Parktown, Johannesburg

Parktown lies between Westcliff and Saxonwold, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Johannesburg filled with rather imposing homes that vie with those in London in terms of grandiosity.

Developed by some of the most successful entrepreneurs of their time these showy mansions, some with fancy turrets and towers, became known as “Parktown baronial” and the architects displayed a definite leaning to the eclectic, the original owners of their homes intent on parties, croquet on the lawns and lavish parties. That was, until Herbert Baker added his unique craftsmanship to the suburb, including his own home, The Stonehouse, up on the ridge.

Today, Parktown remains one of Johannesburg’s elite suburbs, its Victorian homes, and a number of designs by Sir Herbert Baker, an enormous draw card to the area. What’s more, residents and visitors need no longer drive past and merely gawp; they can instead visit some of these beautiful homes. The Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust have weekly tours of old Johannesburg, one of them in Victorian Parktown, which includes the oldest house in Johannesburg, built in 1896 called The View, in Ridge Road.

You’re ideally situated when staying in Parktown to reach the city centre and the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, including Sandton. The Johannesburg Zoo, and Zoo Lake, are close by, as are the charming villages of Parkview and Melville, both of which have restaurants, art galleries and little boutique-style shops that claim immediate and lengthy scrutiny.

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