Emmarentia Dam, Johannesburg
Reputed to be the best dog walk in Johannesburg, Emmarentia Dam lies next to the Botanic Garden in Emmarentia, north Johannesburg. Tranquil lawns in which families can meet and play, walkways peppered with wooden benches placed strategically to afford moments of stillness and reflection, make this a sprawling and popular park for escapes from city living.
There are several dams that make up Emmarentia Dam, despite its allusion to the singular, where dogs happily swim and splash, whilst the main dam is very actively used by a canoe club for training, and various canoeists and windsurfers enjoy the water throughout the year.
Emmarentia dam is certainly one of the city’s most tranquil spots and the setting amongst water and trees is attractive to many weekend visitors who picnic and braai on the grassed lawns. There are woodland and natural grass areas and a tea room that does first-rate scones.
The main park of Emmarentia Dam was called Jan van Riebeeck Park, founded in 1952 to mark 300 years since the first Dutch settlers arrived at the Cape, whilst the other two smallish dams were constructed to control flood waters. Reed beds have established themselves around the dams and attract a wide variety of birds, including bishops and weavers. The banks of the dam are also the site of the annual summer sunset concerts that see a variety of local and international musicians team up to make music for people to enjoy thoroughly in one of Johannesburg’s best loved venues.
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