The pretty suburbs of Greenside and Emmarentia are bordered on one side by the Emmarentia Dam and the adjoining Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, and on the other by the Parkview Golf Club. The area was once part of a large farm owned by the Geldenhuys family that was sold in the 1930s to residential property developers, who also planted hundreds of trees that line these peaceful suburban streets.
In this friendly neighbourhood you’ll find an eclectic range of attractions to suit all kinds of visitors, from sports clubs to café culture, and family picnics at the Emmarentia Dam to late-night bar crawls at Greenside’s busy bars.
The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens are one of the most beautiful green spaces in the city with an estimated 10 000 trees and 4 500 rose bushes. Long lawns slope down towards the Emmarentia Dam, while in the opposite direction rolling parkland is framed by a view of the rocky Melville Koppies and lush wetlands.
The gardens include pretty, formal gardens such as the Shakespeare Garden and Herb Garden, as well as the lovely terraced Rose Gardens, which are complemented by cascading waterways and fountains, and are a very popular venue for wedding photography. Pack a picnic and make a day of it.
A night out in Greenside can be as wild as you want, with plenty of cheap and cheerful student hangouts and more upmarket cocktail bars, all lined up along Gleneagles Road. For warm-up drinks with a big crowd the car park-cum-beer garden at Mish Mash has a huge wine selection, or there’s the 1970s township-themed Mamas Shebeen where you can try neon bright shooters with wacky names like Sowetan Toilet
If you’re looking for something more upmarket and less hedonistic, try the Moroccan-themed cocktail bar Po Na Na or the aptly named hipster hangout The Artisan.
Along Gleneagles Road you will also find plenty of places to eat. Vegetarians and vegans should make a beeline for the popular Greenside Café; for gourmet burgers there’s Dukes; and for a good breakfast menu and delicious bistro food pay a visit to the fashionable Trio Cafe.
Head to the corner of Greenhill Road on Emmarentia’s busy thoroughfare, Barry Hertzog, for an eclectic selection of unassuming mom and pop shops selling everything from haberdashery to Indian spices, plus a selection of quirky little restaurants offering an array of cuisines.
At the quaint District Six Eatery you can try traditional Cape Malay food, or there’s the hip Asian spot, Good Luck Club, selling fashionable dim sum and East Asian curries in a stylishly minimalist space. A few doors down is the artisanal Industry Cafe and Bakery for coffee, pastries and a wide array of other baked goods, and for the best value sushi around, the no-frills Chinese and Japanese food cafe, Huamin, is a hidden gem.
Surrounded by so much green space, it’s no wonder that many of the residents of Greenside and Emmarentia are sporting fanatics.
If you are a runner, join the weekly time trial at the Pirates Club, where you can also play tennis, hockey, cricket and rugby. Golfers shouldn’t miss a round at the highly rated Parkview Golf Club with its tricky tree-lined fairways and majestic clubhouse, while if you like messing around on the water become a member at Dabulamanzi Canoe Club on Emmarentia Dam.