A site tour by the Member of the Mayoral Committee, Councillor Nonhlanhla Sifumba to assess the state of parks in the east of Joburg, revealed a treasure trove of inner city retreats with magnificent views of the city’s skyline cushioned by Joburg’s famous manmade tree canopy.
“Joburg has an array of outdoor activities tailored to cater for all residents. The option to enjoy the quietness of The Wilds, or the chirping birds nesting on the bird island at Rhodes Park or the view from the majestic bridge at Bruma Park, are experiences many city dwellers are yet to discover,” stated Sifumba.
The tour was to gauge maintenance standards, identify safety concerns, put in place supporting marketing plans and identify potential partnership opportunities to increase visitors to the parks.
The tour commenced at The Wilds, off Houghton Drive which remains Joburg’s best kept secret and is the most grand of conservation facilities in the Inner City. Its spiral stoned-stairway takes you along the waterfall and prized cacti collection, to the sun dial at the summit of The Wilds. It remains a photographer’s paradise and is popular for nature, wedding and fashion shoots.
Active volunteers such as TJ de Klerk who hosts regular walks in the facility and James Delaney, a local resident who has installed metal, wildlife sculptures along the pathways, are helping to restore the grandeur of The Wilds. Delaney facilitates donations to contribute to enhancing the facility and works closely with the Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo’s (JCPZs) conservation team based in the facility.
In the interim JCPZ has tarred the driveway to the greenhouse, is clearing the overgrowth, eradicating invasive plants, replanting saplings to rehabilitate eroded spaces, repairing the waterfall, repaired the pumps, replaced sections of the vandalised fence and replaced the drain cover in the parking.
“A great deal of progress has been made in reclaiming The Wilds, however there is an infestation of invasive plants that require many hands and more visitors to the facility,” MMC Sifumba stated, adding that The Wilds was in a good condition and acknowledged the valuable contribution of Delaney and De Klerk to enhance visitor experience in the facility.