So a German friend sent me a message on Facebook,she was in town for a short period and wanted catch up, have lunch and then go for a walk in “The Wilds”, it’s a big park bordering Hillbrow and Houghton which has had a dubious reputation in the past with numerous muggings having taken place.
Over the last few years an artist by the name of James Delaney “adopted” the park and started installing his sculptures, the most notable being the 67 owls installed in honour of Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of service to the country – this and other sculptures, as well as cleaning up the area has seen a resurgence of interest and hundreds of new visitors.
On the day we visited it was slightly overcast and beautiful. It’s very peaceful despite the nearby traffic and well maintained – a pleasure to visit when one considers the other options. There were groups picnicking , couples strolling and kids just playing. All without a care in the world. The park opened in 1938 and the walkways and buildings have such a lovely old feel to them. There are numerous indigenous plants and trees with most of the trees being identified with small green signs showing their botanical name and common name.
The park was originally donated to the city by and investment company on the condition that the land be kept in its natural state as a park.
It’s hilly and you do climb, but the views are phenomenal and the old stone paths are beautiful, it’s obvious why it was previously a crime hot spot as the dense bush makes it easy to hide- so in the past people were nervous but it would seem as if the residents have reclaimed their park. We walked up and down the various pathways pausing to survey the views, sculptures and vegetation. And we were surprised to find that it is pet friendly as well. So take a walk on the wild side and explore this absolute gem in the virtually part of the inner city.