The ABC of Craighall Park


26 reasons to love the area …. 

A great sense of neighbourhood with a Residents’ Association which is held up as a leading example of community social activism.

Fournos at Dunkeld West Shopping Centre

Fournos at Dunkeld West Shopping Centre

B is for Fournos which means Bakery in Greek – one of the best in Jozi.   Its Greek fare vies with the French style breads and pastries at the Patisserie in neighbouring Blairgowrie. The latter’s baguettes and chocolate brownies win hands down.  Fournos has great bistro style food and an excellent precooked meal by weight section. The Patisserie makes to die for breakfasts. There is also a very good Butchery at the Valley shopping centre where you can get scrumptious skewered marinated chicken thighs. And if you’re a carnivore – delish biltong too.


Colourful Splendour  is a wonderful nursery down by the Spruit – seedlings, perennials, indigenous plants galore.  It’s difficult to practice restraint when shopping there.

Self-seeding cosmos at Delta in autumn. It was introduced via contaminated horsefeed imported from Argentina during the SA War in the early  20th C

Self-seeding cosmos at Delta in autumn. Cosmos was introduced via contaminated horsefeed imported from Argentina during the SA War at the turn of the 20th Century

Delta Park  is a fabulous stretch of open parkland along the Braamfontein Spruit  with dams and great birdlife. It’s a favourite for cyclists, joggers, walkers and their dogs but just make sure you go when it is busy –  mornings and evenings and over weekends.  There have been incidents when it is very empty.

Exclusive books is one of SA’s independent bookstores with a branch at neighbouring Hyde Park Shopping Centre.  Take some time out to browse the shelves and you can even take a few books and skim through them while you enjoy a coffee at the in-house Seattle Coffee shop.

F is for Flowers at Dunkeld West Fruiterers  – hearsay is that their turnover from flowers is more than their turnover from fruit and veg.  They make up beautiful bunches of your choice. No matter what flowers I choose,  I always have flower-envy when I’m there. Other people’s bunches always look way better than mine!

Gym – There’s a recently renovated Planet Fitness Gym at the end of Lancaster Ave with a pool, Pilates studio, a choice of gym classes and good circuit equipment. I can’t say I know it intimately!

Hackle Brooke Conference Centre - well run and great venue

Hackle Brooke Conference Centre – well run and great venue

Hodges is a great family eatery in the Colony Centre.  Friendly,  good food and excellent Sunday lunches.  Warm and cosy inside in winter and lovely outdoor space in summer.   H is also for Hackle Brooke Conference Centre on the Cnr of Conrad and Jan Smuts – 5 minutes from Liz at Lancaster. It’s very well run with excellent facilities.

Internet connection – the new basic essential. The suburb has rolled out one of the first Fibre To The Home [FTTH]  infrastructres  in Joburg.  With fibre optic cables of up to 100meg speeds, it is state of the art technology in South Africa.

Jewelry store at the Dunkeld West Shopping Centre – another family run business with great personal service. They stock Farah: a wonderful brand range of stylish, hard-wearing and incredibly inexpensive watches.

Kid-friendly venues. There are 2 in Craighall Park – Delta Park has an amazing kids playground near the Environmental Centre (entrance off  Craighall Road Victory Park). And at Delta Café  (off Marlborough Drive), littlies can picnic on the grass, clamber up the ladders and slide, get goodie packets to keep them busy, all while adults enjoy a chilled meal at tables  in the dappled shade.

Location! Location! Location!   Almost equidistant from the business and leisure hubs of Sandton and Jozi Central, and 3km from Rosebank, Craighall Park is one of the most centrally positioned suburbs within the inner zone of Joburg.

Market Place makes delicious precooked frozen meals – lasagnes, curries, quiches as well as fabulous home industry cakes and biscuits. Their lemon meringue ice-cream is worth every spoon of calorie intake.

Craft On 4th Ave Photo Courtesy TimesLive

Craft On 4th Ave
Photo Courtesy TimesLive

N is for the Neighbouring suburb of Parkhurst which has loads of pavement cafes, coffee spots and eateries along 4th Ave. It’s a great place to browse the wide variety of little antique outlets, gift stores and small specialty shops.

O is for the outdoors – every Saturday morning there is a Park Run at Delta Park. You can be one of those who runs the 5km, or you can amble along with or without dogs and children in strollers. Either way it’s a great start to the week-end.

Pizzerias – Casalotti’s  makes the best thin based pizza (takeaways) and Toni’s Pizzeria cnr Lancaster and Clarence has a great outside deck area where you can relax with a glass of wine and enjoy delicious pizzas and salads.

Q is for the Quirky hipster haven of Warm and Glad, the place where office-less millennials get their work done.  It has a small but interesting menu.

Cnr Cafe 3 blocks from Liz at Lancaster

Cnr Cafe 3 blocks from Liz at Lancaster

And there are Restaurants galore in Craighall Park – from the award-winning restaurant DW 11-13, to the trendy neighbourhood bistro, the Cnr. Café, pastas at Pronto, the tranquil setting of Burnsides and the cheap and cheerful Chinese as well as the Italian Modo Mia at Shepherd’s Bush on Jan Smuts Ave. And of course not forgetting that H is for Hodges.

S is for sushi.  Want a quick and healthy lunch ‘on the hoof’ ?  Stop by the Fisherman’s Deli at the Dunkeld  Shopping Centre and pick up some sushi and sashimi made while you wait. And you can also choose some fresh fish of the day for supper.

Toast is a chic upmarket beauty salon where you can get great pedicures, manicures and facials.  And if you haven’t  spent enough on your pampering, there are shoes, handbags, jewelry and lots of accessories and trinkets to tempt you.

Ultra chic Hyde Park is across Jan Smuts from Craighall Park – expensive boutiques , lots of ladies who lunch, a wide choice of eateries and a Metro cinema complex.

Video Spot at the Colony Centre has an amazing selection of movies on DVD and probably the best selection of series (BBC, foreign language as well as standard American fare).

Want a fun vibey Watering hole – try Giles on Grafton Ave where there’s a great pub space which spills out onto an outdoor deck area – a favourite for sports lovers to watch their teams and packed for TGIF drinks.

X  Marks the spot of Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, one of several guesthouses in Craighall Park.

Worshippers sing and dance around a central leader/preacher while somebody drums

Worshippers who wear white, blue or green,  chant, and clap while dancing to drum beats around the central leader/preacher.

Y is for a big Yes for living in Craighall Park.

Z  is for the Zionist independent church gatherings where members meet in their small groups to worship on Sunday afternoons down in Delta Park. Their singing, dancing and drumming can be heard in the distance at Liz at Lancaster.

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Loads to do in Jozi over the next 10 days

2 floors of exhibitors

2 floors of exhibitors at the Turbine Hall

I can’t ever give a gift that I don’t personally like (although I make an exception when it comes to sport-loving sons), so my things to do in Joburg always reflect my personal tastes and interests. You won’t find any suggestions of air shows, expos at Northgate or events at Emperor’s Palace. This last week-end I went the Turbine Art Fair and loved the selection of art on offer: really accessible, reasonable and varied – something for all art-loving income brackets.  Next year I am going to make sure I make the time to go to some of the talks, and have a more leisurely visit. There’s live music, a couple of great pop up cafes and the space of the Turbine Hall lends itself to the these kinds of events.



Kawanabe Kyosai’s Crow on a Snowy Plum 1880s

Kawanabe Kyosai’s Crow on a Snowy Plum 1880s

You can still catch Fiona Pole’s exhibition Le monde flottant at Arts On Paper at 44 Stanley until 1 August. Pole references traditional Japanese woodcuts including Kawanabe’s Kyosai’s famous images of Crow on a Snowy Plum. AOP also has a great edition of Norman Catherine prints – my friend and I were both sorely tempted at the Art Fair.





Kyõsai's Crow  2015  Linocut, chine collé  Edition 5  97X92 cm

Kyõsai’s Crow 2015 Linocut, chine collé Edition 5 97X92 cm

In addition, Wilhelm van Rensburg, curator of the Pierneef exhibition at the Standard Bank Gallery, will be holding walkabouts of this exhibition on Wednesday 22nd at 1 pm as well as Saturday 1st at 10 and Wednesday 8th at 1pm.  Booking is essential While we are on walkabouts, you’ll need to juggle as Gordon Froud has walkabouts of the touring exhibition Twenty: Art in the time of Democracy on Wed 22 July also at 1 pm and Sat 1 August also at 10. The exhibition has recently returned from a tour of the USA and many of South Africa’s artistic luminaries have works on this group show, so it will be well worth the visit to the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery.

One of the reasons I didn’t have time to finish my orgy of art viewing at the Art Fair was that I had booked matinee tickets for We Didn’t Come to Hell for Croissants: 7 Deadly New Stories for Consenting Adults  showing at the Wits Theatre as part of the 969 festival.  Jemma Khan and Roberto Pombo are quite superb in this extraordinary piece of theatre. If you do one thing this week, book for the last show (Wednesday 1.15). It’s clever, witty and completely outrageous .. be warned. For R30 this has to be the best value for money you will get all year.  Book on for this show and other productions showing at the 969 Festival which finishes on 26th July.

More exciting events at Wits include the long-awaited beadwork exhibition which opens at WAM on 28th July at 6 pm. The Standard Bank Collection housed at Wits includes one of the finest collections of  Southern African beadwork in the country. Beadwork, Art and the Body runs until 11th October.


Braving the icy wind last year.

Last year, despite an icy wind in the early morning it did warm up during that day.

Anybody else doing the Walk the Talk this Sunday 26th?  If so remember to collect your tickets and pack from Marks Park from Wed this week any time from 7.30-5  and Sat 8-1. And for those who need to get around Joburg that day, make sure you check the 702 route and road closures on their website. Last year saw the 50,000 odd runners braving a freezing cold winter’s day, so let’s hope it’s going be warmer this year.

And if you fancy an evening out with some late night shopping make sure you get to Christmas in July  in Parkhurst on Wednesday 23rd again on 30th July. It’s always good to meander down 4th Ave Parkhurst – specialty stores, antique treasures, stylish decor shops and loads of eateries. Hopefully there’ll be gluwein and cinnamon roasted chestnuts for sale in the pavement as in previous years.

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Stay and play in Joburg on upcoming week-ends

Ice Age exhibits. Photo courtesy Joburg Tourism

Ice Age exhibits. Photo courtesy Joburg Tourism

Do Jozi-ites realize just how many domestic tourists come to the city to see big events?  Last week Liz at Lancaster had no fewer than 4 families who drove from different parts of the country to bring their children and grandchildren to see Disney on Ice.  We had very excited little ballerinas at breakfast time, all dressed and ready for their long awaited treat with lots of excitement and chatter the next morning about all the characters, including a few scary ones!   Then from one icy event to another, the next day they went off to the Ice Age exhibition at the Sandton Convention Centre to mingle with mammoths, woolly rhinos and glyptodons (bet you have to Google that one.)   It proved to be a big hit with even Granny braving the ice-slide.  Because you book a time-slot, it is not too frenetic, despite being school holidays.  However if you are going without youngsters and want to take in all the information, you can go when schools are back as the exhibition runs until the 8th August.

Just opened is the Canopy at that most fabulous of urban spaces:  the Sheds no 1 Fox St. The Canopy is open every Friday for casual lunches so make your way to the Market Shed  (loads of safe parking opposite) and enjoy a leisurely lunch in front of the Marshall Street Bar.  Choose between wraps, burgers, curries, ‘ribs, wings and things’, and other good wholesome fare, settle back with a glass of red wine and heave a sigh of relief that it’s Friday. What a way to start the week-end.

On of the many shops in Jozi inner city selling fab Sheshwe cloth

On of the many shops in Jozi inner city selling fab Sheshwe cloth

If, after lunch at the Canopy on Friday, you aren’t be able to stay away from the Sheds, you can return  on Saturday 11th  to meet at 10 for a 2 hour walking tour of inner city Jozi  with Past Experiences (the original Joburg walking tour company).  Joburg was laid out as a mining town with small stands and short blocks to maximize on taxable land and corner stands for increased business visibility. These narrow streets and short blocks were fine for pedestrians and horse-and-cart transport , but not so great for high traffic car and taxi volume in the 21st century.  So the best way to experience  Joburg is on foot.  The focus of this tour is on shopping, with possible stops including African fabric shops, a Chinese supermarket (Ferreirastown is Joburg’s original Chinatown) a record shop and a bag store. You’ll be able to scoop up bargains and might find shops that stock goodies you never even knew you needed. But be prepared to go with cash – few stores accept credit cards. For more information see They have more exciting tours coming up. On 25th July there’s a tour of Jeppestown focusing on the history of the area, graffiti and street art,  and past and present communities.

Exploring our past

Exploring our past

And if you’ve had enough of the big smoke and want to get out into the country,  book for one of the amazing tours of an active palaeontological dig out in the Cradle on 18th July. Swartkrans is one of the Cradle’s richest fossil sites and every now and again it is opened to the public.  Morris Sutton who is currently excavating at this site, shares his expertise and knowledge in an accessible and fascinating way. And to top it all there’s a wonderful picnic lunch served al fresco. I went a few years ago and would highly recommend it  – the whole affair is a real treat.  To book: It costs R400 including the picnic lunch.



Obstacles for mountain bike riders on the Delta cycle route

Obstacles for mountain bike riders on the Delta cycle route

If you plan a couch potato extravaganza this coming week-end,  watching the Tour De France and/or the Wimbledon finals, why not consider burning up some calories in advance by doing the Delta Park Run. Don’t be intimidated by the ‘run’ bit – plenty of people walk it. It starts at 8, it’s 5km,  it’s free , it’s fun and it makes one feel virtuous. What a win. Kids, dogs and everybody from speedy runners to slow amblers are welcome.  Or, if the Tour de France is an incentive to get onto that bike, why not join the hundreds of cyclists who ride the 25km long Braamfontein Spruit every week-end. Or simply have some fun on the cycle course around Delta Park. Lots of place to stop for coffee and breakfast at the end of your cycle:  Delta Cafe (near the blue bridge in Craighall Park ),  the new coffee shop near the bridge on Conrad Drive or Citizen Cafe on Conrad Drive.

Gentle live music at the Patisserie in Blairgowrie and fabulous breakfasts

Sunshine, gentle live music, and out of this world French style food at the Patisserie in Blairgowrie – the nearest thing to heaven on earth

For a real treat, loads of calories and a bask in the wonderful morning sun have breakfast at The Patisserie on Mackay Ave, Blairgowrie – there is even chilled live music.

Always popular are events at Katy’s Palace Bar in Kramerville,  and Slippery Spoon’s pop up dinners are no exception.  There are 2 coming up next week but Friday 17th is already sold out with only a few tickets left for  Thursday 16th.  Slippery Spoon dinners happen once a month with each menu inspired by the theme of the night.  This month’s theme is ‘Senses’, so expect something fabulous from Johnny Hamman and Marius Uys’ 5 course meal. It doesn’t come cheap at R500 a ticket with a cash bar, but it promises to be a dinner with pezzaz and style.  For more info and to book go to

And finally for some light relief and an escape from our very own everyday  political pantomime, book for Little Shop of Horrors at Pieter Toerien Theatre at Monte Casino. Be prepared for a good laugh with Alan Committee who, by all reports is hilarious in his role as Seymour, the wannabe botanist.  Based on the 1960s movie of the same name, it’s a  wonderful spoof of B-grade sci-fi movies with lots of comic book imagery and 50’s music. It is showing until the 9th August.

So don’t think that all Jozi has to offer is the same-old, same-old.  There is lots to do for people of all tastes –  for urbanites who love this gritty city, bling-seekers, families, fitness enthusiasts, outdoorsy types, foodies. … and of course the couch potatoes get particularly lucky this weekend. Enjoy !



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Posted in Food & Wine, History and heritage, Joburg and surrounds: things to do and see, Origins of Humankind, Outdoors and wild-life, Shopping, Theatre, entertainment & events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment