- See the Big 5 up close
- A luxurious and green space in the city
- Modern animal exhibits, educational centres and a farmyard with a playground
Situated in a lush forest environment, the Big 5 awaits you along with the Temple of Amazon and many more exciting experiences. Expect to see tigers, the endangered Pickersgill frog, bull frogs and the wattled crane. Stop for a rest at Stages Restaurant, serving a divine food and wine menu. Kiosks throughout the zoo are also great for a bite, offering hamburgers, steak rolls, ice creams and more. Should kids want to burn more energy, a playground with rides is available. Don’t miss a visit on the second Sunday of the month, when the Zoo Trot is held – a fun activity to make you and the family fitter for life.
The Johannesburg Zoo originally formed part of Hermann Eckstein’s Braamfontein farm, which he bought to explore for minerals. When he failed to find any, the farm was converted into a timber plantation in 1891. In 1904 the land was donated to the Johannesburg Town Council for recreational use where the zoo developed for much of the 20th century. Long-term plans to grow and improve the zoo were actioned in the 60s and brought about the upgrading and creation of enclosures, development of educational and environmental programmes, and the zoo becoming part of local and international breeding programmes. Today, it houses more than 320 species including the endangered scimitar oryx, wattled crane, black-and-white ruffed lemur, western lowland gorilla and white rhino.
Directions to the Johannesburg Zoo
Advice for visitors
Take a photo of the zoo map upon entering and devise a well-thought-out plan for visiting the different enclosures. You could spend between two and three hours walking around and looking at all the exhibits, so make sure to wear a pair of comfortable walking shoes. In nice weather, it’s recommended to break-up the walk by packing a picnic and relaxing in the rolling gardens. Other activities that are well-worth looking into are the thrilling night tours and overnight sleepovers on offer.
Did you know
The Johannesburg Zoo was home to Africa’s last polar bear until 2014.