One of the best things to do in Joburg is free. Yes, that’s right, free.
It’s time to lace up your walking shoes and head over to Delta Park. Or, well, it will be when lockdown ends. At the moment, City Parks are still closed.
In the hope we can get the dogs out for a walk soon, I dug up some photos of this special spot.
Whether you’re visiting (when that happens again) or living local, Delta Park is always worth a visit. Take a walk, grab your cycle, pull in for a performance or simply enjoy the views. Here’s what you need to know to take advantage of this Johannesburg treasure.
About the walk
Delta Park is big for a city park; it’s 104 hectares large. And there’s plenty to explore, from top to bottom and side to side. There are a couple of dams, bird hides to watch guinea fowl and ducks and a couple of hills, to give the illusion of hiking.
If you go in the middle of the day, especially during the week, you’ll have the run of it mostly to yourself. As you would expect, weekend mornings are especially busy. Saturday takes the cake with the weekly Parkrun, which begins at 8h00. It’s one of the busiest Parkruns given the quality of the trail.
Outside of Parkruns, mornings are a bustle of horses and riders, cyclists, joggers, dog walkers and those that use Delta Park as a shortcut through the city. If this isn’t your style, hold off for later in the day.
If it rains, some of the trails can become a little muddy, but they’re mostly clean, clear, obvious and safe. For those with limited mobility, it’s worth checking out the paved sensory garden which can accommodate a wheelchair. It’s a small area, but it connects to an internal drive overlooking valleys, so it’s worth it.
Anyone looking for a happy meander, certainly won’t struggle – nor are the cycle paths difficult to spot.
Check out Theatre in the Park
I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’ve not taken advantage of the Theatre in the Park previously.
For years, I didn’t even know it existed; I didn’t realise there was anything inside the art deco building located in the heart of Delta Park. Then, I was busy, lazy or just playing homebody.
Things look a lot different now.
I’d love to head over to the Environmental Centre at Delta Park to watch any live performance, even if it’s in Afrikaans, even if we play social distancing and mask games while doing it.
It’s not just a disturbingly pressing need to get out of the house and do something. Despite the even more constant, demanding dreams of travelling, I’m keen to make the most of my neighbourhood. I want to support the vibrancy of my community.
So, yeah, I’ll be heading to the Theatre in the Park when it reopens, whatever the performance. They appear to produce select showings of local musicians and indie plays.
It looks like tickets generally range between R150 to R200 per seat. You can see what’s on offer – and when – by visiting the Theatre in the Park website.
What else can you do at Delta Park?
As with any successful community park, Delta Park offers a lot more than just open spaces for walking your dogs. The somewhat surprising addition of the Theatre in the Park is also just the beginning.
There’s also a Scouts Hall affiliated to the 1st Blairgowrie troop. The fenced-off buildings and land occupy a chunk of space. But Delta Park is large enough that I certainly don’t notice the inability to walk through part of it.
More importantly, it looks like there would be a possibility to hire the space from the troop for camping if you happened to be a smallish group excited (and able) to explore the area.
There’s also a sizeable, well-maintained playground area near one of the parking lots (enter from the Victory Park side). You’ll find nearby picnic tables and garbage bins, which makes this an excellent spot for informal kids parties. I’ve hosted and attended these events – and the readiness of young kids to get out there makes this free, unreservable option an excellent one for tight budgets.
At the end of a walk, it’s also easy to cross over the bridge on the Craighall Park side to grab breakfast or lunch at the Delta Park Café. They’re not vegan-friendly, so I’ve only made the trip once. That and our pack of dogs aren’t great at waiting patiently under the table – though the place is pet-friendly. Still, I hope they survive the trade restrictions handed down during as part of Coronavirus precautions.
Delta Park Café is part of a web of small industry, including a nursery, a tiny winery, a jumble shop and a spot to pick up organic produce, so you can bet I’ll be sharing that info sometime soon.
What you need to know about Delta Park
- Delta Park is open from 6h00 to 18h00. Though the gates are almost always open, you probably want to stick to daylight hours.
- Entrance to the park is free, though you’ll need to check ticket prices for events and performances at the Theatre in the Park.
- There are several gates you can use to enter the park from Blairgowrie, Victory Park Parkhurst and Craighall Park. There are car guards at most of the popular entrances. Please tip them if you can.
- Delta Park is managed by Joburg City Parks. Check out their website for more info and contact details.