Nine hectares of prime picnic location… that’s what Zoo Lake is all about. Over the years its grown in popularity, not only under locals looking for a place to wind down their weekends but for international tourists looking to soak up the African sun in the busiest city on the continent.
Zoo Lake offers an escape from the concrete jungle that surrounds it. The willow trees that line the banks of the lake act as a wall against the Parkmore traffic. What once was a favourite amongst the Joburg Randlords is now a melting pot of different creeds and cultures. Zoo Lake is a public park situated right across the road from the Johannesburg Zoo and hosts lazy boat rides, an African market and the iconic Moyo Restaurant. The park is famed for being dog-friendly and often pooches can be seen chasing sticks and catching balls. It is always busy and often varsity students from UJ and Wits frequent the park to take a break from their studies. Zoo Lake is also the venue for the annual Jazz on the Lake festival, Carols by Candlelight events and the Artists under the Sun open air art exhibition. Plus, two blocks up from the park is the South African Military Museum which is a fascinating visit in itself.
Whether you’re into canoeing, picnics in the park or just napping under a tree Zoo Lake is the place for you. There are also jungle gyms for the little ones and basketball and tennis courts for the older kids. It is worth noting that the lake is not permitted for fishing or swimming but bring seeds or bread along and feeds the ducks, swans and pigeons that hang out around the lake. The area makes for a scenic jog as well. Security is ample and safety comes first at Zoo Lake, but as always it pays to stay alert.
Words and photo by Shawn Greyling
Have you been to Zoo Lake? What did you think of this cool public park? Let us know in the comments section below. Do us a solid and share this on social media – that way we can increase the popularity of our parks, which is a good thing in itself.