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.
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.
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 Coffee shop or a meal at E.B. Social Bar and Kitchen.
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!
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. Petite Jewellers is 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. 9 Graton Ave next to Giles.
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 Parkrun 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 Dolci Café cnr Lancaster and Clarence has a great outside area where you can relax with a glass of wine and enjoy delicious bistro style food.
Q is for the Quirky little cluster of shops and activities down at REEA by the river, including stables, a vege garden and a second hand shop.
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 Possums on Burnside 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 & Co 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.
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.