Craighall Park – the best of all worlds

Craighall Park has it all 

I’ve blogged often about Craighall Park and its surrounds and what a great area it is to live.  Craighall Park is a wonderful mix of rural country, suburban tranquility and urban convenience. How many Joburg suburbs have a nursery, horseriding, vegetable gardens and a spruit (or stream) running right through the heart of the neighbourhood?  And where else in Gauteng is there a winery which presses its own grapes and bottles its own wine? …. and it’s all on our doorstep! 

A river runs through it.  The River Rangers have stables at Delta Centre and paddocks along the Braamfontein Spruit.

The location could not be more central: under 3 km from Rosebank, (which is Joburg’s 3rd largest high-rise commercial, financial and shopping district) and only 7 km from Sandton Central.  There are great restaurants, at least 10 small neighbourhood shopping centres, and wonderful green lung spaces with playgrounds.  A vibrant suburban life is further encouraged by schools, both excellent pre-schools and 2 top primary schools; churches and sports facilities which include several smaller gyms as well as a Planet Fitness Gym and a number of Pilates and Yoga studios. (Watch this space for an upcoming blog on health and wellness options in Craighall Park.

Excellent food and nice neighbourhood feel at Dolci Restaurant Cnr Lancaster and Clarence

Upgrading of public spaces 

Located at the corner of Lancaster and Clarence Avenues is a cluster of shops including a Spar supermarket, greengrocer, bottle store, chemist and Dolci restaurant (photograph above). The pavements and curbs at this intersection were a complete mess: uneven, unkempt, dangerous and ugly, with totally inadequate parking spaces. While clearly pavements and curbs should be the responsibility of the Municipality, priorities and spending have de facto had to change. So the CRA took it upon themselves to upgrade this corner making pavements wheel-chair/stroller friendly, improving the parking bays, and making attractive planters. It is a major improvement aesthetically but has reduced the parking to an even more unacceptable (and legal) capacity! 

Before ….
Source: CRA
After …. Seen here with Isaac Mahlangu one of CRA’s employees who helps with public spaces
Source: CRA

Craighall Park is blessed with wonderful green lung spaces from the 104 acre Delta Park to the smaller parks like Hugh Wyndham Park bordering on Dunkeld, and the Hamilton Park bordering on Parkhurst.  These parks have been upgraded by the CRA with benches, planting, dispensers of bags for dog-poop and in Hugh Wyndham Park a wonderful fenced off playground. 

The playground at Hugh Wyndham Park

Sense of community and neighbourhood 

But perhaps the best thing of all about Craighall Park is the residents themselves and the wonderful sense of “looking out for each other”, of community and of working at ways of breaking down the “walls of anonymity”.  So there are pavement gardens in the suburb: “Help yourselves, but leave some for your brothers and your sisters”.  At Halloween (leaving aside that some see this event as a pagan ritual … that’s a whole other blog in itself), many streets arranged trick or treat for the kids … and plenty of adults too.  I’m all for the sense of carnival that goes with this event – the overturning of everyday convention, the “taking back the streets”, the connecting with “strangers”, the humour, the silliness – all of which we need in liberal doses in today’s world.  

“Brave the worms kids and dig in for a treat” The reactions were fabulous!!! The imagination can play havoc with a cauldron of cooked coloured spaghetti!
And this is my best!!

One Craighall Park street enlisted the River Rangers who gave children horse-rides down the road. The atmosphere was amazing! 

And this Christmas, Santa even had a postbox in Craighall Park so kids could post their Christmas letters to the North Pole. 

Posting the letter to Father Christmas at the North Pole

Liz at Lancaster’s pavement library continues to be widely used. On one occasion the shelves were emptied, only to be filled up again by local residents – a symbol of generosity that characterizes this suburb.

What’s not to like about living in Craighall Park? 

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