Johannesburg's many recreation centres, swimming pools and other sporting facilities are managed by the city's department of Sport and Recreation, which also looks after council halls, campsites and the municipal caravan park. Sport and Recreation oversees a total of 551 facilities - 394 for sports, 98 for recreation and 59 for aquatics. Sports facilities include various stadiums, some which meet international standards, while others meet national and regional standards. Grassed and gravelled fields are provided, as are open, indoor and multipurpose facilities. Recreational facilities range from simple indoor structures to multipurpose indoor facilities, outdoor play areas and wide-open spaces at parks. Johannesburg has a number of recreation centres, offering residents a range of services: toddlers' play facilities; special courses for housewives and social clubs for senior citizens in the mornings; afternoon activities for young school pupils and evening activities for older children, teenagers and adults; and special holiday programmes. Aquatic facilities vary from international-level swimming pools to standard pools, both outdoor and indoor, heated and unheated. The council owns 56 swimming pools to keep residents cool during the hot summer. Most are open from September 1 to March 31. Ellis Park and Newclare are Olympic-sized pools. The Linden, Ellis Park, Pimville and Coronationville pools are heated. Fees are charged for specialised classes and courses, but they are usually very reasonable.
Pools are open daily from 10am to 6pm.
Adults - R5
Children - R3
Senior citizens - Free
Adults with disabilities - R2.50
Children with disabilities - R1.50
Adults - R180
Children - R50
Senior citizens (63 and older) - Free
Adults with disabilities - R90
Children with disabilities - R25
Swimming pool hiring
Children fewer than 150 - R280
fewer than 350 - R530
more than 350 - R860
Opening times vary, so check the times at the swimming pool you wish to use before leaving home
Adults - R8
Children - R5
Senior citizens (63 and older) - Free
Adults with disabilities - R4
Children with disabilities - R2.50
Adults - R220
Children - R110
Senior citizens (63 and older) - Free
Adults with disabilities - R110
Children with disabilities - R55
Sport and Recreation can be contacted on the following numbers:
011 403-7372 (Fax)
Telephone numbers for suburban public pools: Brixton (tel: (011) 837 2440), Ellis Park (tel: (011) 402 5565), Linden (tel: (011) 888 3750), Parkview (tel: (011) 646 8754) and Roosevelt Park (tel: (011) 782 2474).
Johannesburg's favorite sports are football (soccer), road-running, rugby and cricket (in that order). Early each Sunday morning, road-runners gather in their tens of thousands to take part in road races organized by dozens of athletic clubs, such as the RAC (Rand Athletic Club), Benoni Harriers, Pirates and Varsity Kudus. There is comprehensive online information (website: www.worldofendurance.com) available for running information, as well as cycling, mountain biking, adventure racing, canoeing and triathlon.
In general, South Africans are football mad and the Johannesburg clubs play either in the PSL (Professional Soccer League) or the MTN Supersport Leagues. In the PSL, top Johannesburg teams and fierce rivals are the Amakhozi or Kaizer Chiefs (website: www.kaizerchiefs.com), The Birds or Morocco Swallows, and Buccaneers/Bucs or Orlando Pirates (website: www.orlandopirates.co.za), which are based at the city's Johannesburg, Rand and FNB stadiums respectively. The Wits University team, Clever Boys, is also well regarded. The city's best teams, under the MTN banner, are Katlehong City and Alexander United, who play at the Alexander and Reiger Park stadiums.
Home to the Gauteng Lions, the formidable Johannesburg rugby team, Ellis Park, South Park Street (tel: (011) 402 8644/8; website: www.ellispark.com) is arguably the world's most famous rugby stadium, while the famed cricket team, Highveld Strikers (website: www.highveldstrikers.co.za), are based at Johannesburg's renowned Wanderers Stadium, Corlett Drive, Illovo (tel: (011) 788 1008; website: www.wanderers.co.za). This provincial team takes part in the prestigious Supersport and Standard Bank Cup series.
There are a vast number of excellent websites devoted to satisfying South Africa's insatiable appetite for sport. There is a website for soccer enthusiasts (website: www.supersoccer.co.za ), which is the best place to find out everything concerning clubs, fixtures, venues and tickets. There is a website (www.superrugby.co.za ) that provides information on rugby, and an extremely informative website for South African cricket (www.rsa.cricket.org ). There is a comprehensive website (www.iol.co.za ) for full sport schedules and press reports online.
Golf: There are dozens of good golf-courses in and around Johannesburg, including Bryanston Country Club, Bryanston Drive, Bryanston (tel: (011) 706 1391), Houghton Golf Club, Second Avenue, Houghton (tel: (011) 728 7337), Randpark Golf Club, Setperk Street, Windsor Park (tel: (011) 476 1691), and Royal Johannesburg Golf Club (tel: (011) 640 3021; website: www.royaljk.za.com). Visitor's green fees range from R130 to R200. Visiting golfers must carry proof of membership of any bona fide golf club. Caddies and carts are available for hire at all courses at approximately R70 and R130 respectively. Further information is available online (website: www.sa-venues.com/gauteng_golf_courses.htm).
Gyms: With the recent demise of the extensive Health and Racquet Club chain, which had over a dozen branches in Johannesburg, Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Active has stepped in to take up the slack (tel: (0860) 200 911; website: www.virginactive.co.za). There are branches at Bedfordview (tel: (011) 455 1870); Bruma Lake (tel: (011) 616 6373); Bryan Park (tel: (011) 463 6610); Cresta Center (tel: (011) 476 2223); Fourways Mall (tel: (011) 465 9590); Morningside (tel: (011) 883 1951); Northgate (tel: (011) 794 2402); Old Eds (Houghton East) (tel: (011) 483 1298); Randburg (tel: (011) 792 8860); Sandton (tel: (011) 883 4633); and Vodaworld (Midrand) (tel: (011) 318 3355).
Horseracing: There are three racecourses in and around Johannesburg - Turffontein in Johannesburg, Gosforth Park in Germiston and Newmarket Turf Club in Alberton (tel: (011) 907 9753), one of the most famous horseracing courses in South Africa. South Africa has world-class breeders and trainers who have developed the sport to the highest international standards. Night racing is a new innovation. Details of meetings are published in the press.
Tennis: Public courts are available at the municipal Marks Park complex, located on Judith Road, Emmarentia (tel: (011) 486 1963), and at various recreation centers, such as Paterson Park, in Norwood (tel: (011) 728 7250). Many of the golf clubs listed above have their own tennis courts.
Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam
Tranquil gardens, walkways, shady arbors and benches make this sprawling park a popular respite from the pace of the city.
The Montecasino has 2 great family attractions, the 135 meter high balloon ride, and the birds sanctuary and show. Visiting Montecasino is recommended as half a day experience.
Wesselton Diamond Cutting Company
Visitors to this factory can see the diamond-preparation process from cutting to shaping and polishing.
Visitors can take architectural tours of this theatre building.
The Johannesburg Zoo has grown to become the most popular public venue in the city. It covers a sprawling 54 hectares in central Parktown, with an abundance of trees, water features and beautiful walks. The stars of the show are, of course, the animals and the collection is impressive. There are lions, tigers, elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, sable antelope, bat-eared foxes and polar bears among the 2 070 animals, representing 365 different species. While its core business is the accommodation, enrichment, husbandry and medical care of wild animals, the Johannesburg Zoo also offers a variety of educational and entertainment programmes. The Johannesburg Zoo is located on Jan Smuts Avenue, in Parkview. The main entrance is in Upper Park Drive, Forest Town. For more information, contact 011 646 2000. It has its own website.