I generally enjoy walking, but not through suburbs where everything is hidden behind high walls. I like to be able to see nature – preferably the sea, the mountains and the wide open spaces, but also smaller glimpses, including the things that people have done with their gardens. So, as I parked the car and set out to explore Delta Park I was aware of a sense of relaxation and expectancy.
Tucked away in Victory Park, about 10km north-west of the city centre, it is a peaceful and spacious area of some 104 hectares – one of the city’s biggest ‘green lungs’. The size did not mean much to me until I stood and looked over it and then began to walk along its roads and paths. It is really very big, and ideal for jogging, walking and just resting. There are a number of benches placed around under shady trees, for those who want to sit and let the time and the more energetic drift by. I met a large Alsatian who greeted me in passing through a mouthful of log that he seemed determined to take home. He was followed by his owner who told me where to find the Plover chicks hiding in the longer grass.
A 7.5 hectare area has been enclosed and devoted to The Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary, the oldest in Johannesburg. Originally formed in the late 1960’s it was re-established by the Witwatersrand Bird Club and the Bloom brothers – Harry, Norman and David. When re- opened in 1975 it was named after their mother. Hides, with wheelchair access, have been built at the 2 dams, and I spent a very peaceful and contented time sitting in the one, and just watching the water and the comings, goings and activities of some of the birds. On the far side of the water the local guineafowl seemed to be holding their annual race meeting, with one or two moving about at high speed. The 2 dams have attracted “various ducks, coots, moorhens and other water birds, as well as the odd kingfisher; the open veld sections attract bishops and weavers, guineafowl and francolin, and the areas of denser bush attract birds such as Willow Warblers, Great Reed-Warblers, and Tawny-flanked Prinias, Sparrowhawks and Owls. The park also seems to regularly attract highly unusual species and in the past seven years Madagascar Cuckoo, Longtailed Pipit, and Ayres Hawk-Eagle, amongst others, have been recorded.”
Other special features within the park are the Sasol Sensory Trail and the Rand Water Water Wise Garden. The imaginative Sensory Trail was opened in 1997 and is intended to assist people, including the physically challenged, to appreciate aspects of nature which do not first come to mind, such as texture, temperature, aroma and shape. The Water Wise Garden is designed to comprise many different, mainly indigenous plants, grouped according to their water requirements.
The Park also houses the Scouts and Girl Guides, as well as the Delta Environmental Centre which aims to enable people to improve their environment by promoting the management and sustainable use of all resources. Their website has the most information about the Park itself as well as good directions and a map. There is a colourful and active children’s area, and clean toilets.
All in all it was well worth the visit, and I would enjoy going back for another walk and a spot of peaceful bird watching.
Swartkrans Walking Tour
Do you see yourself as being the next Indiana Jones? Ok, maybe the film legend’s antic are a bit far-fetched but that does not mean you can’t have a palaeontological adventure right here in Joburg. Why not go on Maropeng’s Swartkrans walking tour?
Swartkrans, one of the Cradle’s richest fossil sites, is usually closed to the public. But on these tours, small groups will have a rare opportunity to observe an active palaeontological dig and will be guided around the site by scientist Morris Sutton, who is currently excavating there.
Swartkrans has yielded the largest sample of Paranthropus robustus, and it is also significant for the discovery of the earliest evidence of the use of controlled fire in Southern Africa, dating back 1-million years.
The tour is topped off with a picnic.
Date: Saturday, 20th November 2010
Cost: R350 per person. This tour is not suitable for children under the age of 12 years old
Make a booking