Make the most of spring in Joburg with these 7 picnic spots

Posted by Welcome Lishivha on 3 September 2018

From blankies near dams, cushions with a view and pre-packed picnics, here are 7 spots to help make the most of Joburg’s springtime.

 

1. Toadbury Hall, Cradle of Humankind


Toadbury Hall is a country hotel within the Cradle of Humankind offering a catered picnic on their 25-hectare estate. This spot is a twenty-minute drive from both Johannesburg and Pretoria. Upon arrival, you’ll find a picnic blanket and pillows set up for you on the lawn in a shaded spot. The picnic basket doesn’t include drinks and at R100, their corkage is quite steep (unless you’re very specific about a special bottle you might want to bring) so I suggest ordering from their wine list – prices start at R115.

Their picnic basket includes an array of food – from grilled chicken, fruit salad, chocolate brownies, steak, couscous, tomato and mozzarella balls in pesto sauce, salmon and sour cream and sides that include hummus, fish paste – that’s more than enough for two people.

Do it Costs R250 per person. 0105937523, toadburyhall.co.za. They also host private functions such as weddings and conferences, so make sure to book for availability.
– Welcome Lishivha

 

2. Budmarsh Country Lodge, Magaliesberg


Located an hour and a half from Johannesburg and along the lovely Magalies Meander drive, Budmarsh Country Lodge offers prepared picnics in a scenic environment beneath luscious green trees and overlooking a lovely dam nearby. The setup will instantly make you want to kick your feet up in sheer indulgence.

The picnic basket has a variety of fresh and tasty food like cold meats, nuts, dried fruit, a variety of desserts (including the most delicious homemade marshmallow), mini beef burgers, spring rolls, samosas (there is also a vegetarian option for the basket). The basket doesn’t include anything to drink, but you can order a bottle of sparkling wine or a chilled bottle of chardonnay from their menu, prices from R135 for a Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc or cocktails start from R40.

Do it Costs R550 for two people and opens from 11:30 am. Make sure to book ahead at 0117281800, budmarsh.co.za
– Welcome Lishivha

 

3. Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, Roodepoort


The sound of the splashing waterfall in the background as you lay on a picnic blanket, the luscious green fauna and the biodiversity make this well-maintained spot ideal for a picnic. Bring binoculars to spot the Black Eagles, the pair is known as the only pair to nest in an urban area. They are said to have been resident in the area way before the garden was established. Make sure to also bring a refuse bag for trash and an ashtray if you’re a smoker as there are no bins or ashtrays in the gardens.

This is part of their eco-friendly initiatives to encourage visitors to leave only footprints as dustbins attract bees and rodents. The Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens is a great offering for nature lovers as visitors can enjoy a fern walk, a milkwood terrace, a bushveld area, a wildflower walk or a 3.5-kilometre hiking trail before the picnic. Most of the botanical garden is wheelchair-friendly too.

Do it Entrance is R45 for adults; Pensioners: R30, free entrance on Tuesday; Students with valid student cards: R30. Call 0861001278 or 0877403639 sanbi.org/gardens/walter-sisulu. Open daily from 8 am to 6 pm.
– Welcome Lishivha

 

4. Magnolia Dell Park, Pretoria


This is a lovely small park that’s slap bang in the middle of the city. For a central location, free access, a pond that attracts ducks, Hadadas and other birds, this is a great spot to pack up your picnic basket, fold up your picnic blanket and head out to enjoy a warm sunny day. The park is pet-friendly too and is surrounded by large willow trees. It’s a popular spot for picnicking locals (we found a birthday party happening on our inspection) and is well maintained. The park has no braai facilities, but there is free Tshwane Wi-Fi with 500MB so you can post those selfies on Instagram. There’s a restaurant as you enter the park, Huckleberry’s Restaurant, where you will be greeted by a pretty love lock wall.
Do it Entrance is free and the park is open to the public.
– Welcome Lishivha

 

5. Modderfontein Reserve, Modderfontein


The 275-hectare private Modderfontein Reserve is managed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust and it’s a pleasure to picnic at the popular (but not overcrowded) Fish Eagle Dam. There are limited benches and braai sites in the area (the wafts of grilled boerewors will drive you crazy if you just pack cheese sarmies to eat), but there’s plenty of shade to lay a blanket beneath the Bluegum trees and enjoy serene dam views. We did find there were a few bees, so leave very sugary drinks at home.

Every Saturday, there’s a free five-kilometre Parkrun at 8am if you want to kick off your picnic with activity, otherwise, a variety of trails exists within the reserve for meandering along the Modderfontein Spruit, cascading waters, grassland and hills (a map costs R10). Bring binoculars for bird watching – Fish Eagles, Barn Owls, various kingfishers and even Blue cranes can be seen and picnics can be planned around bird walks on the first Saturday of the month (contact Pat Ayling to book and costs, R10 per person 0824653683).

Do it The entry fee is R30 per person, R15 for children and pensioners. The reserve is open from 5.30 am to 6.30pm in summer 6am to 6pm in winter. modderfonteinreserve.co.za
– Melanie Van Zyl

 

6. Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, Joburg South


11 kilometres south of Joburg city centre is an unassuming 600-hectare nature reserve. Geared mainly for hikers and incredibly popular with trail runners, there aren’t many pristine spots (or lush lawns) for a picnic here. However, there are shaded tables at the main entrance on Peggy Vera Road and plenty of rocks along the routes for seating when hunger strikes out on the trail.

My favourite spot was close to the reserve’s main gate – turn right and head towards the first bridge that crosses the Bloubospruit and find the bench beside the stream and a small patch of mowed grass. Bring binoculars to spot wildlife (springbok, blesbok, wildebees and over 150 bird species) plus good walking shoes. There are 10 hiking trails, the longest of which is about 20km and you can find information boards explaining the achelogical ruins along the way (the park boasts the highest concentration of identified Iron Age sites on the Witwatersrand).

Do it Free entry, open daily from 7am to 6pm, or sunrise to sunset, jhbcityparks.com
Tip: There is a catered picnic option nearby at the Thaba Eco Hotel. R455 gets you a lunch basket with beer for two people and includes a drive to an outdoor Highveld picnic spot. thabaecohotel.co.za
– Melanie Van Zyl

 

7. Ten Bompas, Joburg


Between Hyde Park and Rosebank, this catered picnic option is ideal for a weekend picnic right in the city. The once-monthly picnic is held at Ten Bompas Hotel on the lawn next to their expansive vegetable garden.

All picnickers sit around one low, communal table on blankets and cushions to enjoy the feast. Expect delights like homemade baked bread with hummus and burnt butter
seasonal salad, either a cheese or meat platter and dessert. It’s not the most intimate picnic experience, but you’re bound to make new friends and enjoy a festive atmosphere.

Do it The picnic costs R275 per person but excludes tips. Picnics will be taking place on these following days: 15 April, 19 August, 21 October and 18 November 2018. tenbompas.com
– Melanie Van Zyl