A VIRTUAL TOUR AROUND JOHANNESBURG (North-South Axis)
Photo 1 – The zone of decay south of the CBD. (Down Eloff Street Extension). Note the light industry.
Photo 2 – The zone of decay. Warehousing also dominates in terms of land-use. Note the dilapidated state of many of the buildings. The CBD of Johannesburg is unlikely to grow into this area and raise property values. Numerous ‘gentrification’ projects have proved unsuccessful.
Photo 3 – The zone of decay / high density residential. (A little further south towards Glenesk (near the Rand Stadium)
Photo 4 and 5 – Further south and we get to medium density residential areas like Suideroord. This photo was taken after a light snowfall early on a winter morning. In photo 5, note the Klipriviersberg in the background. This nature reserve has a range of free-roaming wildlife.
Photo 6 – About as far south as you can go in Johannesburg. Looking north you can see the characteristic urban profile of the city in the distance. You can also see the wealthy area of Glenivista in the middle-ground. Note how this area is becoming denser. South of here we begin to find land uses typical of the rural urban fringe. However, because of urban sprawl, in the next few years, these suburbs will join up with Brackenhurst to form a continuous suburban mass.
Photo 7 – Travel back towards the CBD now. Perhaps after veering west from Glenvista for a visit to Soweto’s famous Vilakazi Street. This picture shows the CBD surrounded by the zone of decay in the fore-ground.
Photo 08 – A slightly different perspective shows Braamfontein and Berea / Hillbrow in the north-east. The residential density in parts of Berea / Hillbrow is among the highest in the world. Note also how the topography and transport routes affect the morphology of the urban area. Also, note the very many trees in the suburbs east and north-east of Johannesburg central. Photo 09 Shot from the top of a building in Braamfontein opposite Wits University, this rooftop has now become an exclusive night-club and events venue. Look around as you go through Braamfontein how many buildings have ‘secretly’ been gentrified into loft and open-plan apartments. There are also very many trendy coffee shops and small eateries in and around Braamfontein. Wits East Campus sits at the very top of the Witwatersrand – separating rivers that run into the Indian ocean from those which run into the Atlantic.
Photo 10 – A view east from Braamfontein shows the mixed commercial and high density residential functions that define Braamfontein.
Photo 11 – A view north shows the series of gentle folds that characterise northern Johannesburg. (Actually the rounded anticlinal remnants of a dome that stretched from the Magaliesberg in the north to the Klipriviersberg in the south. A drive north from here will take you through a few of Johannesburg’s oldest and most beautiful suburbs. Perhaps stop at the beautiful Mike’s Kitchen in Parktown for a light lunch.
Photo 12 – Head towards Sandton now and see a fantastic example of an OBD.
Photo 13 – Leaving Sandton behind, venture through Bryanston… one of the wealthiest (and largest) suburbs in Johannesburg. Notice the Sandton skyline in the background.
Photo 14 – Monte Casino has a hot air balloon from which you can see many interesting urban features. The area shown here is the very green suburb of Fourways – a little haven nestled between some of the busiest roads in Gauteng. The road in the foreground is William Nicol – uncharacteristically free of traffic. If you like, you can also take a bus from here to the Sandton Gautrain Station, and perhaps take a ride to Park Station… or vice versa.
Photo 15 – Also from the hot air balloon at Monte Casino, you can see the Lonehill koppie – a fantastic example of a tor.
Photo 16 and 17 – You can see where this virtual tour-guide lives from the hot air balloon. He is fortunate enough to have this as his view every morning – and now and again spots a visiting black eagle!
Photo 18 – Head beyond Fourways and you will get to Diepsloot – a sprawling informal settlement partially overlooking the super-rich, gated community of Dainfern.
Photo 19 – Alternatively, you could go past Lonehill into Beaulieau and surrounds to see the rural urban fringe. Many stables, nurseries and other typical functions are located here.
Photo 20 – If you have some time – or perhaps on a separate day, venture towards the Haartesbeespoort dam and go up the newly refurbished cable-car. There are some excellent opportunities to learn about features associated with inclined strata here. There are also some very good map skills opportunities which can be conducted from the top of the mountain. You can also see the slightly ominous Pelindaba ‘nuclear research centre’. Finally, the rural parts of Brits could lead to some nice reinforcement of rural settlement topics.