Auckland Park, Johannesburg

Just north-west of Johannesburg’s CBD, Auckland Park lies on a gentle slope, the homes here gentrified and the neighbourhood a vibrant hum.

The suburb known as Auckland Park is one of few this close to the centre of Johannesburg to survive the exodus of Jo’burgers to the northern suburbs and it’s no surprise given the wealth of beautiful architecture here. Auckland Park housed some of the city’s first residents and ambling along Chislehurst Avenue to admire some of the homes in the suburb may not be one of the tourist attractions advertised in local travel guides, but well worth the detour.

Auckland Park at the turn of the century was literally ‘in the country’ relative to the city. Victorian gentry, who had made South Africa their home, would have had weekend homes here. They also had a boating lake, where the Country Club is today, and a horse racing track, where the University of Johannesburg (formerly RAU) is.

The suburb was laid out by a New Zealander called John Landau, who, because he saw obvious similarities between this and his native home, called it Auckland Park. Street names are all places along the Thames - Richmond, Twickenham, Ditton, Kingston etc. Today Auckland Park is a true mix of nationalities and cultures and its inhabitants enjoy a vibrant lifestyle. The suburb is also well known as the home of the SABC - the monolith sits on Henley and Artillery Road, and many employees live around here.

Bohemian and terribly trendy Melville is just around the corner from Auckland Park and a superb way to spend your evenings, if not your lunch time activities. This wonderful village within the city of Johannesburg has a real buzz, and restaurants, eccentric boutiques and sidewalks filled with tables is the norm.

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