Braamfontein Spruit Hiking Trail

Johannesburg, Gauteng


Way-back in 1981, the municipalities of Johannesburg, Randburg and Sandton joined forces to open a hiking trail following the course of this tributary of the Jukskei River, one of the sources of the mighty Limpopo River. Over the years the trail has fallen into disuse due to a number of reasons including the security fears of walkers. A few diehard hikers have, however, refused to give up and admit defeat and still continue to walk the trail. I believe it is time that hikers' need to take a fresh look at this jewel of nature and again explore this trail that is in our 'own back yard'.

 Jukskei River Catchment area

Click on map for larger map

From the above map you will see how the Braamfontein Spruit and Sandspruit form tributaries of the Jukskei River.

Safe Parking

Convenient and safe parking for the cars of hikers is available at Delta Park Environmental Centre, Sandton Field and Study Centre and Emmarentia Dam.

Maps of the trail

Click on section of the map for larger version

The above map of the trail is reproduced with kind permission of Map Studio who own the copywright

Suggested sections of the trail

Times and distance quoted are for the combined outward and return trip. Those arranging to be collected at the far end can half the time and distance

Delta Park, Parkhurst, Greenside, Melville Koppies Emmarentia Delta Park 5-7 Hours 15km

This is quite a long walk and much of it is along pavements. The trail passes the Pirates club in Parkhurst and follows the side of Parkview Golf course before briefly traversing Melville Koppies. The trail then returns via Emmarentia Dam to Delta Park.

Delta Park to Emmarentia Dam and return  3 Hours 7,5km roundtrip

A fairly easy walk along the banks of the spruit. Some lovely pools along the way. A visit to the Cafe at the Floreum at Emmarentia is an ideal place to take a break. Care needs to be taken at the crossing of Rustenburg road at Victory park. This makes a lovely afternoon walk.

Delta Park, Roosevelt Park to Montgomery Park and return 4-5 Hours 11km

Another fairly easy walk. The trail leaves the Westdene spruit at Tana Road and follows the left hand bank as it gently climbs towards its source in Greymont Hills. As the Roosevelt Park Golf Course is fenced, one has to pass this by way of roads on either side. On the far side of Beyers Naude you will also find a fence but there is a gate on the left hand side. The trail passes read beds and some interesting rock formations. This is another afternoon walk for the whole family

Delta Park to Sandton Field and Study Centre and return 5-6 Hours 12km

This section of the trail starts at Delta Park and follows the left-hand bank of the spruit downstream for some distance, crossing Conrad Drive, Blairgowrie and Jan Smuts Avenue and passing Rattray's Weir and the Craighall waterfall. The trail then crosses the river to the right bank by way of a bridge. The trail then follows the river bank for a while before climbing up along a powerline servitude to avoid crossing private property in Glenadrienne. The trail however soon returns to the banks of the spruit and again crosses to the left bank before crossing William Nichol Drive. A short walk follows to Sandton Field and Study Centre. Be carefull when crossing the weir as it can be slippery. Well earned refreshments can be purchased from 'The River Cafe'

Sandton Field and Study Centre to Rivonia Witkoppen Road 6-7 Hours 14km

The trail continues along the banks of the spruit past the River Club Golf Course. This section of the trail is very beautiful, with large boulders, pools, wide shady banks, rocky outcrops and some areas of indigenous vegetation. The trail finishes close to the confluence of the Braamfontein Spruit and the Sand Spruit. Although this section is quite long, it is easy walking along a well defined path. Towards the end of the trail, it passes under the N1 highway and across Witkoppen Road in Paulshof.

Sandton Field and Study Centre to West Street Sandton via Outspan Spruit 4Hours 12km

Another delightful excursion is to follow the same route as above, past the River Club Golf Course as far as the riverside shopping centre. From here you branch off to the right and follow the Outspan tributary. The route starts by following East Road past a beautiful lake and reed bed until one reaches the crossing of East Hertford Road. From here you can either carry on along the banks of the spruit (maybe overgrown) or take the parallel road that runs to the right hand side. At the next junction one rejoins the spruit and continues through the beautiful Outspan Park until Kelvin Road. It is a short distance until Marikana Road is reached and the trail ends at the end of this street.

 

         
 

Along the section from Delta park towards the Sandton Field and Study centre, the trail paases Rattray's Weir that was built in the early 1900's. Further on you will see the waterfall which can be very spectacular after rains.

 
Rattray's Weir
 
         
 
 

Parkland near Emmarentia is very pleasant and easy walking.

 
         
 

In Parkhurst the trail passes to the right of the Pikitup depot and to the right of the Pirates Club.

Parkview golf course is passed by walking along Tyron and Emmarentia roads. This section of the spruit is canalized

 
Passing Parkview Gpolf Course
 
         
 
Ducks on Emmarentia Dam
 

It is interesting to note the amount of wildlife that the spruit supports. When I walked it there were numerous butterfly species continually fluttering around me.

 
         
 

Near Tana Road on ones approach to Emmarentia there are some lovely pools with Water Lillies. City Parks have put several park benches for those wishing to take a rest.

 
 
         
 
 

The spruit meanders its way past a number of beautiful rock pools close to Delta Park. Plenty of birdlife can normally be seen.

 
         
 

During weekend walks along the spruit, you are likely to come across several gatherings of African churches who use the spruit for baptismal purposes. Try and afford then as much privacy and dignity as you can

 
 
         
 
 

One of the high points of the trail is the waterfall at Craighall. Here again it is important to realize that they are also important to other people such as church groups.

 
         
 

The trail from Sandton Field and Study centre, northwards carries on along the west bank and passes the beautiful Riverclub Golf Course.

 
Passing River Club Golf Course
 
         
 
 

The northern section of the trail passes many lovely rock pools and a variety of species of water birds are present.

 
         
 

Along your walk you will occasionally come across relics of the early days of the trail such as signs and park benches. It is hoped that eventually, with public support, these will again serve the community as a recreational amenity.

 
 
         
 
 

When you walk this trail you will find that mountain bikers use it as well. People with dogs are also regular users.

 
         
 

One way that we can all help is by letting Joburg City Parks know of your use of this beautiful area so that they can see that the money that is spent in maintaining the area is worth while.

 
The confluence of the Braamfontein and Sand Spruits
 
         
 

Pictures taken along Outspan Spruit

 

Whatever route that you decide to explore, I am sure that you won't be disappointed.

 

Security

In common with other urban parks and recreational areas, there is always possibility of security problems. As long as you walk in a group there should be no problems. My advice is that hikers using the Braamfontein Spruit area should walk in groups of a minimum of four adults which should include at least one adult male. All valuables should be left at home and the walks should only take place during daylight hours. Johannesburg City Parks do their best to ensure the safety of walkers but the onus must at all times be on the hiker to ensure his or her own safety.

Braamfontein Spruit Bird List (Download PDF)

Conclusion

When I walked the Braamfontein Spruit recently, I was quite amazed at the beauty and variety of nature that is available at no charge, right here on our doorstep, within the Johannesburg municipal boundaries. It is a really worthwhile exercise taking a walk along the spruit.

Contacts

Johannesburg City Parks

Under whose jurisdiction the trail falls

+27 (0) 11 712 6600

Braamfontein Spruit Trust

An organisation devoted to the conservation and preservation of our natural heritage along the rivers of the northern catchment area of the Jukskei river. Visit their pages at www.footprint.co.za/bst.htm


Footprint Hiking Club

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