Some time ago Safarinow asked me to write a review of Craighall Park. I don’t think they ever used it. But it gives a good sense of some of the facilities the suburb has on offer. So here it is for republishing.
Central suburb in Parks area of Joburg
Craighall Park, an amazingly central suburb in the huge sprawling city of Joburg, is a great mix of urban convenience and suburban (at times almost rural) tranquility. Gerald Garner in his book Spaces and Places Guide to Joburg’s Hidden Gems 2010 labels it: ‘the closest to the countryside you will find in the heart of Joburg.’ Being 10 minutes from Sandton as well as Joburg Central and close to restaurant and shopping nodes of Rosebank & Parkhurst, it’s an ideal base for the business and leisure traveller. The Gautrain Station is between 2 and 3km away making for easy access to O.R. Tambo International as well as Pretoria.
There are several neighbourhood shopping centres in the suburb itself:
- Lancaster Village
- The Lancaster
- 9 Grafton Ave
- The Colony
- Dunkeld West Shopping Centre
- The Valley Shopping Centre and several more.
- And for those who want a larger mall, on the other side of Jan Smuts is Hyde Park Mall which offers chain stores, movie houses, bookshops, a Woolworths and boutiques galore.
There are excellent restaurants and pavement cafes:
- Cnr Café on Buckingham Ave has consistently been voted one of Joburg’s best neighbourhood restaurants.
- Dolci Café – is a fabulous laid back pavement café with salads, pastas, wraps, pastas and light meals. It’s licensed and opens Tuesday to Saturday from breakfast to dinner; Sunday closed in the evening but open Monday +27 10 900 2274 And if you get onto their What’s App group, they do a choice of 2 daily specials which you can collect after 3pm.
- Delta Cafe has expanded so there is a wonderful upstairs deck with views over the park. (Info added to post Jan 2019)
- And my favourite restaurant is DW 11-13 in the Dunkeld West shopping centre, voted in the top 20 SA restaurants by Eating Out. I have foodie guests who come from Pretoria and spend the night here at Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse, in order to have a meal there.
- Then, if you want to meet locals, go to Founders@Giles at 9, Grafton Ave – it’s a great TGIF watering hole and it pumps on a Thursday and Friday evening. There is a great deck which overlooks Craighall Park but people also spill out onto the street side as well.
- Next door to Founders@Giles is Namak a reasonably priced Indian restaurant with a sister in Blairgowrie. The Blairgowrie branch delivers but the Craighall Park outlet does not.
- And for an excellent pasta, Pronto at the Colony is always good.
- At Possums on Burnsides you can have a quiet meal at tables with crisp white cloths in the most tranquil surroundings on the stoep overlooking the garden – a little haven.
- Hodges at the Colony is a great place to meet for coffee and afterwards pop in and browse the second hand bookshop next door. Also in the Colony is The Video Spot, probably Joburg’s best video store.
- Casalotti’s (aka Pizza Rapido) – not sure of the alternative names! Make excellent thin based pizzas and even do banting pizzas if banting is your thing. 011 788 -0886. They also do take-aways with free delivery. Open every day
- Modo Mio – 339 Jan Smuts Ave Good Italian fare, reasonably priced with an affordable R40 a bottle corkage fee. Open Monday to Sunday +27 79 343 6729
- Also at 339 Jan Smuts is Soul Souvlakia. Great Greek food to takeaway.
- Also AJ’s in the Park is very child friendly so parents can kick back and enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with a pizza or hamburger. Wonderful neighbourhood laid back cheap and cheerful. 33 Abercorn Ave 074 959 7184
- The Royale is a new kid on the block at 357 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall Park next to The St. Albans Centre. It’s colourful and stylish and very retro – based on the Pre-Castro Cuban era. There are giant palms, fab tropical wallpaper and a great courtyard at the back. It’s the new cool place for a cocktail or a delicious Cuban style meal. The Royale is open, from 11:00 till 23:00 Wednesday through Saturday and on Sundays between 11:00 and 19:00
And it’s a suburb where the river runs through it. At Delta Park there is 104 hectares of parkland on either side of the Braamfontein Spruit, with lovely dams and bird hides and a well-frequented childrens’ playground area. The park is well-used by a mix of dog-walkers, cyclists, joggers, bird-watchers and even horse riders. I find it amazing that in a suburb less than 7km from Sandton Central Business District there are people who go horse-riding before work! On a Sunday afternoon when small groups of African Independent Church members meet for their open-air ceremonies their singing and dancing to the beat of drums can be heard across the park. And on a quiet summer night we can hear the Cape Eagle Owls calling. Unexpected sounds for a location right in the very heart of Joburg.