From denial to acceptance: Weekly walk for Seniors at the Wilds

A perfect safe healthy social event 

Need to get out into sun and fresh air, connect with like-minded people, explore one of Jozi’s treasures in a safe and secure environment, and be inspired by a social activist’s passion and enthusiasm  .. look no further than a weekly Seniors walk in the Wilds on a Tuesday morning with Kennedy Tembo. Much has been written about how the Wilds has been turned from a no-go zone in the 1990s and early 2000s to a major attraction for picnickers, walkers, gardeners and civic activists.

Kennedy Tembo and Microadventure Tours

Kennedy Tembo is yet another unsung hero in the mix of people who have helped to bring the Wilds back into the public imagination and to open up one of Jozi’s treasures. Kennedy runs Microadventure tours. 

Kennedy at the Jock of the Bushveld lookout point – view towards Hillbrow

On his tours you can explore a whole range of places at differing fitness and interest levels: from Randlords homes on the Parktown ridge, to Soweto, to cycling tours of the city, to hikes in the Magaliesburg and further afield in the Drakensberg.  As a passionate crusader for the Inner City, Kennedy helped establish the 62 floor Ponte City Challenge. And he is one who does not simply walk the talk, he actually sprints it.  After the tragic fire in the Lisbon Building in Central Joburg in 2018 when 3 Emergency Management Service firefighters tragically died, Kennedy donned  heavy EMS gear and ran/sprinted the 900 steps in Ponte in 14 minutes and 34 seconds. Now that is a feat! 

Weekly Wilds Tuesday walk for Seniors

Sadly I have a weekly Tuesday morning commitment which clashes with Kennedy’s Seniors Wild hike, but I grabbed the opportunity when he ran one on a Wednesday recently.  (It seems that despite my resisting the label “the elderly’ in the the Covid warnings, my joining the Wilds “for Seniors” hike means that I am  gradually changing my denial of ageing to one of acceptance!) About 20 of us met in the car park at 9 and set off at a very civilized pace armed with hats, sunscreen, comfy shoes and water. I was very pleased for my hiking poles as the paths are uneven and there is so much to look at they help free the eyes from being glued to the path.

From abandoned dangerous area to a treasure trove of laser-cut wild life and mapped paths, ponds and lawns.

The west side 

We meandered along Giraffe Lawn – the pace is excellent with lots of breaks for informative chats and time to take in the various and different views of Joburg.  Giraffe Lawn is a favourite for picnickers with James Delaney’s 5 metre pink and yellow giraffe which had to be installed by crane on a concrete block. Getting the concrete mixer along the stone paths was no mean feat!

The 5 meter high giraffe has become a familiar landmark, visible from Houghton Drive
The pond at Giraffe Lawn. A scheme for providing water for the ponds has been devised and funded by the Friends of The Wilds using water that the Gautrain has pumped out of their tunnels and discarded.

Then we wended our way up the hill along Bushbaby Walk, past Kudu corner, through the Yellow wood forest and the 67 Owls to the Fever Tree Lawn.  

Kudu Corner

Crossing up to the Sundial for yet another wonderful view, this time of the magnificent buildings at St. Johns, we moved back down the hill past Bushwillow Pond and through the Olive forest back to Monkey Lawn and the bridge over Houghton Drive to the east side.

Bushwillow pond

The East Side 

The East side was a first for me as it took longer to move out of the no-go status and there have been some incidents so walkers are recommended to walk in groups. There are wonderful views across to Killarney and Sandton. James Delaney’s gates onto Munro Drive are a great addition. 

View to Killarney
View to the north to Sandton
Wild Gardenia
A log for a home

For more on the extraordinary improvements at the Wilds see Discovering the Wilds, an Historic Park in Joburg.  And if you can make a Tuesday morning it’s a WONDERFUL way to tick so many boxes: exercise, good company, exploring what Jozi has to offer, sun and fresh air. You will feel rejuvenated and ready for the week ahead!  The walk is free, lasts about 2 hours and covers about 4km at a very relaxed pace. 

I’m looking forward to joining one of Kennedy’s Saturday morning Jozi Inner City  coffee walking tours. Also check out Microadventures Facebook Page

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