restored by Americo Guambe who originally lead the team who first carved the heads in 2001.

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Some of the grafiti around Newtown.
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At the launch of the refurbished Newtown heads. (photo by Rakesh Paital)

Other activities that get me coming back are the exhibitions put on at the Market Photo Workshop (www.marketphotoworkshop.co.za) which is also a school of photography, a gallery and a project space opened in 1989 by renowned photographer David Goldblatt.

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre (www.sci-bono.co.za)runs amazing exhibitions such as ‘Body Worlds’ and more recently and still running  “Wonders of Rock Art – Lascaux cave and Africa”. Turbine Hall holds the Joburg Art Fair once a year, showcasing up and coming local talent amongst some well known artists.

Other places of interest are – Museum Africa with the Bensusan Museum of Photography along with other displays and occasional exhibitions. SAB World of Beer (www.worldofbeer.co.za) shows you the history of beer and the making of it. Lastly, the Workers Museum which is one of the last surviving examples of a municipal compound built in 1913.

IMG_2041So next time you are on the Red Bus which has a stop outside Sci-Bono, get off and explore the area but I do need to say that you should be vigilant and best be in a group when walking from one area to the next.

A worthwhile site to visit on the internet with loads of information on the area is http://www.newtown.co.za

http://www.google.co.za/maps/place/Newtown,+Johannesburg,+2001

 

 

For the Love of Jozi – Victoria

Victoria is located east of the CBD, between Houghton Estates and Norwood, on what was once part of the farm Klipfontein owned by BP Viljoen. It appears to be named after Queen Victoria who died the year before it was proclaimed in December 1902. It has always been associated with Norwood and I don’t think many people realise that the top end of Grant Ave actually falls within Victoria.

It’s a tiny residential suburb with pretty tree-lined streets and not much else besides a quaint nursery, called Andersons, which has been in operation for over 100 years. Everytime I have visited this nursery I have managed to come away with something uniquely different.

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Andersons Nursery has a wide range of plants.
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This was my purchase at this visit.

Added to this is a coffee shop – offering breakfast, lunches and cakes – where you can either sit out in the garden or indoors if it’s a bit chilly, either to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city or just to catch up with friends.  It’s a great meet up spot with a variety of choices on the menu and I can highly recommend their carrot cake.

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The best carrot cake I have eaten.

If you have little ones there is a fun area where you can let them run around freely and play on the playground equipment or let them get creative in the craft centre. Unfortunately, the craft centre was not open on the day that I visited but having a peep inside it sure looks like a fun place to be.

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The area where Moms can enjoy lunch while the kids amuse themselves.
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These two were a bit disappointed that the craft centre was not open.

http://www.andersonsgroup.co.za

http://www.google.co.za/maps/place/Victoria,+Johannesburg,+2192

For the Love of Jozi – Malvern and Malvern East.

Malvern lies to the east of the city surrounded by Kensington, Jeppe, Denver and Bedford Gardens. The land was formerly part of the Doornfontein Farm and named after the urban district of Malvern in Worcestershire, England. It was proclaimed in June 1904. Malvern over the years has become known for the second hand car dealerships which can be found all along Jules Street. As children we were told that this street was the longest, straightest street in Johannesburg – whether that still rings true today I have no idea. The suburb is spilt into two areas Malvern – which falls under Johannesburg – and Malvern East  – which falls under Germiston, I’ve been unable to establish how this came about.

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The Malvern and Belgravia – Boys and Girls Club building on Jules street.

I have visited Malvern many times and still do for a couple of reasons.  My earlier memories of this suburb are of when I hung out with the Hells Angels and we used to go to the Boys and Girls Club on Jules street for Sunday night movies, which were held in what was then a boxing club. Presently, I still  visit this same building but for very different reasons, as on the ground floor is The Mediterranean, a Portuguese supermarket that sells great fish, meat, bread, spices, etc. It’s been running for about 32 years and is now owned by the Sequeiro family who took it over in 2009. I highly recommend this place next time you want to prepare something Portuguese to eat. There is safe parking either in front of the store or down the adjacent side street.

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The meat section at the Mediterranean – I can highly recommend their pork.

For all those people who may have felt that they ‘lost’ something when the Dolls House Roadhouse closed down, why not visit the Pure and Cool Roadhouse on Stanhope Street. This used to be a branch of the “Dolls House Roadhouse” until it was sold to the new owners about 37 years ago and who then chose to change the name. (The building I’m sure was built from the same plans as the Orange Grove one.) The food is really good and, of course, their Lime Milkshakes taste the yummy-same. Jean-Claude and his staff will only be too happy to make your visit a pleasant one.

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Pure and Cool Roadhouse
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Pity these trays don’t sit too well on our modern day cars.

The Malvern public swimming pool tucked away in a little side street is well maintained with a beautiful lawn area. I need to go back there on a hot summers day as I’m sure it will be teaming with happy children. (Off Jules street down Marathon Street)

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Malvern Public Swimming Pool

There is so much more to this area and, should you wish to find out more, the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation run the odd tour to Malvern, which will fill you in on the fascinating history of the suburb.

http://www.google.co.za/maps/places/Malvern,+Johannesburg,+2094

http://www.google.co.za/maps/places/Malvern,+East,+Germiston.+1401

 

For the Love of Jozi – Orange Grove.

Orange Grove lies to the east of the city surrounded by Norwood, Sydenham, Linksfield and Houghton. I love the original name of the area “Lemoen Plaas”, referring to the orange farm that existed here where orange trees were planted by JC Esterhuizen, his daughter was married to a Viljoen whose farmhouse became the original site for the famous Orange Grove Hotel, (which is now the Houghton Office Park) prior to its development as a suburb of Johannesburg.

In the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s it was known as “Little Italy” – I fondly remember on a Sunday afternoon sitting on the sidewalk along Louis Botha at one of the many little Italian eateries drinking Sangria while the kids ate Gelato ice cream. However, my time in Orange Grove goes way back to my junior school days, when I went to the Astra, one of the local movie houses, to watch my first Elvis Presley movie.  Later on in life I used to attend “Sessions” (these were before Dico’s and Nightclubs etc. were formed) in the area, such as those which were held regularly at Vreda Hall. Vreda Hall still exists and I’ve often been tempted to go inside but some memories are best left as memories.

What brings me back to this area today are a few places. Let’s start with the Hospice Shop. I’ve been shopping there for about 20 years now, ever since I developed a love for antiques and collectables. I’m now a fanatical book collector so the bookshop gets a weekly visit from me, as does the rest of the Hospice corner with it’s bric-a-brac, furniture, clothing etc.  After shopping head to their Coffee shop for that much needed coffee and toasted sandwich or to indulge in something sweet. There is nothing like a bargain and an added bonus is that you are supporting a very worthy cause. http://www.hospicewits.co.za for more information and how you can help.

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HospiceWits Charity Shop on Louis Botha.

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Always exciting to find something on Jozi. 

Super Sconto, the biggest Italian retail store in South Africa, is another of my favourites with their well stocked supermarket which is crammed with various pastas, gnocchi, speciality canned tomatoes and puree, olive oils, meats and cheeses.  Pop upstairs to the Deli/coffee shop for a panini or pasta lunch or just to catch up with a friend over coffee. http://www.supersconto.co.za

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Super Sconto well equipped supermarket. 
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Some of the products available from Super Sconto.

Finally, the Radium Beer Hall – this well known landmark of the area is also the oldest surviving pub in Johannesburg. The Radium was originally opened as a ‘tearoom’ in 1929 by the Khalil family. The present bar counter was rescued from the Ferreirastown Hotel and is well over a 100 years old. It has become a renowned live music venue with music events happening every week but still remains a popular local. Tuesdays are very popular, with their half priced pizzas been a favourite. http://www.theradium.co.za

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Radium Beer Hall an institution for many.

Orange Grove has one of the ‘Development Corridors‘ running through it with the installation of the Rea Vaya bus route and it’s stations been developed along Louis Botha Avenue. I’m excited by the fact that in some of the developments in the area the community are involved and their ideas are taken into account by #ArtMyJozi  – a collaboration between the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) and Trinity Sessions. You can get more information here – http://www.thetrinitysession.com.

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A familiar sight in the Orange Grove area, is this friendly recycler with his well decorated trolley. He is quite willing to let you take photos for a couple of Rands.

http://www.google.co.za/maps/place/Orange+Grove,+Johannesburg,+2192

For the Love of Jozi – Cottesloe

 

Cottesloe lies to the West of the city centre surrounded by Auckland Park, Vrededorp and Wits University. It was named by a former Minister of Lands, Dr. Adam Jameson, after a Western Australian town situated some 11km south-west of Perth. (South African Place Names – Peter E Raper). Cottesloe is perhaps better known for the Egoli Gas Works, which cannot be missed when driving in the area, with its huge black gas tanks and the intriguing derelict buildings that stand alongside them. These works were inaugurated in 1929 on what was considered to be the perfect site as it was out of town but within reach of its consumers, after the original gas works in Newtown closed in 1928 having opened in 1892; it is also deemed to be one of the most historical and architecturally significant sites in Johannesburg.

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From the interior of  the old gas works building

I was fortunate enough to explore parts of the old gas works building at the launch of the book “The Johannesburg Gas Works” which was comprehensively put together by Monika Laufarts and Judith Mavunganidze. (This book is available from http://www.fourthwallbooks.com

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Love the POTS sign.

However, it’s what occupies a bit of the old gasworks on the south side of the site that keeps me coming back to Cottesloe – the Liebermann Pottery which was established by Sammy and Mary Liebermann on their return to Johannesburg, from London, as trained ceramicists in 1954. Originally it was a home based studio producing a range of traditional tableware and dinnerware (which was Sammy’s forte) and picture ceramic tiles (ably done by Mary). Unfortunately, this is the only bit of history that I’ve managed to find on this establishment.

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One can spend hours here just browsing.

I love coming here with it’s overstocked shelves of all things ceramic – all in beautiful patterns and colours. The outside is also overflowing with vibrant coloured flower pots and one can’t help but be tempted to get something to take home.  Besides that, from the outside area you get another view of the old gasworks building – there is something quite fascinating about this structure. (www.liebermannpottery.net)

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Colours to suit everyone.
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The intriguing derelict gas works building in the background.
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If you are lucky you could be escorted by the resident rooster.

Also in Cottesloe is the University of Johannesburg Bunting Road Campus, which holds regular art exhibitions in the FADA Gallery (Faculty of Art Design and Architecture). Join their Facebook page to keep up to date with what, and when, exhibitions are on.

https://www.google.co.za/maps/place/Cottesloe,+Johannesburg,+2092

For the Love of Jozi – Craighall Park

Craighall Park lies to the north of the city centre, bordering Delta Park in the West and Parkhurst in the South. It’s very centrally situated to Hyde Park, Rosebank and Sandton.

In 1891 the farm Klipfontein was bought by William Gray Rattray who renamed it Craighall after his birthplace in Blairgowrie, Scotland. His estate comprised of the suburbs now known as Craighall Park, Craighall and Blairgowrie (You can read more on the history here – http://www.theheritageportal.co.za/article/short-history-craighall).

Craighall Park Hotel old paper
I found this on the internet and loved the times the busses ran – has anyone any idea what the seven and half after each hour means?

Way back in the 70’s I frequented the Craighall Park Hotel as it was owned briefly by some friends of mine, but have not been in the suburb for many years besides driving through along Jan Smuts.  I recently returned to the area when I visited the REEA Foundation (Rand Epileptic Employment Association) which I had known about for some time but had just never got around to going to. It’s one of those places I wish I had made the effort to get to long ago.

 

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The Book Shop has this little area outside called the ‘Do It Yourself Tea Shop’

Why am I excited about this place? Firstly it has an incredible second hand book shop and as an avid collector of collectible books (which they have in a special section and are reasonable priced) I was in my element. Besides that, it must be one of the most organised charity book stores I’ve ever been to. Everything is in categories and alphabetically sorted. The staff, made up of volunteers and residents of REEA, are friendly and helpful – to such an extent that I find it hard to leave.

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Rambling Rose Charity Shop which had just had a big sale at their Purple Day celebrations. Purple Day is the National Epilepsy Awareness Day.

Secondly, a few steps from the bookshop is the Bamboo Palace which does furniture restorations and holds paint technique classes, whilst a little bit further down is the Rambling Rose Charity Shop which is always good for a browse and to drop off your unwanted items.

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Everyone you meet is so friendly.
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The vegetable gardens, well worth a visit on a Wednesday or Saturday morning when they sell what is available.
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Barry’s Macro Vegetables.

Taking a walk past the horse stables and along a little dirt road past the veggies gardens makes one feel as if you are way out in the country, forgetting that just up the road Jan Smuts Avenue is gridlocked with traffic. I met Barry who took me into a hothouse (which I believe is a historical building) to show me the macro veggies he is cultivating. This place and it’s smells awakened childhood memories of my grandfather for me, as he had a similar type hothouse wherein he cultivated Barberton Daisies. At the veggie gardens I spotted a lemon tree with the biggest lemons on it that I have ever seen – Barry told me that the fruit is a cross between a lemon and a grapefruit, got a couple to take home to try.

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Gerakaris Winery
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Colourful Splendour Nursery

On the property is also the Gerakaris Winery (read more about this here http://2summers.net/2018/02/12/winery-joburg) as well as the Co2 Lab, where you can take pottery classes or just browse around their shop, from which I got some stunning ceramic gift tags. Also on the property is the Colourful Splendour Nursery which is stocked with a huge variety of plants and all of your gardening requisites.

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Delta Cafe which has a great menu, is pet friendly and has an access gate to the Braamfontein Spruit trail and Delta Park.

At last I reached the Delta Cafe for a much needed coffee break.

You can find out more information on this wonderful piece of Craighall Park here – http://www.inyourpocket.com/johannesburg/reea-foundation-urban-farm or http://www.reea.org.za

http://www.google.co.za/maps/place/Craighall+Park+Randburg,+2196

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