Things to do in Johannesburg during lockdown

Posted by Anton Crone on 14 July 2021

Local resident Ryan Enslin discovers that great takeaways and the green spaces of Johannesburg can make life during lockdown quite pleasant.

Entrance to James and Ethel Gray Park

Following our family meeting on 11 July 2021, with adjusted lockdown regulations continuing, the pace of life in Joburg is affected. The list of what we cannot do changes as we are encouraged to stay safe by remaining at home.

Although we can once again sit down for meals in restaurants (sans alcohol), routines have been turned on their heads. So I put my thinking cap on to rearrange my daily routine and find a way to get some mojo back. This is how you can too.

Takeaway coffee at James and Ethel Gray Park

During Adjusted Alert Level 4, my morning coffee routine soon became a quick pop-in at Hillbrewed Coffee Company in Jewel City Maboneng and a howzit to Tebza as I grabbed the largest takeaway he could make me. Coffee in hand I headed in the direction of James and Ethel Gray Park in Birdhaven to take in the city as she awoke. If you are an early bird you will be spoilt with choice views of the sunrise over Joburg.

I find the energy of the city infectious and a really great way to start a new day. I’ve had a few great bursts of inspiration from this little change already.

Meet: Tebza

Tebza runs Hillbrewed Coffee Company in Hillbrow

Chatting to owner and inspiration behind Hillbrewed Coffee Company, Tebogo Mabye (Tebza), he shares how he discovered a love for coffee in 2010, which led him to open a coffee shop in Hillbrow. As a son of this often forgotten part of Joburg, Tebza has proudly incorporated it into theessen ce of what he does today. The first lockdown saw him close the first shop and create a new one within the Jewel City complex in March 2021.

A good cuppa on the hill overlooking Jozi

The local community has stood by Hillbrewed and supported the new business. One patron purchased 70 coffees, which Tebza distributed to the homeless via a voucher system and made some freebies available for other regulars. “Investing in people is what has saved my business” he says, “both staff and customers”. You don’t have to sell me, I’m a loyal Hillbrewed regular.

Visit Hillbrewed Coffee Company at 42 Phillips Street, Maboneng and James and Ethel Gray Park at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Melrose Street, Birdhaven.

Toast the sunset, (non-alcoholic) beer in hand

As much as I love a sunrise, I also enjoy a really good sunset. I found myself a non-alcoholic beer (a new appreciation cultivated during the first lockdown) and took a walk through The Wilds Nature Reserve in Houghton. The setting sun makes for a wonderful backdrop at the end of a busy day, and if I close my eyes tight enough as I take a sip, it tastes like the real stuff.

The author swigs a zero alcohol sundowner – same same but different

The entrance to The Wilds

I may not have the company of my friendly waitron Sims, striking up conversation as he does when I arrive at my local, but The Wilds are well frequented and the people are friendly. Smiles from dog-walking folk will have to replace smiles from Sims for now.

Visit The Wilds at the corner of Houghton Drive and St Patricks Road, Houghton.

Savour legendary Joburg pizza at an abandoned farmhouse in the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve

Pizza is my thing, I could eat it daily. Since before my voice broke, my family has been loyal Gino’s customers. Gino’s is also very close to my home and serves as my local during non-lockdown times. They know my order by heart and I seldom need to ask for the Mexicana with banana (yip, I’m one of those people). Think of Cheers, but in Robertsham.

Enter the Klipspringer Nature Reserve and you’ll leave the city behind

These days, a quick call to Gino’s and I have the spicy mince and banana bliss to hand as I head for the Green Lung of the South at the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve. The reserve offers many trails, and I usually opt for the one past the abandoned farmhouse.

The warm sun on my face, beautiful nature all around and food from God himself makes for a truly inspirational meal time. And my pizza fix is satiated, if only for a while.

Meet: Gino

“My father always said don’t skimp on food” Mr Gino’s, Gino Mazza, shares with me. And this is something he has been doing consistently for 38 years through his legendary value-for-money food. It was always a treat in our home when we were told we were off to Gino’s for supper. “Generations pass through these doors” he continues, both in customers and staff.

Pizza maestro Gino in his kitchen

Takeaways keep the business going during challenging lockdown times, with a well-established and loyal customer base cultivated over the years. It’s great that we can once again sit down at Gino’s, but they will also deliver literally anywhere in Joburg. Gino beams with pride as he tells me of a delivery this past week to the West Rand, a good 40-minute drive away. Legendary pizza presided over by a legend of Joburg.

Visit Gino’s at 126 Harry Street in Robertsham or give them a call on (011) 680 1819 to arrange delivery across Joburg. Find the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve at 129 Peggy Vera Road, Kibler Park.

Go Forth and Explore

Johannesburg boasts some of the best green spots around and locals are spoilt for choice across the city. Understand the regulations and get outdoors to return some semblance of normality to your daily routine, with a COVID-busting twist.

And in so doing we may just have a hope of getting this pandemic under control for once and for all.

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