Past Tours

Past Tours Quarter Three 2024

Date: 6th July 2024

Description:  

The glamorous Rand Club was first established in 1887 – just one year after the founding of Johannesburg – to provide the rich and mighty men who ran the city with a luxurious home away from home.

Since then, the Club has evolved to become an aspirational beacon for all Joburgers, while still retaining its timeless style and iconic architecture. From the grand staircase with its famous glass dome, to the opulent bar and restaurant, to the gorgeous library and sitting areas, this is a heritage site to be cherished.

So, don’t miss this opportunity to experience the Rand Club for yourself with an exclusive tour in the company of club member and RC expert, Brian McKechnie. Along the way, you’ll find out more about the history of the Club, discover fascinating facts about the RC’s design, and take a look at the art, images and artefacts housed within the clubhouse.

After the tour, you are welcome to stay for a drink or snack in the Main Bar – said to be the longest bar in Africa.

The Rand Club will also be hosting their annual Antiques Book and Artisanal Faire from 9am, so this is a good chance to make a day of it. Tickets for the Book Fair are sold separately (on Quicket) and cost R50 per person.

Please note: there is no dedicated parking available so it is recommended to catch an Uber.

Past Tours Quarter Two 2024

Date: 29th June 2024

Description:  

The Market Theatre has been at the heart of our city’s cultural life since it was founded in 1976. But the history of Newtown goes back much further, to the earliest days of Joburg when the area was known as Brickfields.

So, take a journey back in time and discover how Newtown grew from a muddy slum, to the location of the city’s second market square with its magnificent Edwardian market building, to its current role as an arts and culture hub that includes the Market Theatre, Museum Africa and many other important institutions.

With award-winning architecture and a superb sense of design, Market Square and surrounds is a dynamic space that deserves to be explored. So, join your guides David Gurney and David Fleminger as we draw back the curtains on the beloved old Market complex.

This tour is a must for arts enthusiasts, lovers of theatre, and people who want to find out more about our city’s unique history. Don’t miss this opportunity to peek behind the scenes and find out more about the Market’s rich history and very promising future.

Please bring along drinking water and wear comfortable walking shoes, a sunhat and sunblock. We also recommend that you leave your valuables at home. Secure underground parking is available at the Newtown Junction Mall on the corner of Miriam Makeba Street and Gwigwi Mrwebi Street.

Date: 22nd June 2024

Description:  

By popular demand, we are repeating our sold-out Northwards Tour. Book soon!

Northwards is a Joburg landmark, perched on the Parktown Ridge, looking out over the city’s leafy northern suburbs. But how much do you really know about this Herbert Baker masterpiece?

Join us for an exclusive tour with the custodian of Northwards, Neil Viljoen, as he takes us from cellar to attic – revealing the tempestuous history of this glorious mansion and the colourful characters who called it home.

A consummate raconteur, Neil is THE expert on Northwards and all proceeds from this special benefit tour will go towards the publication of Neil Viljoen’s meticulously researched biography of Jose Dale Lace, the First Lady of Northwards.

Please note: this tour is for adults only. Guests are welcome to stroll in the gardens after the tour, or bring their own food and enjoy a picnic on the lawns. We also ask that you book through Quicket or by phoning the office number (no emails to the office, please, as our wonderful secretary will be on leave during this time).

Date: 15th June 2024

Description

To commemorate Youth Day on the 16th of June, we are pleased to offer an exclusive bus tour to Soweto that reveals another side to this bustling and dynamic community.

So, join your guides Boitumelo Moletsane and David Fleminger as we venture off the well-trodden tourist track to explore Soweto’s lesser-known (but no less important) historical sites.

Along the way, we’ll visit Regina Mundi Church (an important gathering place during apartheid, with bullet-holes still visible in the roof), the leafy Oppenheimer Gardens and Tower, and the eye-catching Soweto Theatre.

It’s a fascinating journey that will enlighten and surprise even the most jaded Joburger!

Please note that we will be disembarking from the bus at several points so bring along plenty of drinking water and wear comfortable walking shoes, a sunhat and sunblock. The bus will depart from Sunnyside Park Hotel, where there is secure parking. Please arrive 15 minutes early so the bus can leave on time.

Date: 8th June 2024

Description

Join us for a rare opportunity to venture inside the imposing Freemasons Hall in Parktown. Boasting a grand staircase, warm wood panelling, stately neo-classical interiors and intricate steel work laden with Masonic symbolism, this is a building designed to impress!

As we explore these evocative spaces, still very much in use, we’ll also learn more about the growth of Freemasonry in South Africa and reveal some facts and fictions about this ‘mysterious’ organisation.

The stately Freemason Hall was designed by the famous architect, Gordon Leith, who is best known for his classicist work on many official buildings in the old Transvaal.

Freemasonry owes its origins to medieval stonemasons who closely guarded their unique skills and only passed them down from mason to mason within their fraternal organisation. Today, the society is still going strong and enjoys an active membership from all walks of life.

So, join your guides Clare van Zwieten and Lena De Bellis for a memorable tour through one of Joburg’s best kept secrets.

Please meet in the parking lot behind the Brenthurst Clinic, accessible from Park Lane, where there is ample safe parking available.

Date: 1st June 2024

Description

Jeppe High School for Boys is the oldest State School in Johannesburg and its history is inextricably tied to that of the city. It has survived wars, economic crises, and robust social change; entrenching itself as a highly-respected and much-treasured institution with a long list of illustrious alumni spanning over 100 years.
The school started its life as St Michael’s College in 1890 and briefly shut down during the South African / Anglo-Boer War before reopening as one of the Milner Schools in 1902 – accessible to both boys and girls until ‘Jeppe Girls’ opened in 1918.
For much of the 20th century, ‘Jeppe Boys’ enjoyed a reputation as one of Joburg’s top schools but struggled to maintain its high standards during the democratic transition. Now, under the stewardship of Anton Demspey and the current headmaster, Dale Jackson, ‘Jeppe Boys’ has undergone something of a transformation and it is once again considered one of the country’s leading educational institutions – a great example of government-school exceptionalism, with a very diverse student body who demonstrate a fierce pride in their school.
So, don’t miss this rare opportunity to explore the hallowed halls of Jeppe Boys with your guides, Wade and Yvonne Venter. It’s a revealing journey across the campus of this remarkable educational institution that will appeal to old boys and newcomers alike!

Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along a sun hat, sunblock and drinking water. 

Date: 25th May 2024

Description

Since its early days, Johannesburg has drawn in people from all over the world – a cosmopolitan, multi-national collection of citizens attracted by gold, opportunity, adventure and the glamour of big city living.

Now, in this exciting bus and walking tour, the JHF has partnered with the City of Johannesburg’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Directorate to celebrate their vibrant Public Art Programme, which embodies our city’s diverse heritage and daring spirit.

So, don’t miss this opportunity to join Eric Itzkin, Palesa Mnyaka and Clare van Zwieten as we explore the streets of Johannesburg to view some of our city’s popular public artworks ranging from a bronze Brenda Fassie, the amazing Mosaic Compass, the Impala Stampede, the Nzundza Portrait, the Homeless Jesus, the Shadow Boxer, jazz legend Kippie Moeketsi and much, much more.

The meeting place is the Sunnyside Park Hotel and the bus will depart at 09:00 sharp. Please arrive early to ensure a prompt start. And please wear walking shoes, a hat, sunblock, and bring along a bottle of water.

Book soon. This one will sell out fast!

Date: 18th May 2024

Description

Boasting three Herbert Baker homes, a fine Robert Howden (recently restored) and several other special architectural works, Campbell Road is a Parktown Treasure Trove.

Join your guides Karen Curry and Charlotte Beukes for a lovely walk along this historical thoroughfare (with a detour onto Gale Road). Along the way, you’ll meet a founder of the Black Sash, a High Court judge with strong socialist sympathies, and the lady who invented the idea of computer bookings.

The tour also includes a visit to Bishopskop, a very fine Herbert Baker design from 1903. It was built for Archdeacon Furse, the Bishop of Pretoria, before Johannesburg was big enough to warrant a diocese of its own.

This is classic Parktown at its best, so don’t miss out.

Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along a sunhat, sunblock and drinking water. The meeting point is corner Campbell Road and Barkly Road, Parktown.

Date: 11th May 2024

Description

Norscot Manor was originally built by the Eriksen family as a country cottage (and token of love) in the 1930s – a mini-Randlord mansion located in the far-north of the city.

The manor house later underwent a series of extensions as the family’s business and political influence expanded, as did the peri-urban sprawl around the estate. When the Eriksens eventually sold Norscot and its contents in 1982, Sotheby’s called the event “the largest house sale in the Southern Hemisphere”.

Since then, the house has faced a number of changes and challenges but the markers of its bygone gilded age are still there, if you look carefully enough.

So, join your guides Luke Gonçalves and Ed Coogan for a unique walking tour through what is now the Norscot Recreation Centre. Along the way, you’ll experience the ins and outs (upstairs and downstairs) of the ‘Jewel’ that was once considered as a possible mayoral residence.

With many architectural quirks (such as a ‘Viking ship’ bar) and links to interesting personalities (such as the fugitive actor), Norscot Manor is a fascinating and seldom-explored heritage destination.

The tour will be followed by an optional tea or snack at The Secret Tea Garden, for your own account. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along a hat, sunblock and drinking water.

Date: 4th May 2024

Description

The western end of Rose Road in Houghton backs on to The Wilds, and they make comfortable neighbours with low stone walls complementing the natural koppie stone and indigenous flora. However, the entrances to some of the properties on Rose Road are unassuming and almost all that is visible from the street are neglected terrace gardens and long, winding driveways. But what lies beyond these driveways is remarkable…

Join your guide Joy Campkin-Smith for a fascinating walking tour that reveals the hidden secrets of Rose Road, including a Bauhaus modernist house, a rare ‘Egyptian’ Art Deco residence, and a secret garden with hidden passages surrounding a solid 1930s arts and crafts-style home.

Unfortunately, all these homes currently stand empty so we will only be viewing them from the outside. But the ruins of Rose Road are still evocative, ringing with the personalities of the people who built them.

Please note: some of the houses have steep  driveways so please wear comfortable clothing, walking shoes, a hat and sunscreen. And bring along plenty of drinking water.

Date: 28th April 2024

Description

When Archbishop Desmond Tutu considered the place he wished to be buried, his heart returned to St Mary’s Cathedral where he was appointed Dean in 1976. Ten years later, he was enthroned as the first Black Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg.

An impressive and enduring heritage landmark in the inner city, St Mary’s was designed by the Diocesan architect FLH Fleming (the partner of Sir Herbert Baker). Fleming was also responsible for many other Anglican Churches in South Africa, including The Church of Christ the King in Sophiatown (where Father Trevor Huddleston had a profound influence on the adolescent Tutu).

These magnificent edifices were among the few racially integrated places of worship in the 1950s, and the JHF is proud to celebrate this rich heritage right after Freedom Day (27 April) which commemorates our first free and fair elections in 1994.

So, join our guides Kgao Mashego and Karen Curry for an unforgettable tour that includes a visit inside the cathedral as well as a visual presentation of the planned Desmond Tutu Precinct – a public environment upgrade project initiated by the St Mary’s Diocese and City of Joburg department of Arts Culture and Heritage (as part of declaring St Mary’s Cathedral as a national heritage site).

Please note: this tour will include a short walk through the inner city. Wear comfortable walking shoes, a sunhat and sunscreen (and leave your valuables at home). We will meet at the upper level parking area of Park Station (only accessible from the south side of Rissik Street). You can either drive yourself, catch an Uber, or catch the Gautrain to Park Station.

Date: 20th April 2024 

Description

The JHF is holding our famous Mega Book Sale at Holy Family Convent on Saturday 20th April, so why not make a day of it by adding in a walking tour through lovely Saxonwold either before or after you browse?

Led by Ed Coogan and David Gurney, this gentle walk of about 2kms will take you along tree-lined streets that cocoon huge mansions with grand gables and lush gardens before ending at Edwin Lutyens’ imposing War Memorial topped by the Angel of Peace – a real sight to behold.

The suburb of Saxonwold was first laid out in the 1920s, centred around this impressive memorial that was originally dedicated to the men of the Rand who lost their lives in the Anglo-Boer War. The memorial was later rededicated to all the fallen of that war – Boer and Brit, men and women of all races and nationalities.

As we walk, we’ll visit several grand mansions with magnificent gardens including the Johannesburg Art Foundation, which nurtured important artists such as William Kentridge, Dumile Feni, Helen Sebidi and Ezrom Legae. There’s even the tale of an unsolved murder from long ago in what was then still a plantation of gum trees.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to feel like Dorothy stepping into the land of Oz, join us as we cross over busy Oxford Road and disappear into the peace and tranquility of this truly amazing suburb.

Please note: the tour begins at Holy Family College and will be run at 10am and again at 2pm, so you can choose which time works for you (please book your slot accordingly). Please wear comfortable clothing, walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen and bring along plenty of drinking water.

Date: 13th April 2024 

Description

Forest Town is a small village-like suburb nestled between Parktown, Westcliff and Saxonwold in the heart of old Johannesburg. The area was first surveyed on land known as Sachsenwald (named after Otto von Bismarck’s estate in Germany) and was later anglicised to Saxonwold, when a small forest of trees was planted to provide timber for the mining industry.

Although Forest Town’s houses are smaller than the grand mansions of Parktown and Westcliff, the streets are shaded by towering trees (as befits the suburb’s name) and the houses boast pretty gardens and a wide range of architecture that incorporates a variety of styles and periods.

Join your guide Brian McKechnie for a delightful walking tour through this enchanting enclave that showcases some of the contemporary cultural institutions in the suburb, includingthe Holocaust and Genocide Centre and the Johannesburg Contemporary Art Foundation, as well as houses designed by Pancho Guedes, Pierre Swanepoel, Studio Mass and Activate Architects.

Please note, this is a morning walk (to avoid the heat). Be sure to bring along plenty of drinking water, and wear good walking shoes, a hat and sunscreen.

Date: 6th April 2024

Description

Northwards is a Joburg landmark, perched on the Parktown Ridge, looking out over the city’s leafy northern suburbs. But how much do you really know about this Herbert Baker masterpiece?

Join us for an exclusive tour with the custodian of Northwards, Neil Viljoen, as he takes us from cellar to attic – revealing the tempestuous history of this glorious mansion and the colourful characters who called it home.

Neil is THE expert on Northwards and all proceeds from this special benefit tour will go towards the publication of Neil Viljoen’s meticulously researched biography of Jose Dale Lace, the First Lady of Northwards.

Please note: this tour is for adults only. Guests are welcome to stroll in the gardens after the tour, or bring their own food and enjoy a picnic on the lawns.

Past Tours Quarter One 2024

Date: 23rd March 2024 

Description:

Soweto is a vibrant community with a unique and rich heritage that stretches back decades. On this eye-opening tour, we’ll be travelling through the streets of ‘the largest township in South Africa’ to reveal the fascinating people and stories that made Soweto what it is today.

Led by Boitumelo Moletsane and David Fleminger, the tour begins at the Sunnyside Park Hotel in Parktown, where we will board our comfortable bus. First stop is Nancefield Cemetery for a short walk to view Charlotte Maxeke’s grave. We’ll then proceed to Steve Kekana’s house in Pimville to find out more about this celebrated singer, who did so much to promote peace.

After driving past the Soweto Country Club (with a golf course designed by Gary Player), our final stop is Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown where the Freedom Charter (precursor to our invaluable constitution) was signed in 1955. The guided walk around what was formerly known as ‘Freedom Square’ includes a visit to the iconic tower that contains a memorial to the Freedom Charter, and we’ll appreciate the electoral ‘X’ symbol that appears all over the square (especially relevant in an election year!).

Refreshments will be available to purchase from the vendors at Freedom Square (for your own account). The bus will then return to the Sunnyside Park Hotel.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get an insider’s perspective on Soweto and its people.

Please note: this is a bus tour but we will be getting off the bus at several points. So, wear appropriate shoes and bring along a sunhat and drinking water.

Date: 16th March 2024

Description

For nearly 50 years, Ponte City has been an iconic fixture on Joburg’s skyline. With its eye-catching cylindrical design and breathtaking views, this skyscraper began its life as a desirable address for people who wanted to be close to the cosmopolitan night-life of Hillbrow. But as the city changed in the late 80s and 90s, Ponte fell into disrepair and disrepute. Now, Ponte has been resurrected as a well-run apartment and retail complex that is home to a wide range of residents from across Africa.

With such a rich and complicated history, a tour of Ponte City is a must for anyone interested in our city – and there’s no better way to explore this iconic structure than with the JHF in collaboration with Dlala Nje!

Dlala Nje has been offering guided tours through Ponte since 2012 with the aim of challenging perceptions of this highly misunderstood residential apartment building.

Highlights of the tour include a visit to the uplifting creche run by the Dlala Nje Foundation, a trip up to Dlala Nje’s penthouse on the 51st floor where you can buy a drink and take in the spectacular vista over high-rise Hillbrow, and an unforgettable walk into the hollow core of the building that offers amazing photographic opportunities.

Secure parking is available in the parking lot at the base of Ponte, which is our meeting point. Alternatively, you can catch an Uber. Please note, although the tour is guided and safe, please don’t wear fancy jewellery or flash your cash.

Date: 10th March 2024

Guide: Clare van Zwieten and Kgao Mashego

Description

Home to jet-setters, professionals, jazz musicians and poets for over 100 years, the suburbs of Killarney and Riviera are rich with architectural and human heritage.

Now, you can join expert guides Clare van Zweiten and Kgao Mashego for a fascinating walking tour that reveals the past and present of this evergreen part of Joburg.

Along the way, we’ll meet the American-born movie mogul, Isidore Schlesinger, who founded South Africa’s first film studio here, way back when the whole area was still farmland. Then, drawn in by the glamour, an array of fashionable apartment buildings were developed to emulate Manhattan’s high-rise lifestyle. Our tour wanders through these architecturally notable buildings, as we discover more about their diverse designs, groundbreaking architects and some famous residents. In particular, we’ll be paying a visit to Bullock House, which was home to a Greek Royal Prince, peeking inside the award-winning Oxford Shul and getting a close-up look at the swanky Art Deco features of Daventry Court, Gleneagles and Mentone Court.

The meeting point is outside Entrance 4 of the Killarney Mall in Killarney Avenue off Riviera Road. Parking is available in the parking garage just past Entrance 4 or on the street.

Date: 2nd March 2024

Guide: Monique Jefferson

Description

The first ‘tea and cakes’ in Joburg were sold by Roley and Budley from a mud hut in Ferreirasdorp in 1887. A mere 20 years later, Tommy Allan built a mansion, Yukon – named after the Canadian goldfields – on the side of a ridge, overlooking Bezuidenhout Valley. Yukon has been a landmark ever since.

Home to two mayors and host to Johannesburg’s high society, the house has been lovingly restored by Sir Henry and Loretta Chamberlain. With wide verandas, grand fireplaces, stained glass windows and sweeping views across the valley, this is a home to be savoured.

So, come and join your guides, Monique Jefferson and Yvonne Venter, for a fascinating tour of the house and meet its occupants – past and present. The tour culminates with a lavish cream tea (included in the price) complete with savoury and sweet treats, all served on the terrace – an experience not to be missed!

Numbers are limited and bookings for this tour close on the 26th of February, so don’t delay – book now!

Parking is available on the street and a car guard will be on duty.

Date: 24th February 2024

Description:

We’ve all seen the golden domes and soaring spires from the N1 highway. Now, join us for an exclusive tour inside Midrand’s two most impressive places of worship.

We begin our exploration at the Church of St Sergius of Radonezh, a stunning structure built in the ornate Russian Orthodox style designed to reflect the spiritual wealth of this ancient cultural tradition.

The Rev. Father Daniel Lugovoy will show us around as we discover more about the church’s graceful proportions, natural light, 5 golden cupolas, six round towers, and very fine antique icons.

Then, it’s back into our cars as we drive in convoy to the Nizamiye Kulliyes Mosque, a scaled down replica of the magnificent Selimiye Mosque of Erdine, a Turkish city on the Bulgarian border. Celebrating the heritage of the great Ottoman architect Sinan, this splendid mosque with its 4 tall minarets is the largest in the southern hemisphere. Many of the building’s elements come from Turkey, including the thousands of beautiful tiles.

Just to stand in the centre of the mosque is a breathtaking experience, surrounded by light seeping in through the many windows, reflecting on the shades of blue and turquoise Turkish tiles.

After the tour, you are welcome to stay on and join us for a traditional Turkish lunch at the mosque’s renowned restaurant (for your own account).

Please dress conservatively – ladies should be well covered with no bare shoulders and will be expected to cover heads and shoulders in certain areas (a large scarf or pashmina will do), gentlemen should wear long trousers, and please bear in mind that shoes have to be removed before entering the mosque.

Date: 17th February 2024

Description:

Joburg’s ridges are its defining geological feature and the Linksfield Ridge is one of the most magnificent. This popular heritage hike takes us along the iconic Linksfield Ridge through the Harvey Nature Reserve, offering spectacular views across Kensington and Orange Grove.

Led by David Fleminger, it’s a memorable walk that features a wealth of bird and plant life, quirky historical stories, a geological heritage that goes back 3 billion years, and some of the best selfie opportunities in Joburg! You’ll also get the latest updates on our efforts to reclaim the ridge, in partnership with Johannesburg City Parks.

Please note: this is a strenuous hike with several steep inclines and declines. It is only recommended for those who are moderately fit. The total walking distance is about 5 kms. Please bring hats, sunscreen, lots of water, snacks, and good hiking shoes or boots. As much as we love them, please don’t bring your dogs as this is a nature reserve.

Date: 10th February 2024

Description:

Join us for a delightful walk along Escombe Avenue, a historic Parktown street that’s been home to excellent architects, exciting journalists, energetic artists, an educated judge, and other enthusiastic, extraordinary and eminent residents.

Led by Karen Curry, Wade Venter and William Gaul, the tour starts at Westridge, the home of the award winning architect Peter Rich. At Westridge, we will do a short walk up the hill behind the house.

We then proceed to Endstead for a house tour. Designed by architect Ernest Sloper (Sir Herbert Baker’s first partner in Johannesburg) in 1903 and now home to two architects.

We end our journey at Craigside, another gracious residence, where we will be treated to tea and scones in the garden (included in the price).

This is a classic Parktown walk with rare access to remarkable properties that you don’t want to miss!

Please note: this tour is open to JHF Members only. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along a hat and sunscreen. 

Date: 3rd February 2024

Description:

Step into the heart of Melville, a dynamic suburb that mirrors the diverse tapestry of Johannesburg itself. Born only a decade after the city’s inception, Melville has a long history with countless hidden gems just waiting to be explored.

From its striking architecture, to its quirky shops, to the comforting aroma of its coffee emporia, Melville has long been a nexus of connection; a place where people from all walks of life converge to create a rich cultural mosaic that defines the essence of this unique suburb.

So, join Antoinette Morgan and Ed Coogan for an insider’s perspective of extraordinary Melville. Along the way, we’ll trace the evolution of this fascinating suburb and peel back the layers to celebrate the spirit of its ever-changing community.

The tour ends with a drink at one of Melville’s charming coffee shops (for your own account). Please bring along lots of water, a hat and sunscreen. Amenities will be available at indicated points along the way.

Date: 27th January 2024

Description:

Founded in 1888, less than two years after Joburg was born, St Mary’s school was established for the Anglican community to educate their daughters. Since then, the school has had three different locations and each plays a role in the school’s 136-year legacy.

Our tour begins at St Mary’s Waverley campus, where it has been operating for the last 90 years. Here, we will explore the beautiful grounds and classrooms of this prestigious institution. We’ll also find out more about the school’s first two locations in Jeppestown.

Then, we leave the campus for a short walk through the leafy suburb of Waverley where we will visit the Herbert Baker house, Taynuilt, with links to St Mary’s that endure to this day.

Join Alison Andrew for this intimate journey into the heart of St Mary’s School – a true Joburg institution. It’s a must for all St Mary’s ‘old girls’ and anyone interested in the educational history of Joburg.

Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along a sun hat.

Date: 20th January 2024

Description:

Join us for a delightful walk along Escombe Avenue, a historic Parktown street that’s been home to excellent architects, exciting journalists, energetic artists, an educated judge, and other enthusiastic, extraordinary and eminent residents.

Led by Karen Curry, Wade Venter and William Gaul, the tour starts at Westridge, the home of the award winning architect Peter Rich. At Westridge, we will do a short walk up the hill behind the house.

We then proceed to Endstead for a house tour. Designed by architect Ernest Sloper (Sir Herbert Baker’s first partner in Johannesburg) in 1903 and now home to two architects.

We end our journey at Craigside, another gracious residence, where we will be treated to tea and scones in the garden (included in the price).

This is a classic Parktown walk with rare access to remarkable properties that you don’t want to miss!

Please note: this tour is open to JHF Members only. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along a hat and sunscreen.

Date: 13th January 2024

Guides: David Fleminger

DescriptionJoburg’s ridges are its defining geological feature and the Linksfield Ridge is one of the most magnificent. This popular heritage hike takes us along the iconic Linksfield Ridge through the Harvey Nature Reserve, offering spectacular views across Kensington and Orange Grove.

Led by David Fleminger, it’s a memorable walk that features a wealth of bird and plant life, quirky historical stories, a geological heritage that goes back 3 billion years, and some of the best selfie opportunities in Joburg! You’ll also get the latest updates on our efforts to reclaim the ridge, in partnership with Johannesburg City Parks.

Please note: this is a strenuous hike with several steep inclines and declines. It is only recommended for those who are moderately fit. The total walking distance is about 5 kms. Please bring hats, sunscreen, lots of water, snacks, and good hiking shoes or boots. As much as we love them, please don’t bring your dogs as this is a nature reserve.

 

Past Tours Quarter Four 2023

Date: 13th January 2024

Guide: David Fleminger

Description

Joburg’s ridges are its defining geological feature and the Linksfield Ridge is one of the most magnificent. This popular heritage hike takes us along the iconic Linksfield Ridge through the Harvey Nature Reserve, offering spectacular views across Kensington and Orange Grove. 

Led by David Fleminger, it’s a memorable walk that features a wealth of bird and plant life, quirky historical stories, a geological heritage that goes back 3 billion years, and some of the best selfie opportunities in Joburg! You’ll also get the latest updates on our efforts to reclaim the ridge, in partnership with Johannesburg City Parks.

Please note: this is a strenuous hike with several steep inclines and declines. It is only recommended for those who are moderately fit. The total walking distance is about 5 kms. Please bring hats, sunscreen, lots of water, snacks, and good hiking shoes or boots. As much as we love them, please don’t bring your dogs as this is a nature reserve.

Past Tours Quarter Three 2023

Date: 23rd September 2023

Description:

Katherine Love, the chatelaine of Lindfield, will be hosting an exclusive JHF tour through her unique house museum in Auckland Park.

With a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor, Lindfield House is a trip back in time to the late Victorian and Edwardian age on the Highveld. The house was built circa 1910 and now boasts a vast collection of 19th and 20th century furniture, art, decorative objects and other Victoriana.

Following the tour, tea and cakes will be served in the conservatory to allow JHF members to socialise and Katherine will be available to answer any additional questions not covered by the tour. 

This tour is suitable for all ages and offers visitors a real window to the past!

Date: 16th September 2023

Description:

As an architect, Sir Herbert Baker certainly stamped his name on Parktown – and nowhere more so than along Rockridge Road.

These large properties with spectacular views became the preferred address for the Randlords when they decided to move away from the dusty city centre. And Baker was happy to use the abundant koppie stone which had to be cleared to make way for a series of classic Arts and Crafts homes.

Our tour begins at the iconic Northwards, where we will explore the gardens and enjoy the view before heading down Rockridge Road to visit Pilrig and St Margaret’s. The walk ends at Baker’s own residence, The Stonehouse, built in 1902.

Led by Joy Campkin-Smith and Karen Curry. Please wear good walking shoes and bring sunblock, a hat and water. 

Heritage Weekend 2023

This brand new tour takes us to two fascinating but little-visited parts of Johannesburg: Coronationville and Bosmont. 

Home to the ‘Coloured’ community since 1937, Coronationville was established to commemorate the crowning of King George VI and offered residents a better quality of home built with red bricks, often with blue brick trim. Some of these original houses can still be spotted as we move through the neighbourhood, which also boasts a wide variety of churches – from the A-framed Lutheran to the strikingly modern St Anthony’s – as well as the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital and St. Theresa’s Primary School (established by the Holy Family sisters, which later became a feeder to their campus in Parktown). 

The tour then continues across Fuel Road into Bosmont with its extraordinary range of housing from informal settlements and RDP houses to the upmarket residences of the ‘High Bucks’ areas. Once again, we’ll see a range of churches culminating in the ecumenical triumph of Langeberg Street where a mosque and two churches sit peacefully alongside one another, good neighbours for over 50 years.

Led by local experts Lavinia & Fabian Otto, assisted by Flo Bird. This bus tour will include two stops/visits.

Date: 9th September 2023

Description:

Perched on the lip of Linksfield Ridge, Beauvais is one of Joburg’s most glorious Randlord mansions. Boasting distinctive Cape Dutch gables and tremendous views to the North, this was once the grand residence of Percival and Marcella Tracey and their 7 children. 

Back when it was built in 1907, far from the city centre on terrible sand roads, the locals dubbed the remote mansion ‘Tracey’s Folly’. Indeed, the family lived in the house for only 10 years before it became the Parktown Boys Preparatory school, complete with secret passages that connected the dorms to the pantries!  

Although now used as a corporate headquarters, the current owner has lovingly restored Beauvais so come explore this beautiful property and enjoy the view (bring your camera!). 

Led by Nici Noble and Joy Campkin-Smith. The bus will transport you to Beauvais and collect you after the house tour. 

Date: 9th September 2023

Description:

Calling all true-crime fans! Hop on board for a bone-chilling bus tour that takes you into the dark underbelly of Joburg’s criminal past.

This abridged version of our popular murder-mystery excursion visits various locations across the northern suburbs to reveal a rogue’s gallery of miscreants and their unfortunate victims.

As we drive, we’ll hear the tragic story of ‘goodtime girl’ Bubbles Schroeder; investigate the mysterious deaths of Hazel Crane and Brett Kebble on adjacent bridges; uncover the grisly story of the Zoo Lake murderer, Ronald Burch, who dismembered his wife’s body; recount the farcical Glazer kidnapping; visit the Stander gang’s hideout in Houghton, and much more besides.

Led by David Fleminger. This bus tour will not have any stops.

Date: 9th September 2023

Description:

Standing proudly on the edge of Parktown Ridge, Northwards is a Joburg icon and Sir Herbert Baker’s most romantic mansion.

Built for the flamboyant John and Jose Dale Lace, Northwards is filled with stories: of glittering galas and scintillating scandals, of financial failures and ruinous fires, of reconstruction and survival.

And no-one knows Northwards better than the inimitable Neil Viljoen. So, join us for an exclusive guided tour with Neil as he takes us from the cellar to the attics, and feel a glimmer of the glamour that passed through the great hall of Northwards all those years ago.

The bus will drop you off at Northwards and collect you after the house tour.

Date: 9th August 2023

Description:

As befits a woman of her standing, Lady Florence Phillip laid out extensive gardens across her vast estate. Sadly, most of them were gobbled up by the M1 highway that was built from 1962 to 1972. But the gardens of Villa Arcadia are still lovely.

When restoring the property, Hollard consulted with renowned landscape architect Patrick Watson to create special natural spaces, with trails that lead up the ridge behind the house. These secluded pathways offer excellent exterior views of the grand Villa designed by Sir Herbert Baker, revealing how the glorious Highveld sunlight impacts on the architecture.

So, come and enjoy a pleasant walk up the kopje while the trees are in flower. You’ll be impressed by Hollard’s commitment to our heritage – and you see two outdoor works from their art collection!

Led by Ed Coogan and Arj van Zwieten. The bus will drop you at the start and collect you at the end. This is a fairly strenuous walking tour of 2 kilometers with many uphills. Wear good walking shoes and bring sunblock, a hat and water. Please note: this tour does not go into the house itself.

Date: 10th September 2023

Description:

Orlando East turned 91 years old this year and to celebrate, we have created a memorable tour that follows the trail of JHF Blue Plaques, which have been erected to commemorate some of the area’s most outstanding residents.

Among the highlights, we’ll visit the home of the ‘the Father of Soweto’, James Mpanza, who led 8000 followers to claim the land that later became the biggest township in South Africa.

We’ll also visit The Rock (Orlando High) – Soweto’s first secondary school – where you can read the famous Honours Boards, donated by the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation, which record an extraordinary list of famous alumni including a State President, a Princess and an Archbishop.

Remember to bring some cash for a snack at one of the pavement cafés.

Led by David Gurney, Vuka Tshabalala and Tshenolo Mokhele. This bus tour will include several stops/visits.

Date: 10th September 2023

Description:

A beautiful terraced garden, replete with roses, leads up the slope to glorious Glenshiel – one of Herbert Baker’s largest and most successful compositions.

Designed in an unusual butterfly shape and boasting plenty of warm koppie stone, this was the gracious home of Sir William Dalrymple, Lord of the Manor, and Lady Isabel, his glamorous wife (a former actress!). Their hospitality was legendary and just about every prominent visitor to Joburg popped in at Glenshiel.

The property was later bought by Major Gordon Haggie, who converted the stables into a home and donated the main house to the Order of St. John. It remains the head office of this noble organisation dedicated to first aid and community healthcare to this day.

The tour will include the house and the stables, now home to members of the Haggie family once again. In the garden, we’ll also visit the tiny Tudor-style house built for the ‘Liberty Cavalcade’ at Zoo Lake in 1942. Finally, we’ll cross the road to see The Ridge School, established in an early Westcliff home by Sir Aubrey Woolls-Sampson and Lady Violet.

Led by Brian McKechnie and Karen Curry. The bus will drop you off at Glenshiel and collect you at the end of the tour.

Date: 10th September 2023

Description:

Braamfontein Cemetery is Joburg’s oldest graveyard and the final resting place for many famous Joburgers from years gone by.

Join us as we uncover the secrets of this evocative burial ground, including a crypt under the crematorium where caskets are stored, including those of Sir William van Hulsteyn and Frank Wild (five-time Antarctic Explorer who has now been reinterred alongside Ernest Shackleton).

We will also visit the ash walls, which we are busy restoring after the tragic recent vandalism. Here we will hear about Sonja Schlesin (Mohandas Gandhi’s secretary) and Albert Lindbergh (Founder of CNA). And, along the way, we will salute a number of other prominent people including Sir Thomas and Lady Cullinan.

Led by Nici Noble and Sarah Welham – founder of the Friends of Johannesburg Cemeteries organisation. The bus will drop you off at the starting point and collect at the end of the walking tour. Please wear good walking shoes and bring along a hat, sunscreen and water.

Date: 10th September 2023

Description:

‘The Struggle’ against apartheid dominated South African history for much of the 20th century. As such, it is our honour to commemorate the lives and achievements of those veterans who sacrificed a great deal so that we may all enjoy our post-1994 freedom.

Ranging from west to east, this tour passes places connected to many struggle heroes, of all colours and religions, who dedicated their lives to the liberation of South Africa from racism and oppression. These luminaries include Mosie Moola, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Walter and Albertina Sisulu, Rusty and Hilda Bernstein, all the activists living along ‘Red Square’ in The Gardens, and Bram Fischer.

‘Lest we forget’, the struggle was fought by people of great integrity and firm convictions. Join us to celebrate their legacy this JHF Heritage Weekend.

Led by Flo Bird, Merle Ruff and David Fleminger. This bus tour will not include any stops.

Date: 10th September 2023

Description:

On the eastern edge of Parktown, the aspiring early settlers built grand Arts and Crafts-style mansions along streets named Park Lane and Princess Place – conjuring up echoes of London’s lofty Mayfair and Belgravia neighbourhoods. Apartment blocks replaced the big private homes in the fifties. Later, the university built the Wits Junction Student village, which retained the old houses still standing.

Date: 10th September 2023

Description:

Once the plantation that supplied the mines of Joburg with pit props, Forest Town retains its verdant links to the past.

This tour is both a pleasant stroll through a lovely garden suburb (Forest Town was once the nursery for many of Parktown’s trees) and a primer on the early architects of our city with homes built in diverse styles ranging from the classical to the very modern by icons such as Baker, Howden, Moerdijk, and ‘Pancho’ Guedes, .

Forest Town has also been the home of many historical figures, including the noted bacteriologist Sir Frederick Spencer Lister. And it’s the location of Johannesburg Zoo, because Percy Fitzpatrick needed a place to keep all the animals he collected on his travels!

Led by Ed Coogan and Joy Campkin-Smith. The bus will drop you at the starting point and collect you at the end. The walk is roughly 4–5-kilometres. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring water, sunblock and a hat.

Date: 2nd September 2023

Description:

Satyagraha House is a home built by Hermann Kallenbach in 1907. Originally named ‘The Kraal’, Kallenbach generously invited Mohandas Gandhi (then a lawyer living in Joburg) to share his home and they lived here from 1908 to 1910 before moving to their new commune at Tolstoy Farm.

As such, Satyagraha House has been described as a two-man ashram where the friendship between Gandhi and Kallenbach deepened into a lasting intellectual bond. It was here that Gandhi shaped and formed his ideas about passive resistance and made the commitment to endure arrest and imprisonment in pursuit of civil rights for Indians in South Africa.

Today, the House has been beautifully restored by the French travel company Voyageurs du Monde under the supervision of architect Rocco Bosman and Lauren Segall, with Eric Itzkin responsible for developing a fascinating on-site museum. It opened to the public in 2011 and has become a popular place of pilgrimage that incorporates a unique guest house and vegetarian restaurant.

Come and experience Satyagraha House for yourself on this special members-only tour led by Kallenbach expert Kathy Munro and Edna Oberholzer, who manages the guest house and museum. Tea is included in the ticket price.

The tour will also explore the architecture and other buildings on Pine Street, including the adjacent synagogue and churches.

Please note: this tour is only open to JHF members and is limited to 30 people. Book soon! Wear comfortable walking shoes and a sun hat. 

Date: 26th August 2023

Guides: Clare van Zwieten and Lucas Quan

Description:

The discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand drew seekers from around the world, eager to make their fortune. Many Chinese pioneers also joined this gold rush and set up camp in the area of Johannesburg now known as Ferreirasdorp.

Join the JHF as we take you on an intimate walking tour through Joburg’s Old Chinatown, filled with tales of the early Chinese immigrants as well as later arrivals. Led by Claire van Zwieten and Lucas Quan, we’ll get a sense of the social clubs, multi-generational dynasties, and the Chinese community’s role in the passive resistance campaign.

We will end our tour with lunch at the legendary Swallows Inn Chinese Restaurant on Commissioner Street (lunch is included in the tour price, drinks for own account). Don’t miss this amazing cultural and dining experience.

Please wear good walking shoes and a sunhat, and bring along water and sunblock. A car guard will be on duty at the meeting point. 

Date: 19th August 2023

Guides: Cathie van Rooyen

Description:

A short, reserved Scotsman named HB Marshal made a lasting impression on the nascent city of Gold. Due to ill health, he moved to the rough and ready mining town in search of a better climate. Once he arrived, however, he quickly saw many opportunities to flourish thanks to his expert horsemanship and nimble business brain.

From transportation magnate to brewery owner, from landlord to prisoner, his life of lucky breaks and lucky misses etched his name into Joburg’s history books – most notably with the establishment of his eponymous settlement of Marshalltown.

Join us for a fascinating online webinar as Cathie van Rooyen takes us on an in-depth journey through the life of a true pioneer, including ‘interviews’ from those who knew and loved him best.

Please note, this is a virtual event. A Zoom link will be sent out upon booking.

Date: 12th August 2023

Guides: Nicola Noble

Description:

Brixton is the second oldest cemetery in Joburg, and the final resting place for many famous and infamous personalities.

Join Nicola Noble for a fascinating walking tour that winds between trees and tombstones as we visit a variety of gravesites. From those unfortunates who died from a variety of medical maladies in an age when medical diagnostics were rudimentary, autopsies were rare and reliable data was scarce. This is, after all, how people typically died in the early 1900s.

We’ll also chat about some of Brixton Cemetery’s most gruesome deaths: from the strikers hanged for their role in the 1922 Rebellion, to Daisy De Melker’s 2 husbands and son poisoned by her hand, to tragic Irene Kanthack – a bright 18 year old student whose murder even caught the attention of Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle! 

Please wear comfortable shoes, a sun hat and bring along lots of drinking water. Please note there are no toilet facilities in the cemetery.

Date: 9th August 2023

Guides: Liz Haines and Nicola Noble

Description:

Bring your family and friends to celebrate Women’s Day with the JHF as we explore the iconic and romantic Randlord mansion of Northwards, with a special focus on the remarkable women who have called it home.

Join your guides, Liz Haines and Nicola Noble, as we wander through the grand rooms that still echo with the presence of wild and beautiful Josie Dale Lace, whose endless receptions and dinner parties were the talk of high society in early Johannesburg. We’ll also encounter the formidable Mrs Gertrude Albu, whose large family was brought up in the house.

The extravagant lifestyle of the Randlords necessitated many servants and this tour takes us behind the scenes to discover what it was like to be one of the young girls and women employed to cook, clean and tend to their mistresses. We’ll even hear about the meals they prepared via some original recipes of the day.

Other highlights include the unusual location where the SABC typing pool worked after the mansion was sold. And we’ll hear about Julia Albu, the amazing 80-year young epic adventurer, who drove from Cape to Cairo in her Toyota Conquest.

Following the tour, we’ll enjoy the leisurely life with tea and scones in the garden (included in the tour price).

Date: 29th July 2023

Guides: Clare van Zwieten and Adam Golding

Description:

As one of the few upper-income flatlands in the metropolis, Killarney is among Joburg’s most interesting suburbs. 

Since its establishment, this relatively small parcel of land has been transformed from a quaint farm to its current status as a “mini-Manhattan” that houses a wonderfully diverse population of residents.

Along the way, it has been home to one of the first Hollywood-style film studios in South Africa, which was later replaced by the Killarney Mall – one of the city’s first suburban shopping centres. Meanwhile, an eclectic collection of high-rise apartment buildings was developed, encompassing a variety of architectural styles that includes some of Johannesburg’s finest Art Deco facades, along with excellent examples of mid-century Italian and Brazilian modernism.

This delightful 2.5 hour walking tour, led by Clare van Zweiten and Adam Golding, celebrates all aspects of the Killarney story, and even includes a walk through The Wilds – a lovely green haven that harks back to the area’s bucolic past.

We start outside Entrance 4 of the Killarney Mall in Killarney Avenue, off Riviera Road. Parking is available in the parking garage just past Entrance 4 or on the street. Don’t forget to bring along drinking water and wear a hat and good walking shoes – please be aware that the tour distance will be 5km and will include some steep stone pathways to be walked.

The tour will end at 16h30 on a Killarney rooftop with wonderful views – it will then be a 20 minute walk back to the tour start at the Killarney Mall.

Date: 22nd July 2023

Guides: Kathy Munro and Joy Campkin-Smith 

Description:

Come and explore a special corner of old Parktown with its graceful and grand mansions.

Led by the extremely knowledgeable Kathy Munro and Joy Campkin-Smith, this walking tour begins at the historic Sunnyside Park Hotel (secure parking is available) and proceeds along Carse O’Gowrie Road to the Wits Education Campus and back again.

Along the way, we’ll see the Causeway, Roedean School, Hazeldene Hall and the View, where we’ll enjoy tea and scones (included in the ticket price). We’ll also check out some of the interesting smaller homes along Ridge Road, Park Lane and St Andrews Road.

It’s a fascinating walk and talk that covers a diverse range of architecture including a hotel, a school, an office block, a hospital, a theatre, university residences and a regimental headquarters.

While today’s Parktown may be rather institutional and business-facing, we can still catch echoes of the Old Parktown in the line of a turret, the turn of a gable, a shady veranda, a sash window or even a stained-glass survivor.

Please wear good walking shoes and bring along a hat, sunscreen and drinking water. You are also invited to arrive early and enjoy lunch at the Sunnyside Park Hotel restaurant before the tour begins (for your own account).

Date: 15th July 2023

Guides: David Gurney and Kgao Mashego 

Description: Commissioner Street was once Joburg’s financial centre, home to many of the banks and building societies that defined our city’s formative years.

On this evocative inner city tour, led by architects Dave Gurney and Kgao Mashego, we’ll revisit some of the structures that once housed these powerful financial institutions and discuss the symbolism of their facades, see their engineering milestones, and embrace their restorations and refurbishments.

Highlights include: the late-Victorian Natal Bank – the city’s oldest surviving bank building designed in 1899. Somerset House – home of the United Building Society, all dressed up in Edwardian classicism to symbolise stability and permanence. The third Standard Bank Chambers – a neo-Baroque late-Victorian building that is intentionally monumental, with statues of Justice and Commerce towering above its double arch entranceway. Victory House of the Permanent Mutual and Investment Society – a bold, proud and handsome classical building in the Creative Eclectic Style, and the first building in Johannesburg to have a lift. And the modern Standard Bank tower block that was constructed from the top down – one of only a handful of “hanging” skyscrapers in the world.

This walking tour will begin from the statue in Gandhi Square. Please wear good walking shoes and bring along a hat, sunscreen and drinking water. As this is an inner city tour, it is recommended that you don’t wear any fancy jewellery and keep your wallets out of sight.

Date: 8th July 2023

Guides: David Fleminger, Nicola Noble, Ed Coogan

Description:

Calling all true-crime fans! Hop on board for a bone-chilling bus tour that takes you into the dark underbelly of Joburg’s criminal past.

Led by David Fleminger, Nicola Noble and Ed Coogan, this unmissable journey visits various locations across the city to reveal a rogue’s gallery of miscreants and their unfortunate victims.

As we drive, we’ll hear the tragic story of ‘goodtime girl’ Bubbles Schroeder; investigate the mysterious deaths of Hazel Crane and Brett Kebble on adjacent bridges; uncover the grisly story of the Zoo Lake murderer, Ronald Burch, who dismembered his wife’s body; see the location of the road block intended for the Foster Gang where General Koos de la Rey was accidentally shot instead – precipitating the Maritz Rebellion of 1914; recount the farcical Glazer kidnapping; and follow the trail of destruction caused by the 1922 Miners’ Strike.

And that’s not to mention cameos from the famous poisoner Daisy de Melker, a fratricidal Herman Charles Bosman, the notorious Station Bomber, and many others.

Book soon as this is going to sell out fast!

Notes: As this is a bus tour with no walking involved, it is suitable for all ages, regardless of fitness level. Please bring along refreshments as there will be no major stops along the way. The bus departs at 14.00 sharp from the Sunnyside Park Hotel (secure parking is available). Note: there will be no driving in convoy – we’ll all be together to share stories on the bus. If you feel like it, why not arrive early to enjoy lunch at the Sunnyside’s restaurant before the bus leaves (for your own account). 

Date: 1st July 2023

Guides: Brian McKechnie and Jo Buitendach

Description:

Joburg was booming in the 1930s, and so was the Art Deco movement. As a result, our city is blessed with several outstanding examples of this much-loved architectural style that favoured streamlined profiles and geometric designs.

Join local heritage architect Brian McKechnie and Joburg expert Jo Buitendach for an entertaining walk through the inner city as they explore some of the most important Art Deco buildings in the CBD.

We begin the tour on the steps of the famous Rand Club (built in a neo-classical Edwardian style) and then head off along Commissioner and Jeppe streets to view the magnificent Anstey’s Building, Astor Mansions, Castle Mansions and others. If there is no load-shedding, we will also go up to the top of Anstey’s for a panoramic view over downtown.

The tour ends back at the Rand Club where you can stay for a drink or snack.

The Rand Club will also be hosting their Antiques Book and Artisanal Faire from 9am, so this is a good chance to make a day of it: visit the JHF books table, attend the lecture at 11h00 by JHF Vice-Chair Kathy Munro and James Findlay about old local maps and how they uniquely represent the history of our city; or even book for lunch in the Rand Club restaurant (restaurant@randclub.co.za)

Tickets for the Book Fair are sold separately and cost R50 per person. Get your ticket at the door or https://www.quicket.co.za/events/208316-rand-club-antiques-books-artisanal-faire

Please wear good walking shoes, and bring along a hat, sunblock and water. There is no dedicated parking available so it is recommended to catch an Uber. Although we haven’t had any security issues in the past, it is recommended that you don’t wear any fancy jewellery and keep your wallets out of sight.

Past Tours Quarter Two 2023

Date: 25th June 2023

Guides: Flo Bird and David Fleminger

Description:

Cemeteries are fascinating repositories of history and the Jewish section of Westpark is packed with notable personalities.

On this unique tour, we’ll be paying our respects at the graves of some of Johannesburg’s finest – men and women who left an indelible mark on the city, country and beyond.

Led by the inimitable Flo Bird, the tour includes the final resting places of Helen Suzman – life-long fighter against Apartheid; Johnny Clegg – who bridged the racial divide through music; Philip Tobias, who drew world-wide attention to the Cradle of Humankind at the Sterkfontein Caves; Taubie Kushlick the first lady of the theatre; famous author Sarah Gertrude Millin, and many others.

Along the way, we’ll also learn a bit about Jewish burial customs, such as the placing of stones on a grave and why every Jew is buried in a simple pine box – no matter what your achievements in life.

The tour doesn’t cover a great distance as most of the graves are clustered in two sections. Please bring water and wear a hat if the sun’s out. Gentlemen are requested to wear a hat (or wear a yarmulke) as a sign of respect.

Secure parking is available within the cemetery grounds. Meet at the Ohel building, directly in front as you enter the gates.

Date: 17th June 2023

Guides: David Gurney and Michelle Woodrow

Description: Braamfontein (meaning Spring of Brambles) is one of the original farms that predates the establishment of Johannesburg. Today, ‘Braam’ is a dynamic part of our city, bustling with energy from its diverse population of university students, major businesses and other residents.

With such a long history, you don’t want to miss this fascinating walking tour that starts at the Romanesque-Revival Holy Trinity Church (one of the largest buildings in the area when it was completed in 1938). From there, we’ll head over to the old convent that was transformed into the Nunnery Theatre for the Wits School of Dramatic Arts in the space of a single weekend, back in 1970.

Sticking with the performing arts theme, additional stops will include the old Alexander Theatre (designed in the Scandinavian style for the Johannesburg Repertory Theatre group in 1951) and the newly built home of the Joburg Ballet School. Along the way, we’ll spend some time reflecting in the newly landscaped Liberty Indwe Park and perhaps even grab a coffee from one of the trendy eateries in the area.

Please wear good walking shoes and bring along a hat, sunblock and water.

Date: 10th June 2023

Guides: Kathy Munro and Joy Campkin Smith

Description:

Relive your days at Wits University (or experience Wits for the first time) with an entertaining stroll through the historical buildings of East Campus.

Led by a retired Professor of Architecture, this guided walk and heritage exploration covers the principal buildings as well as a range of interesting purpose-built academic structures. Along the way, we’ll discuss the origins of the university, discover some hidden relics from the past, and celebrate the alma mater of many Joburg residents.

With over 100 years of history, this fascinating tour of East Campus is a great way to spend the afternoon in great company.

Please note: this is a moderately energetic walk from the top of the hill to the bottom and back again. Please wear good walking shoes and bring along water, sunblock, and a hat.

Date: 3rd June 2023

Guides: Dlala Nje and David Fleminger

Description: For nearly 50 years, Ponte City has been an iconic fixture on Joburg’s skyline. With its eye-catching cylindrical design and breathtaking views, this skyscraper began its life as a desirable address for people who wanted to be close to the cosmopolitan night-life of Hillbrow. But as the city changed in the late 80s and 90s, Ponte fell into disrepair and disrepute. Now, Ponte has been resurrected as a well-run apartment and retail complex that is home to a wide range of residents from across Africa.

With such a rich and complicated history, a tour of Ponte City is a must for anyone interested in our city – and now you can with the JHF in collaboration with Dlala Nje!

Dlala Nje has been offering guided tours through Ponte since 2012 with the aim of challenging your perception of this highly misunderstood residential apartment building.

Highlights of the tour include a visit to the uplifting creche run by the Dlala Nje Foundation, a trip up to Dlala Nje’s penthouse on the 51st floor where you can buy a drink and take in the spectacular vista over high-rise Hillbrow, and an unforgettable walk into the hollow core of the building that offers amazing photographic opportunities.

Secure parking is available in the parking lot at the base of Ponte, which is our meeting point. Alternatively, you can catch an Uber. Please note, although the tour is guided and safe, please don’t wear fancy jewelry or flash your cash.

Date: 27th May 2023 

Guides: Thorsten Dixon, Heather Mason and Nicci Noble

Description:

In the 1890s, Brixton and neighbouring Auckland Park were home to infamous slaughter houses, which were “without exception dirty and in bad condition and…a perfect disgrace”. So it must have been a relief when, in 1902, the suburb was surveyed for residential development and Brixton became a bustling, working class neighbourhood. 

In terms of historical significance, Brixton residents were involved in the 1922 miners’ revolt (in a dramatic episode, strikers were driven off the Brixton Ridge, where their positions were bombarded by artillery and air attacks). And, in the 1980s, Brixton was among the first suburbs in the city to throw off Apartheid segregation. 

Today, Brixton is one of Joburg’s most diverse communities and best-kept secrets, populated by a mix of recent immigrants, students, and families who have lived here for generations. Church bells mix with the call to prayer, and the playground at Kingston Frost Park is often filled with children and parents chatting in multiple languages.

Join us on an exploration of Brixton past and present, its architecture, graffiti, and personalities. We’ll explore Brixton home interiors, churches, and backyards. The tour will also visit Brixton’s iconic alleyways, decorated with local art for the recent Brixton Light Festival, and an innovative gallery featuring art made from recycled materials.

Our tour guides are Thorsten Deckler, an architect, artist, and long-time Brixton resident, and his partner Heather Mason, a writer / photographer who writes the popular Joburg blog, 2Summers.

Artwork, refreshments, and snacks will be available for sale along the way.

“This tour brought not just Brixton, but Jozi to life for me again, and I suddenly saw and understood the appeal of this neighbourhood…  it is what we all want for South Africa to be, a place where diversity just IS.  This tour made me proud of my city, proud of its people, and proud to be a someone who is part of the broader community.” Meryl

Please bring along a hat, good walking shoes, sunblock and water.

Meet at the corner of Chiswick St. and Fulham Rd. Car guards will be in attendance.

Date: 20th May 2023 

Guides: Flo, Brian, and Denise

Description:

Spend the afternoon wandering through the beautiful Italian-inspired Villa Arcadia, originally built as the palatial residence of prominent Randlord and MP Sir Lionel Philips and his influential wife, Florence (founder of Johannesburg Art Gallery). Designed in high Arts and Crafts style by Sir Herbert Baker in 1909, this classic Parktown mansion has been beautifully restored by Hollard Insurance (the current owners) and is a delight to behold.

So, join us and lose yourself in a bygone era as we share stories of the villa’s original owners while appreciating Arcadia’s elegance and superb craftsmanship. Just seeing Lady Phillips’ indulgent sunken bath surrounded by hand-painted Delft tiles is an experience to savour!

The Villa also houses an outstanding modern art collection, and we will be guided through some of these pieces by the resident curator.

The afternoon ends with a stroll through the landscaped gardens with its resident owls, bats, koi fish and peacocks, while enjoying the fine views over Saxonwold and beyond.

The meeting point is in the forecourt of Villa Arcadia (enter the Hollard property through the Oxford Road Gate). Safe parking is available in the tree-lined driveway.

Please note: this is a members-only tour.

Date: 13th May 2023

Guides: David Fleminger

Description:

Joburg’s ridges are its defining feature and the Linksfield Ridge is one of our most magnificent. This heritage hike takes us along the iconic Linksfield Ridge through the Harvey Nature Reserve, with spectacular views across Kensington and Orange Grove.

It’s a memorable walk that features a wealth of bird and plant life, quirky historical stories, a geological heritage that goes back 3 billion years, and some of the best selfie opportunities in Joburg! You’ll also get the latest updates on our efforts to reclaim the ridge, in partnership with Johannesburg City Parks.

Please note: this is a strenuous hike with several steep inclines and declines. It is only recommended for those who are moderately fit. The total walking distance is about 5 kms.

Please bring hats, sunscreen, lots of water, snacks, and good hiking shoes or boots. As much as we love them, please don’t bring your dogs as this is a nature reserve. 

Date: 7th May 2023

Guides: Janet Coetzee and David Fleminger

Description:

We are broadening our horizons and heading north to Pretoria, for an exclusive walking tour around the historic city centre! 

Starting at Kruger House (we won’t be going inside but it’s worth a visit if you want to stay after the tour), our journey takes us down to Church Square and back, via the Staatsmodel School and Burgers Park. 

We have also gained exclusive access to the old Raadsaal building that dates from 1889, one of the first buildings to be upgraded after the discovery of gold. Here, the offices of the last president of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek and his secretary remain undisturbed, just waiting to be explored.

Along the way, we’ll find out many things about our neighbour in the north: the story of legendary Chief Tshwane; how a few ox wagons in the Fountains Valley expanded into a capital city; why the British insisted on referring to the ZAR as the ‘Transvaal’; why the 4th president of the ZAR was labelled a ‘heretic’; what happened to the Kruger Millions; the true story of Winston Churchill’s ‘Great Escape’; who controlled the system of concessions and kickbacks that controlled the Republic’s economy; what happened to the Dopper Church’s golden clock hands; and much more besides.

Don’t miss this fascinating excursion with expert Pretoria guide, Janet Coetzee. 

Please wear comfortable walking shoes (the route is about 3kms in total) and bring along a hat and plenty of drinking water. 

The meeting place is Kruger House in Pretoria Central. Please organise your own transport OR there is the option to catch the Gautrain from Sandton to Pretoria. Please note: the Gautrain departs Sandton at 09.08 and tickets are for your own account. From Pretoria Station, there will be an additional walk of about 1km to Kruger House making the tour about 5km in total. A JHF guide will be at Sandton station from 08.45 to help facilitate the Gautrain journey.

Date: 23rd April 2023

Guides: Monique Jefferson Mc Donald

Description: Calling all fans of the Royal Family: Britain’s new King, Charles III, will have his official coronation on 6 May 2023. To commemorate this historic occasion, we invite you to join us on a journey back through time as we dig into the history of England’s crownings dating back to 973AD, when the first coronation was held at Bath Abbey.

Along the way, we’ll get to understand the essential elements of a coronation, many of which have remained largely unchanged for a thousand years. We’ll also provide insight on some major symbols of royalty such as the coronation chair, and the sceptre & orb.

Special attention will be paid to the coronations of King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, and we’ll also touch on King Charles III’s life story. By the end of the presentation, you’ll know just what to expect and look out for on the big day.

Best of all, we’ll end things off with a traditional English tea and scones (included in the price).

You will also have an opportunity to look around The View, which was home to Sir Thomas Cullinan. This is a fitting location as the Cullinan diamond which is in the Royal Sceptre and crown was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan as he was the owner of the diamond mine where it was found.

Royal watchers don’t want to miss this one!

Date: 22nd April 2023

Guides: Kathy Munro and Clare van Zwieten

Description: Join us for a rare opportunity to venture inside the imposing Freemason’s Hall in Parktown, with its grand staircase and interiors, where we will learn about the growth of Freemasonry in South Africa and talk about some of the order’s more prominent members.

Freemasonry owes its origins to medieval stonemasons who closely guarded their unique skills and only passed them down from mason to mason within their fraternal organisation. Today, the society is still going strong and enjoys an active membership from all walks of life.

As we tour this stately and impressive neoclassical building, we will also discuss the temple’s famous architect, Gordon Leith, who is best known for his classicist design of official buildings in the old Transvaal. And, along the way, we’ll be pointing out the various masonic symbols that have been incorporated into the design of the grand building.

Please meet in the parking lot behind the Brenthurst Clinic, accessible from Park Lane, where there is ample safe parking available.

Date: 15 April 2023

Guides: Ed Coogan and Joy Campkin-Smith

Description: What a perfect way to enjoy a beautiful autumn day…
We begin our tour at Delta Park under the tallest palm trees in Johannesburg and, for an hour or two, we’ll imagine ourselves back in the 1930s when this was open farmland beyond our city limits. The tour then continues with a short walk in the forest to look at the original Art Deco gate and houses, some sadly in need of attention.
Next up, we’ll tour the impressive complex that was at one time a sewerage treatment facility for the north side of Johannesburg (before then, local residents’ waste was collected by ‘honey wagons’ or ‘night soil’ mule carts). This cluster of buildings includes the original wastewater treatment building (built in 1931), a group of homes for municipal officials, and a workers’ compound – all built in the International Style, which echoes the stylings of London’s underground and power stations from the same era.
The treatment facility became derelict in 1963 and the main building was due for demolition. Thankfully, in the 1970s, this beautiful structure was reinvented as a conservation centre and we’ll see how the old plant was incorporated into the environmental museum, where we hope to have a mini tour.
The walking tour will also include a short stroll along the pretty Linden Stream to see the upper pond and (hopefully) the last stand of Cosmos for 2023. And we’ll visit the Bird Sanctuary and the Braamfontein Spruit, with its many Oaks, London Planes, and other trees in their autumnal splendour.
It’s going to be a lovely day in Delta Park filled with architecture and history, so do come and join us!
Please bring a change of shoes, as the park can be very muddy if there has been rain. Ample parking is available at the Environmental Centre.

Date: 1 April 2023

Guides: Cathie van Rooyen 

DescriptionThe suburb of Florida in Roodepoort was once the hub of the mining industry on the West Rand, complete with government offices, Magistrates Court, museum and even a ghost house!

Our tour begins at the latter as we visit the Bryden house, known locally as the ‘spookhuis’, which is replete with stories about its ghostly residents. Next up, we head over to the Old Gaol, which still stands proud and defiant in the face of the 21st century.

We then continue to the Roodepoort Museum, which outlines the discovery of gold in the West Rand and includes a mock house that layers the original 19th Weltevreden Farmhouse over a Late Victorian Home, as well as a lounge setting from the 1920s and 1930s. A donation to the museum is included in the ticket price.

After the tour, you are invited to join us for a tasty lunch (at your own cost). This is one trip into the past that you don’t want to miss.

Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along a hat, sunscreen and drinking water. 

Past Tours Quarter One 2023

Date: 25 March 2023

Guides:David Fleminger

Description:

Joburg’s ridges are its defining feature and the Linksfield Ridge is one of the most magnificent. This heritage hike takes us along the iconic Linksfield Ridge through the Harvey Nature Reserve, with spectacular views across Kensington and Orange Grove.

It’s a memorable walk that features a wealth of bird and plant life, quirky historical stories, a geological heritage that goes back 3 billion years, and some of the best selfie opportunities in Joburg! You’ll also get the latest updates on our efforts to reclaim the ridge, in partnership with Johannesburg City Parks.

Please note: this is a strenuous hike with several steep inclines and declines. It is only recommended for those who are moderately fit. The total walking distance is about 5 kms.

Please bring hats, sunscreen, lots of water, snacks, and good hiking shoes or boots. As much as we love them, please don’t bring your dogs as this is a nature reserve. 

Date: 24 March 2023

Guides:David Forrest and Mike Benn

Description:

The iconic Hartbeespoort Dam celebrates its 100th birthday this year and we are celebrating with a special full-day bus tour – our first in several years!

The dam (completed in 1923) is situated on a narrow defile between Silkaatsnek and Kommandonek, in the Magaliesberg range. The dam has a capacity of 195 million cubic metres, stored behind a wall 59m high and 105m long. When full, it covers an area of 1883ha and irrigates 16 000 ha of intensively cultivated farmland.

The Itinerary
The coach departs at 07h30 sharp on Friday morning, March 24th, from the Sunnyside Park hotel in Parktown. We ask you to be there at least half an hour before departure. Safe parking has been arranged in the grounds of the hotel.

From Parktown we head straight to Kremetart Bistro at Hartbeespoort Dam, approximately 1 hour’s drive away. Here we meet our local guide, Mike Benn. A renowned historian, researcher and storyteller of note, Mike has lived in the Magaliesberg for over 30 years and is a member of the local Heritage Association.

As we continue our tour, we will see the large granite cross erected in honour of Hendrik Schoeman – who owned the original Hartbeespoort farm. Considered a Boer hero and then a traitor, we’ll learn about Schoeman’s interesting life and tragic death.

At the Meyerhof Foreshore, we discover more about the Sophia Dam (the original farm dam, constructed in 1891) and the metal bridge over the Crocodile River, constructed in 1929.

We then take to the sky with a ride on the cableway to the top of the Magaliesberg mountain range. Enjoy magnificent views as we have lunch and chat about how the Magaliesberg was formed. This is followed by a short walk along the summit, when we’ll hear about the dramatic Battle of Silkaatsnek.

Finally, we drive to the Dam Wall where we’ll chat about dam’s construction and the impact of war, pandemics, politics and floods on the ambitious engineering project. We’ll also hear about the early hunter-gatherers, African pastoralists, and Chief Mzilikazi who engaged in a series of battles with the Voortrekkers and their allies.

Before heading home, we stop off for a quick cup of tea or coffee at Van Galen’s Cheese Farm. Here, we’ll hear the story of General de Wet’s escape during the Second Anglo-Boer War. You will also have the opportunity to purchase some really good cheese!

This is going to be a fun and fascinating day out but space is limited, so book soon! The tour price includes transport, lunch and outings – all you have to pay for is drinks.

Please note: This itinerary is subject to change, at the guides’ discretion.

Date: 18 March 2023

Guides:Flo Bird and Karen Curry

Description: In anticipation of Human Rights Day, we’ll be visiting sites around Ferreirasdorp associated with people in the forefront of the struggle for Human Rights. We will also remember those communities whose rights were so brutally ignored.

Starting with the heroes, we’ll walk in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, George Bizos and both Sisulus (Walter and Albertina, whom we meet on a love seat). We’ll then move on to Canon Ridout and his Cathedral called St Alban’s, not to forget ‘Kathy’ Kathrada and Ahmed Timol.

Although we will only be meeting these heroes in spirit, some of the buildings where they worked or were detained are still standing – despite the work of the bulldozers – and we’ll be visiting them all.

The JHF has done much of the restoration work to beautiful St Alban’s and, now that the partitions along the south aisle have been removed, we can all enjoy the full volume of the nave with sunlight pouring through the windows on the north side.

Don’t miss this remarkable and emotional tour through one of Joburg’s oldest neighbourhoods.

Please bring drinking water and wear comfortable walking shoes, a hat and sunblock.

Date: 11 March 2023

Guides: Joy Campkin-Smith

Description:

Located on probably the highest contour of Westcliff, Tyson Road (with its 7 parcels of land) reveals interesting histories and personalities connected to the modern and art deco architectural traditions. Our tour is also peppered with the social history of 1950’s/1960’s Johannesburg.

Join us for a walk through idealistic spaces brought about by creativity, political goodwill and spiritual wellbeing. It’s an eclectic journey to a brave new world of courage, politics, benevolence and matters of the spirit, following ideas of form and function, prefabrication and innovation, and international manifestos – with a pinch of India thrown in.

The tour will end with tea (at your own expense) in the beautiful gardens of the ashram at the top of Tyson Road.

Please bring along drinking water and wear sunscreen, a hat and comfortable walking shoes. Park in Tyson Road

Date: 4 March 2023

Guides: David Gurney

Description:

The Rand Airport was opened in August 1935 and was immediately acknowledged by The Times as one of the Empire’s most modern and best equipped airports. The Terminal building is a masterpiece of streamlined modern design with hovering cantilevers and supporting columns evoking an aircraft undercarriage.

Back then, airline passengers leaving London on a Wednesday arrived at Germiston on the Thursday afternoon of the following week – Johannesburg was now a mere 8 days away from the centre of Empire!

80 years later, Johannesburg has developed into a regional aviation hub, and the main airport with its frenetic pace have decamped to the less evocative buildings of OR Tambo in Kempton Park. But Rand Airport still performs an important role in the charter aviation industry, and its buildings – featuring startlingly white cubist and rounded forms – are still a delight to behold.

Join us on a tour exploring the history of flight on the Rand, and the remarkable complex of buildings that comprises the Rand Airport.

Please bring drinking water and wear comfortable walking shoes, a hat and sunblock.

Date: 25 February 2023

Guides: Kathy Munro and David Fleminger

Description:

Before there were any clubs or theatres, the early Joburg miners were already organising horse races – thus began the long history of Turffontein and its racecourse.

Join us as we weave the history of Joburg through the history of Turffontein, from the Turf Club’s first president (Carl von Brandis) to famous horses such as Wolf Power, Aquanaut, Caradoc and Furious.

Along the way, we’ll hear about the young men who filled the trams from the city to Turffontein in search of entertainment. We’ll also find out more about the members of Joburg’s High Society who went to the track when they wanted to be seen. And, in a less glamorous chapter of the area, we’ll discuss Kitchener and the thousands of Boer women and children who were interned at the Turffontein Concentration Camp.

Please note: we have been given special access to the racecourse and will also be entering the parade ground where a strict dress code is enforced. No shorts, no flip flops or sleeveless shirts. Wear comfortable walking shoes, hats and dress smartly.

After the tour, tables have been arranged for us on Deck One of the  main grandstand where we can take a  bet on the races, order some lunch and view the horses in full stride (lunch, drinks and bets at own cost).

The meeting point is the Jockey Club grass parking at Turffontein Racecourse. Tell the security guard at the main gate that you are here for the heritage

Ernest Ullmann Park is a lovely public space and Recreation Centre serving Wendywood, Gallo Manor and Morningside Manor. The park abuts the Sandspruit and it’s a popular venue for wedding parties, picnics, bird-watching, and dog walks. It’s also home to several evocative sculptures by acclaimed artist Ernest Ullmann.

Join us for a stroll through this under-rated gem as we explore the park and find out more about the life and art of Ernest Ullmann. Eminent local historians and environmentalists Vincent and Jane Carruthers will also be on hand to chat about the history and natural life of the park.

After the tour, we’ll relax in the shade and enjoy a snack box (included in the price). Each ticket also includes a R50 donation to Friends of the Sandspruit – a community organisation that does valuable work along the river.

Please wear good walking shoes, bring a sun hat, drinking water and a fold-up camping chair.

 

Date: 18 February 2023

Guides: Clare & Arj

Description:

Before there were any clubs or theatres, the early Joburg miners were already organising horse races – thus began the long history of Turffontein and its racecourse.

Join us as we weave the history of Joburg through the history of Turffontein, from the Turf Club’s first president (Carl von Brandis) to famous horses such as Wolf Power, Aquanaut, Caradoc and Furious.

Along the way, we’ll hear about the young men who filled the trams from the city to Turffontein in search of entertainment. We’ll also find out more about the members of Joburg’s High Society who went to the track when they wanted to be seen. And, in a less glamorous chapter of the area, we’ll discuss Kitchener and the thousands of Boer women and children who were interned at the Turffontein Concentration Camp.

Please note: we have been given special access to the racecourse and will also be entering the parade ground where a strict dress code is enforced. No shorts, no flip flops or sleeveless shirts. Wear comfortable walking shoes, hats and dress smartly.

After the tour, tables have been arranged for us on Deck One of the  main grandstand where we can take a  bet on the races, order some lunch and view the horses in full stride (lunch, drinks and bets at own cost).

The meeting point is the Jockey Club grass parking at Turffontein Racecourse. Tell the security guard at the main gate that you are here for the heritage tour.

 

Date: 11 February 2023

Description:

Join us as we explore Brixton Cemetery, one of Johannesburg’s oldest burial grounds, filled with many beautifully designed gravestones. As we walk, we’ll examine a number of these small pieces of architecture, each with their own symbolic meaning.

From scrolls to urns to cherubs, discover the meaning behind the various symbols used on the headstones and graves.

With expert guides, Sarah and Nicola, this is sure to be a fascinating afternoon.

Please wear good walking shoes, bring a hat and plenty of drinking water. Note: there are no toilet facilities inside the cemetery.

Date: 4 February 2023

Description:

One of the most prominent outcrops along Joburg’s northern ridges, Northcliff is renowned for its landmark water tower, Jacaranda-lined streets and views all the way to the Magaliesberg.

Join our expert guides for a trek up the ridge, ending with the best view in Joburg! Along the way, we’ll also chart the beautiful heritage and contemporary homes dotted along the cliffs, including houses by renowned architects Wilhelm Pabst, Louis Louw, Ian Gandini and M.J. Harris.

Plus we’ll unpack some interesting histories – after all, no visit to Northcliff is complete without introducing some of the suburb’s more prominent personalities, including anti-apartheid activist Dr Beyers Naude and everyone’s favourite 90’s chat show host, Felicia Mabuza-Suttle.

The suburb of Northcliff Ridge was established in 1934 by Fred Cohen, who built himself a palatial Old Hollywood-style mansion on Hearn Drive. As part of the tour, we’ll see this house and explore the site of the tearoom and ‘plastic’ theatre that Cohen constructed right at the top of the hill – before it burned down!

After enjoying the panoramic views from the top of the ridge, we’ll be walking back down or you can call an Uber.

Please note: this is a long, strenuous walk with uphills and uneven surfaces. Remember to wear good walking shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen and water! Not recommended for people with mobility issues.

Date: 28 January 2023

Description:

When the Fever Hospital was constructed in the first decade of Alfred Milner’s rule, it was the lone occupant of a neglected area nestled between working class Braamfontein, patrician Parktown, and bustling Hillbrow. But by the 1960s, with land values having skyrocketed in the City and the Council requiring space to grow, this area would become the focus of an ambitious plan to create a “Civic Hill” for Johannesburg.

A competition was held to choose the design, and the winning scheme was described at the time as having the “makings of a great work of contemporary architecture”. Time has been less kind, and Clive Chipkin has described the Civic Centre as “an overpowering bureaucratic presence above desolate, granite-chip piazzas”.

Join us for a fascinating tour through the now-renamed Metro Centre and surrounding fabric, including the sublime Council Chambers building designed by studioMAS.

We finish our tour at the top of the ANEW Hotel where we will enjoy a panoramic Johannesburg view and sundowners at the rooftop bar (all drinks are for your own account).

Date: 21 January 2023

Description:

Is there a more beautiful place in Johannesburg than Parktown’s The Valley Road, especially when it’s in summer bloom? Originally called Prospect Terrace, this exclusive lane once looked over the plantation of Sachsenwald to the Magaliesberg beyond. That view has changed, with the burgeoning skylines of Sandton and Rosebank not taking precedence, but its architectural gems and gardens (many laid out by Herbert Baker in the tradition of Gertrude Jekyll) remain intact.

Our leisurely walk starts near the intersection of Jan Smuts Avenue, and encompasses Prospect Terrace, the Gate House and Moot House (perhaps one of Parktown’s most significant homes as this was where Alfred Milner’s Kindergarten planned the Union of South Africa).

Please wear good walking shoes, bring a hat and plenty of water.

Date: 14 January 2023

Description: The JHF invites you to a guided tour through the excellent South African National Museum of Military History. We start at the Anglo-Boer War Memorial (designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens), originally called the Rand Regiments Memorial.

Once inside the Main Courtyard, there are several memorials honouring different arms of the S. A. Defence Force. We then enter the “Sailor” Malan Hall with its display of several German aircraft and the only remaining Messerschmitt Me 262 in the world.

The GE Brink Hall is for lovers of old aircraft with a collection that includes a Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire (pristine condition), Messerschmitt Bf 109 (also excellent condition), De Havilland Mosquito, etc. There’s also a vast collection of various artifacts from various wars in which South Africans were involved.

The FB Adler Hall contains an abundance of uniforms, small arms, rifles, Bren light machine gun, ceremonial swords, infantry and cavalry swords etc. Outdoor Exhibits include various aircraft used by the SA Defence Force, a Centurion Tank, a few captured Soviet tanks and Howitzer guns.

Admission to the museum is included in the ticket price. Refreshments are available at your own cost.

Date: 5 January 2023

Description: Don’t miss the opportunity to attend this much coveted sold-out exhibition! Only 20 tickets are available for JHF members only, so book soon.

‘Kahlo, Sher-Gil, Stern: Modernist Identities in the Global South’ is an art exhibition featuring the works of three pioneering women artists: Frida Kahlo (1907–1954), Amrita Sher-Gil (1913–1941) and Irma Stern (1894–1966), together in South Africa (and Africa) for the first time.

The critically acclaimed exhibition examines the constructions of ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘indigenous’ identities through portraiture and self-portraiture. It also considers the time and place in which each artist produced their work, and gives some insights into their experiences, inspiration and concerns. The viewer is invited to consider and engage with one iconic artwork by each artist.

The tour will include a introduction by Prof. Kathy Munro, who will also discuss the award-winning architecture of the Johannesburg Contemporary Art Foundation (JCAF) building.

Past Tours Quarter Four 2022

Date: 26 November 2022

Guides: Kathy Munro and David Fleminger

Description: New Mountain Road is a hidden enclave located on the edge of Linksfield Ridge, boasting amazing views and some of Joburg’s most interesting mid-century architecture.

The tour will include several multi-level homes designed by noted architect Gerald Gordon, including his idiosyncratic personal residence, influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, and an incredible commission that demonstrates Gordon’s ‘organic’ vision.

We’ll also find out about the suburb’s founder, the pioneering Hermann Kallenbach, and visit the remains of his original residence.

Plus, we’ll visit the distinctive home dubbed by some as ‘Falling Waters on Linksfield Ridge’ (although there is at least one other claimant to that title). The homeowner and local historian, Alkis Doukakis, will be on hand to offer his valuable insights on the history of the area.

Join us for this rare opportunity to explore the architecture, origins and people who called this slice of Linksfield their home.

Please note: This is a members-only tour. Wear comfortable shoes and bring water and sun protection.

Your guides will be Kathy Munro and David Fleminger.

Date: 19 November 2022

Guides: Nicola Noble & Monique Jefferson Mc Donald

Description:

This is a chance to visit 3 of the finest Parktown mansions in a single tour.

We start at The Pines with its galleried hall and the finest bathroom in the city! Hollard Insurance has recently restored this wonderful ‘bachelor pad’ built in 1906 and enlarged for PM Anderson by Gordon Leith. This is a phenomenal example of a Johannesburg Edwardian home.

From the Pines we walk to Etunzini, designed in 1928 also by Gordon Leith. It is the epitome of the Arts and Crafts style in the city with a fine garden, commissioned from neighbour Joane Pim – South Africa’s first landscape architect.

We conclude our tour at The Palms, designed by Robert Howden and first occupied by Lance Dale Lace (son of Josie and John Dale Lace). The current owners (the Mangi family, who moved in 70 years ago) will be on hand to share their history and walk us through their home.

The walk is approximately 1 km. Please wear comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen and bring water.

Date: 12 November 2022

Guides: Cathie van Rooyen and David Gurney

Description:

Just months after the mining camp at Randjieslaagte was established, Scots entrepreneur HB Marshall saw an opportunity in the booming gold rush settlement and developed a commercial centre – Marshallstown.

Today, Marshalltown spans 64 hectares and encompasses businesses, clubs, skyscrapers, libraries, banks, government buildings and (more recently) residential apartments.

Come meet us in Gandhi Square to learn more about Henry Brown Marshall and the role he played in setting up the Central Business District, which has endured from the 1890s until now.

The walking tour then heads down Main street to the Mining District, McLaren street and of course Marshall street, taking in the different architectural styles and repurposed buildings. Along the way, we’ll hear stories about the entrepreneurial Scotsman and other pioneers of the city that became Joburg.

Please note: the distance to be covered is 4km. Wear comfortable shoes, a sunhat, wear sunscreen and bring water.

Date: 6 November 2022

Guides: Kathy Munro & David Fleminger

Description:

The greens of Huddle Park have been welcoming Joburg’s golfers and leisure seekers since the 1930s, when it was established as part of Bedford Farm (George Farrar’s estate).

Join us for a most enjoyable stroll along the ‘dog walkers’ route that winds between tall trees and small dams, which offer sanctuary to a wealth of birdlife. As we walk, we’ll illuminate the facility’s occasionally tumultuous history and we end our tour with a tasty snack box and iced tea (included in the price). Bring along a picnic blanket or a folding chair on which to relax.

Please note, this walk is about 2.5km long and a moderate degree of fitness is required. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring extra drinking water and sun protection. Dogs, unfortunately, will not be allowed to attend the tour as we will be a big group.

Your guides will be Kathy Munro & David Fleminger. We’ll meet at the parking area for dog walkers in Huddle Park, beyond the driving range. A map will be sent upon booking.

Date: 29 October 2022 

Guides: Keith Martin and Clare van Zwieten

Description:

Johannesburg’s rapidly growing gold mining industry needed dynamite and, in 1894, one of Alfred Nobel’s factories was established at Modderfontein. This facility grew in leaps and bounds to become the largest dynamite factory in the world, later evolving into the AECI chemical manufacturing complex.

Join us for a delightful walking tour of Modderfontein that includes a history of the dynamite factory and the residential area that developed around it.

We start at The Dynamite Company Museum and then make our way around the old village as we tell tales of explosives and powerful personalities, such as Alfred Nobel, Paul Kruger and Robert Baden-Powell.

Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water, a sun hat and sunscreen.

The ticket price includes a donation to the Modderfontein Conservation Society.

Date: 22 October 2022 

Guides: SJ de Klerk and Sarah Welham

Description:

Join us to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the Anglo-Boer War with a fascinating trip into the past.

We start our journey at Breezeblock, Brixton’s friendly neighbourhood café, for a quick cappuccino and an overview of the conflict.

A short self-drive then takes us to the Oud Stryders Monument on Cottesloe Hill, where tour guides SJ de Klerk and Sarah Welham share the trials and tribulations of some of the 150 men and women who congregated here on 3 December 1938. Until recently, this was the only monument in Johannesburg to Boer Burghers. As such, it is a microcosm of this war containing a variety of engraved plaques and tablets to Boer ‘Bittereinders’, internees, and the prisoners of war who were sent to far off camps in St Helena, Ceylon, India, and Bermuda.

Another short drive takes us to the historic Braamfontein Cemetery, where the remains of 509 Imperial soldiers were interred.

It’s a great opportunity to relive those far off days when two little Boer Republics challenged the might of the British Empire.

Bring along drinking water, a folding chair and protection against the sun. Comfortable closed walking shoes are recommended for protection against the weeds.

Date: 15 October 2022

Guides: David Gurney and David Fleminger

Description:

To celebrate Jacaranda Season, we invite you to tackle the famous Westcliff stairs for incredible views over a sea of purple.

We start at the historic Hope School – originally a mansion known as Pallinghurst, the home of Raymond and Hope Schumacher. The route then takes us up to Pallinghurst Road, down the stairs to Wexford Avenue, across to Westcliff Drive and up to Tyson Road.

Along the way, we’ll enjoy both the stunning views and some remarkable modernist houses of the 1930’s, with their elegant simplicity, geometric shapes, and innovative steel and concrete construction techniques.

We’ll also meet some of the famous personalities who lived in the area, including sculptor Moses Kottler and a well-known photographer, who had a tenant that wrote a blockbuster novel…

The tour concludes with a visit to Kanonkop and a final climb up the stairs to Woolston Road before heading back down to Pallinghurst Road for our return to the Hope School.

Please note: this tour is very steep and requires a decent degree of fitness. Wear good walking shoes and bring along water and sun protection.

Date: 8 October 2022

Guides: Monique Jefferson and Nici Noble

Description:

It’s Jacaranda season and we invite you to enjoy the splendid purple canopies from 2 classic homes with awesome views, located on different sides of the Linksfield Ridge.

Beauvais is the grand mansion with Cape Dutch gables prominently located on the lip of the ridge, just to the west of Sylvia’s Pass. It was originally built for Percival White Tracey, who had made a fortune mining diamonds – first in Kimberley, and later in Cullinan. When it was built in 1907, it was located so far out of town that the grand mansion was cheekily dubbed ‘Tracey’s Folly’. The appalling gravel tracks that lead to the house were so bad, Tracey burst several tires while inspecting the works.

During the ten years that the family lived at Beauvais, it was the scene of glittering social functions, as well as tragedy. We’ll hear more about the Traceys and the subsequent owners of one of Johannesburg’s most magnificent homes. The view to the north is also quite spectacular.

The other home we’ll visit is also known for one of its former residents – L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. Located on the other side of the ridge, in Cyrildene, this is a stunning mid-century modern residence that’s been lovingly restored to its 1950’s glory, complete with linoleum flooring, American diner-style kitchen, period fixtures, and beautiful timber interiors (from a Burmese teak front door, to the parquet flooring, to the sandblasted pine wall panelling).

Designed by Frank L. Jarret in 1951 for timber merchant Manos Broulidakis, this house is rich in history and boasts stunning views over Bez Valley to the south.

Your meeting point will be confirmed upon booking and you will need to drive yourself the short distance from one house to the other.

Date: 1 October 2022

Guides: Brian McKechnie, Joy Campkin Smith and Flo Bird

Description:

Many people have spotted the old house at the top of Oxford Road – the one with the onion dome – and wondered what it looks like inside.

Now is your chance to find out!

For the first time in many years, the JHF is offering its members in good standing a rare opportunity to visit Dolobran.

Dolobran is an amazing residence designed by James Cope Christie for Sir Llewellyn Andersson. It’s an astonishingly eclectic structure incorporating design elements gathered from various places where the Andersson’s had lived before. The tour includes the entire property: gardens, coach house and the main residence.

Although Dolobran isn’t a grand mansion on the scale of Northwards or Villa Arcadia, it’s surely the most enchanting of all the Parktown homes with its wonderful stained-glass windows, gables and cupola. The views across the Valley Road and Forest Town to the Johannesburg Zoo are pretty good too!

But Dolobran is not just a stately home. It remains the private home of Mr and Mrs Andersson – the third generation to live here. As such, it is a great privilege to visit and trust that all our visitors will treat the home with respect.

There will be two tour sessions available. The first starts at 13:30 and the second starts at 15:30. Only 45 tickets will be available for each session.

Visiting Dolobran is a dream come true so please book soon to avoid disappointment.

Past Tours Quarter Three 2022

Date: 25th September

Northwards – The Full Story

Northwards is a Joburg landmark, perched on the Parktown Ridge, looking out over the city’s leafy northern suburbs. But how much do you really know about this Herbert Baker masterpiece?

Join us for an exclusive tour with the custodian of Northwards, Neil Viljoen, as he takes us from cellar to attic – revealing the tempestuous history of this glorious mansion and the colourful characters who called it home.

Orlando East – 90th Birthday Celebration

The oldest of the formal Soweto townships, Orlando East is turning 90 this year!

To celebrate this momentous milestone, we are very excited to present a commemorative tour that will include a fascinating new exhibition on the neighbourhood and its history, and a visit to the home of James Mpanza Sofasonke – a seminal figure who led the first land grab in Soweto.

Forest Town Fantasy

Once the plantation that supplied the mines of Joburg with pit props, Forest Town retains its verdant links to the past.

With a wide range of architecture from Herbert Baker, Howden and Gerard Moerdijk to Pierre Swanepoel, Forest Town was also home to historical figures such as noted bacteriologist Dr. Frederick Lister, President Jacob Zuma and Mr. Justice Saul Solomon.

The Diamond Route – from The Beacon to The View

The Randjeslaagte Beacon was erected in 1886 and, for a few years, marked the northern-most point of Johannesburg.

Taking this landmark as our starting point, we’ll walk along the ‘Diamond Route’ and its lovely houses, including Muzi Yami, the Causeway and The View, home of the Cullinans, where we’ll be treated to a house tour. Our journey ends at Hazeldene Hall, bedecked with broekie lace frills and a ‘witches walk’.

The Rand Revolt of 1922

Violent strikes by mine workers are nothing new, but the 1922 Rand Revolt was unlike anything South Africans had ever experienced. Starting in January 1922, the unrest quickly developed into a full-scale, armed workers’ rebellion aimed at overthrowing the state.

Join us for the centenary commemoration of the Rand Revolt as we visit the Cottesloe School – where the so-called Knopkierie Striker Commando fired on advancing military forces, and the Milner Park School – where a contingent of the Transvaal Scottish was ambushed. We’ll finish our tour with a walk around the Fordsburg Market Square – where strike leaders Percy Fisher and Harry Spendiff met their end.

It’s going to be an entertaining (and somewhat bloody) afternoon of history!

Heritage Weekend: Art @ The Rand Club

Join Brian McKechnie for an enlightening tour of the Rand Club’s historic Art Collection, featuring foundational works by Baines and Bowler, Pietro Annigoni’s portrait (which caused a stir in London), a Henry Pagram donated by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, and an important commission by John Meyer.

We’ll also view exciting contemporary work from the FirstRand collection including pieces from Owasu-Ankomah (who worked on Giorgio Armani’s Red Campaign), Michael MacGarry’s 21st Century African cityscapes, embroidery from the Mapula Trust, and a brand-new dome designed by South Africa’s favourite fashion designer, David Tlale.

Date: 24th September

The Leonardo – Reaching for the Stars

It’s not a trip to outer space, but it’s the closest thing we’ve got! Join us for an out-of-this world journey to the top of the tallest building in Southern Africa – The Leonardo – situated in the heart of Africa’s richest square mile.

From the roof, 234 meters above Maude Street, you’ll enjoy a magnificent 360-degree view of Sandton and its surrounds – with the Voortrekker Monument in the north, the Magaliesberg mountains in the west, the old city centre in the south, and the planes circling OR Tambo Airport in the east.

Rockridge Road – Baker’s Parktown

As an architect, Sir Herbert Baker certainly stamped his claim on Parktown – and no more so than along Rockridge Road.

Offering large plots with spectacular views, this avenue became the preferred address for the Randlords when they decided to move away from the dusty city centre. And Baker was happy to oblige with a series of classic Joburg mansions.

Our tour begins at the iconic Northwards and then heads down Rockridge Road as we visit Pilrig and St Margret’s before ending our walk at Baker’s personal residence, The Stone House, built in 1902.

Diagonal Street and the Struggle:

Diagonal Street is one of Joburg’s most iconic thoroughfares, with its distinctive row of Victorian shopfronts dating back to 1896. Traditionally, this was home to a range of Indian shopkeepers and herbalists and, despite some threats of re-development in the 1980s, the colourful ‘trader’s alley’ endures to this day.

But Diagonal Street isn’t just about retail. Join us as we explore the area’s impressive Struggle credentials, which involves the Sisulus, the Tambos and the Mandelas – not to mention the evil deeds perpetrated inside the dreaded John Vorster Square police station nearby.

We’ll also be discussing the architectural heritage, which includes the famous ‘broekie lace’ facades, the landmark blue-glass ‘Diamond’ Building, and the Modernist designs of Wilhelm Pabst in China Town.

Fascinating Fordsburg

Fordsburg has it all: a long (and explosive) history, beautiful buildings, incredible food, and fabulous fabrics. There’s even an old public lavatory with links to the infamous Battle of Fordsburg.

Join us for an unforgettable walk through this dynamic hub as we follow the Blue Plaques through Fordsburg, with expert guides bringing stories of this fabled neighbourhood to life.

Noordgesig – An Insider’s Perspective

Noordgesig is one of the oldest ‘coloured’ townships in Joburg but its unique personality is often overshadowed by the fame of neighbouring Soweto. So, we’ve decided to put Noordgesig back on the map!

Join passionate local residents Lavinia and Fabian on a very special heritage tour through their neighbourhood. Along the way, you’ll meet the people and enjoy the innovative public artworks that decorate the streets.

Wits Business School – Hidden Heritage

The Wits Business School is a world-class academic institution. But the campus also contains three wonderful heritage homes: the romantic North Lodge, Outeniqua and the recently restored Beaulieu – one of the oldest Parktown houses still standing.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to explore the hidden heritage tucked away inside the WBS.

Date: 17 September 2022

Guides: Flo Bird and Michelle Woodrow

Description:

Spring is here and September is Heritage Month. Where better to celebrate both than the glorious gardens of Brenthurst?

In honour of Heritage Month, Mr. and Mrs. Oppenheimer have kindly allowed us to visit their estate, which has been their family home for three generations. Apart from containing one of the first Herbert Baker homes in Joburg, huge gum trees, and sweeping views over the trees of Sachsenwald (Saxonwold), the gardens of Brenthurst are famously beautiful.

This tour combines history with horticulture and gives us a rare chance to experience the serenity of this magnificent green space. We will also find out more about the vision for the garden as it has evolved over the years to better reflect the local ecology and indigenous planting.

Numbers are limited and this is sure to sell out quickly. Book now!
Please wear comfortable walking shoes and wear a hat.

Date: 18 September 2022

Guides: Monique Jefferson and Nici Noble

Description:

The first ‘tea and cakes’ in Joburg were sold by Roley and Budley from a mud hut in Ferreirasdorp in 1887. A mere 20 years later, Tommy Allan built a mansion, Yukon – named after the Canadian goldfields – on the side of a ridge, overlooking Bezuidenhout Valley. Yukon has been a landmark ever since.

Home to two mayors and host to Johannesburg’s high society, the house has been lovingly restored by Sir Henry and Loretta Chamberlain. With wide verandas, grand fireplaces, stained glass windows and sweeping views across the valley, this is a home to be enjoyed.

Come and discover the fascinating history of the house and its occupants. The tour includes a traditional cream tea served on the terrace – not be to missed!

You can even climb the (many) steps up the ridge behind the house for the best views.

Parking is available on the street and a car guard will be on duty.

Date: 10 September 2022

Guides: Brett McDougall and Shaun Gaylard

Description:

RSA 365 is a luxurious coffee table book featuring 365 beautiful architectural drawings of South Africa’s most iconic buildings, bridges & water towers. Each illustration is accompanied by an essay with meticulously researched details on the buildings, their personalities and events associated with them.

Join the authors, Shaun Gaylard and Brett McDougall, as they chat about what inspired the book and why the architecture of South Africa is so compelling.

Signed copies will be available for purchase.

The book launch event is free but advance booking is required. Refreshments will be available.

Following the book launch, Brett McDougall will lead a tour around the Rand Club. Please note, this tour will cost R100 per person and should be booked separately via Quicket or the JHF office.

Secure parking is available outside the Rand Club. 

Date: 3 September 2022

Guides: David Fleminger and SJ de Klerk

Description:

Troyeville is one of our city’s oldest and most fascinating suburbs, with a rich architectural and historical fabric.

The journey starts at The Troyeville House, an imposing Edwardian mansion with many original fittings and a stunning stained-glass panel. This former home of the Salvation Army and other luminaries is now a vibrant multi-cultural space for events, art, regeneration – and a perfect place for tea in the garden.

The tour then dives into the surrounding neighbourhood, including the lovely art deco Beryl Court, the house of activist David Webster, a Gandhi residence, and one of the most important examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Johannesburg.

The tour includes a delicious tea with cakes.

Please bring good walking shoes, a hat, sunblock and water. Secure parking is available in front of The Troyeville House. 

Date: 28 August 2022

Description:

The Lower Houghton Residents Association in partnership with the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation invites you on a tour through four of Houghton’s most glorious historical homes: Koekfontein, House Mourgana, House Normandie and House Noordhoek. It’s a rare opportunity to glimpse behind the walls and enjoy these unique residences, which were all built between the first and second world wars – the heyday of Johannesburg’s growth.

Date: 27 August 2022

Guides: David Gurney

Description:

Glenshiel is the last Randlord mansion built by the partnership of Herbert Baker and Frank Fleming, and it’s considered among their most interesting.

Date: 21 August 2022

Guides: Clare and Arjen van Zwieten

Description:

Back in the 1880s, Johannesburg was a rough mining camp populated by fortune seekers (overwhelmingly men) from all over the world. As the richness of the main reef became established, however, increasing numbers of women made their way to the City of Gold. First came the barmaids and ladies of the night. Then, as the mining camp transformed into a town, they were joined by the Randlords’ wives, nuns, working class wives, teachers, actresses and servants. These women brought stability to early Johannesburg and helped shape the city that we are familiar with today.

Join us on our tour of Braamfontein Cemetery as we share some stories of the women of early Johannesburg and provide a glimpse of what their lives were like.

Highlights include: Annie Cullinan (Randlord wife), Sonja Schlesin (Gandhi’s secretary), Agnes Hoernlé (anthropologist), Valliamma Munusamy (passive resistor), Jess Daisy Melville (barmaid), Agnes Tucker (mayoress), Mary Darragh (teacher), and Kate Vaughan (chorus girl).

Date: 20 August 2022

Guides: Flo Bird and Lenska Tweedy

Description:

In honour of Woman’s Month, join us to celebrate Nelly Edwards – Johannesburg’s first practising female architect.

The beautiful residence at 176 Galteemore Street in Malvern was designed in 1933 by Nelly Edwards for Mrs Anna Fogal. It’s a tour de force of art deco style, grandly occupying three stands. Brightly coloured tiles in geometric patterns adorn the fireplaces and bathroom, boldly patterned stained glass windows are to be found in almost every room, and the house even contains the very modern convenience of a telephone cupboard. This is a must-see for all art deco fans.

Due to the size of the house, this exclusive tour is only open to JHF members and is limited to just 16 places. Book soon to avoid disappointment.

Date: 13 August 2022

Guides: Joy Campkin-Smith and Sarah Welham

Description:

In 1923, St Joseph’s Home for Children in Sophiatown was opened in memory of the coloured men who had volunteered for the various Corps during WW1. It was run by the Anglican Order of St Margaret, East Grinstead, who remained in charge until 1978 when they left South Africa in protest against apartheid.

Date: 9 August 2022

Guides: Liz Haines and Nicola Noble

Description:

Bring your family and friends to celebrate Women’s Day with the JHF as we explore the iconic and romantic Randlords mansion of Northwards, with a special focus on the women who have called it home. Meet the wild and beautiful Josie Dale Lace, whose endless receptions and dinner parties were the talk of high society in early Johannesburg, and the formidable Mrs Gertrude Albu, whose large family was brought up in the house.

The lifestyle of the Randlords necessitated many servants and this tour takes us behind the scenes to discover what it was like to be one of the young girls and women employed to cook, clean, mend, etc. for their mistresses.

We’ll also see the unusual location where the SABC typing pool worked after the mansion was sold. And we’ll hear about Julia Albu, the amazing 80-year young epic adventurer, who drove from Cape to Cairo in her Toyota Conquest.

Tea and scones will be served and are included in the tour price.

Date: 6 August 2022

Guides: TBC

Description:

Katherine Love, the chatelaine of Lindfield, will be hosting a Members Only tour through her unique house museum in Auckland Park.

With a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor, Lindfield House is a trip back in time to the late Victorian and Edwardian age on the Highveld. The house was built circa 1910 and now boasts a vast collection of 19th and 20th century furniture, art, decorative objects and other Victoriana.

Katherine has also agreed to display her beautifully beaded 1920’s evening dresses, never shown to the public before. At 100 years old, they are so frail and delicate that the weight of the beads tends to tear the chiffon, so they cannot be hung up.

Following the tour, tea and cakes will be served in the conservatory to allow JHF members to socialise and Katherine will be available to answer any additional questions not covered by the tour. Numbers are limited to just 20  people so book now!

Date: 31 July 2022 

Guides: Nicola Noble and Monique Jefferson Mc Donald

Description:

Hidden behind huge trees are two classic Parktown mansions that are begging to be explored. We start with a tour of The Pines with its galleried hall and the finest bathroom & shower in the city. Hollard Insurance has recently restored this wonderful ‘bachelor pad’ built in 1906 and enlarged for PM Anderson by Gordon Leith. It is a lovely and rather stately home.

We then set off to the old Coach House and Stables designed by Sir Herbert Baker as part of the Villa Arcadia estate. These venerable structures have now been adapted for office use by Hollard and yet there are still interesting elements to enjoy – the cosy holes in the gable for doves to find sanctuary in winter, the wooden ladder leading up to the hayloft, the tiny stairs to the staff quarters for the coachmen and stable hands.

Finally, we’ll enjoy a tour through the magnificent interiors of Villa Arcadia and discuss the interesting lives and times of Sir Lionel and Lady Florence Phillips.

Date: 23 July 2022

Guides: David Fleminger

Description:

Joburg’s ridges are its defining feature and the Linksfield Ridge is one of the most magnificent. This heritage hike takes us along the iconic Linksfield Ridge through the Harvey Nature Reserve, with spectacular views across Kensington and Orange Grove.

It’s memorable walk that features a wealth of bird and plant life, quirky historical stories, a geological heritage that goes back 3 billion years, and some of the best selfie opportunities in Joburg! You’ll also get the latest updates on our efforts to reclaim the ridge, in partnership with Johannesburg City Parks.

Please note: this is a strenuous hike with several steep inclines and declines. It is only recommended for those who are moderately fit. The total walking distance is about 5 kms.

Past Tours Quarter Two 2022

Date: 18th June 2022

Guides: Thorsten Deckler and Heather Mason

DescriptionIn the 1890s, Brixton and neighbouring Auckland Park were home to infamous slaughter houses, which were “without exception dirty and in bad condition and…a perfect disgrace”. So it must have been a relief when, in 1902, the suburb was surveyed for residential development and Brixton became a bustling, working class neighbourhood.

In the 1980s, Brixton was among the first suburbs in the city to throw off Apartheid segregation. Today, Brixton is one of Joburg’s most diverse communities and best kept secrets, populated by a mix of recent immigrants, students, and families who have lived here for generations. Church bells mix with the call to prayer, and the playground at Kingston Frost Park is often filled with children and parents chatting in multiple languages.

Join us on an exploration of Brixton past and present, its architecture, graffiti, and personalities. We’ll explore Brixton home interiors, churches, and backyards. The tour will also visit Brixton’s iconic alleyways, decorated with local art for the recent Brixton Light Festival, and an innovative gallery featuring art made from recycled materials.

Our tour guides are Thorsten Deckler, an architect, artist, and long-time Brixton resident, and his partner Heather Mason, a writer/photographer who writes the popular Joburg blog, 2Summers.

Artwork, refreshments, and snacks will be available for sale along the way.  

Date: 11th June 2022

Guides: Jim Findlay

Description: Seth Mazibuko was a leader of the Soweto uprising in June 1976. At only 16 years old, he was arrested and taken to the Johannesburg Fort prison where he was held for 10 long months, awaiting trial.

Join us for a personal and intimate tour as we walk with Seth through the tunnel in the hillside. Follow him through processing and medical examination, and finally to the punishment cells of Number 4 prison. Isolation cell number 10 was Seth’s home until he was trucked to Cape Town and then taken by boat to Robben Island.

If there is time, we’ll also visit the Constitutional Court and Nelson Mandela’s hospital cell.

Date: 28th May 2022

Guides: Jim Findlay

Description: We dare to deal with this controversial topic.

The radical factors leading up to and the actual 1914 Rebellion. The fascinating talk includes various documents, photos, and letters/postcards in the collection of Jim Findlay.

Hear about the Peace Preservation Ordinances, Policing, resentment from the ABW, British garrisons, pro-German or anti-English attitudes, mobilisation for WW 1, mobilisation for the Rebellion and some more engrossing bits and pieces.

This is a tale that very few English-speaking South Africans know about.

Date: 14th May 2022

Guides: Brian McKechnie & Adam Golding

Description: The Rand Club stands in a most prestigious section of the City with the very old Victory House just a few doors away and relatively new buildings like JCI  across the road.  Loveday Street boasts some handsome Art Deco buildings with Aegis,  London House,  Howard House and Maritime House vying in elegance.  Banks too enter the fray –more opulent and rather solemn, but one now hosts a Cookery School. Our Tour ends in the Club House with Coffee (or something stronger – the latter at your cost!)

Date: Saturday 30th April 2022

Guides: David Gurney

Description: The amazing Eloff Street-at the top end is the entry to Johannesburg from the station with the best shops in Johannesburg and at the bottom end is our “Motor Town” and the Bantu Men’s Social Centre and Dorkay House, significant symbols of black artists’ resistance to apartheid during the 1950s and ‘60s. Join us for a whole new perspective of southern Eloff Street. Famous names like Chrysler, Williams Hunt for American Chevrolet and Buick cars, Grosvenor Motors for Ford, Mercury and Lincoln, Connocks four British Morris, MG and Riley. We also explore our African Jazz roots and hear about the famous African Jazz musical King Kong and the stars, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. 

Date: 23rd April 2022

Guides: Ed Coogan and David Gurney

Description: This is the perfect tour for a beautiful autumn day. We begin with a short walk along the pretty Linden Stream, to see the upper pond and the cosmos last stand of 2022. We then visit a 1930s enclave – at one time a sewerage treatment facility for the north side of Johannesburg. There is the original waste water treatment building, a group of homes for municipal officials, and a workers’ compound, all built in the International Style which London chose for its underground and power stations at that same time – the Thirties. The sewerage plant was built in 1931 and became derelict in 1963. The main building was due for demolition but was reborn in the 1970s as a conservation centre. See how the old treatment plant vessel has been incorporated into the attractive environmental museum, where we will have a mini tour.

Tip your hat to the tallest palm trees in Johannesburg, and for an hour or two, imagine yourself back in the days when this was open farmland beyond our city. We then take a walk in the forest and look at the Art Deco houses, sadly in need of attention…

We walk to the Bird Sanctuary and on to the Braamfontein Spruit, with so many oaks, London Planes, and other trees in their autumn splendour.

The Delta Park entrance is easy to find. Going north along Barry Hertzog Avenue, which becomes Rustenburg Road then1st Avenue Linden, drive over the Westdene Spruit, pass King David School, and then turn right into Road No 3 at the Engen garage (opposite McDonalds). At the end you are facing one of the gates. Drive in, turn left, and drive to the Delta Environmental Centre where there is ample parking.

Please bring a change of shoes, as the park is very muddy after so much rain.

Anyone booked or planning to join should call the leaders before the start as this tour is very subject to the weather!

Date: Sunday 10 April 2022

Guides: Brian McKechnie and Flo Bird

Description: 1 Federation Road. Drive into the main entrance to Hollard Insurance. Drive along the spacious driveway up to the Villa itself and meet in the Music room. 

Date: Saturday 2 April 2022

Guides: Cathie van Rooyen and David Gurney

Description:

Johannesburg used to be a City of Arcades. They were an attractive option for property owners keen on maximising valuable retail space and a boon to shoppers, providing them with protection from the rain, dirt and dust.

Our Victorian and Edwardian arcades were usually charming, delicate cast-iron structures supporting a glass roof canopy, with exquisitely tiled floors. Unfortunately, almost all were lost in the rush to modernise and make investments pay. But one survived the carnage.

Hidden between bustling Gandhi Square and a forgotten corner of Fox Street, Somerset House was boarded up by the United Building Society and used to house safety deposit boxes; its chequerboard floor and green art-nouveau tiles lost to view. But now, through the vision of Gerald Olitzki (who revived nearby Gandhi Square, Fox Street and beyond) it has been returned to its former glory.

We are privileged to be offering an opportunity to explore historic Somerset House as well as some of the city’s lost arcades. This is a tour not to be missed, with a cast of amazing characters and fascinating stories about the early days of Johannesburg.

Past Tours Quarter One 2022

Date: Saturday 19 March 2022

Guides: Flo Bird, Cheche Selepe and David Gurney

Description: In honour of Human Rights weekend, the JHF celebrates the history of Dube, Soweto, and some of its famous residents.

Dube was envisaged as the first township where black residents would be able to design their own homes and it attracted many intellectuals and free spirits who yearned to be free of the little boxes available elsewhere.

In Pioneer Street, for example, we encounter professors, PHD’s, and the legendary playwright and director Gibson Kente. We also visit a humble home that housed two famous couples: Dr. AB Xuma and his wife Kate (when they were evicted from Sophiatown) and Dr. Nthato Motlana and his wife Sally (who led the Committee of 10, an unofficial group of concerned citizens that was the only authority recognised in Soweto during the 1980s).

Dube also boasts many other famous names: Andrew Mlangeni, a cadre of MK who served 28 years on Robben Island; Business tycoon Richard Maponya, who started his first store just around the corner from his small home; and author Alan Paton, who was headmaster of nearby Diepkloof Reformatory.

This bus and walking tour through historic Dube is the perfect way to celebrate Human Rights Day!

Date: Saturday 12 March 2022

Guides: Clare van Zwieten, Jonathan Felix and Nicola Noble

Description: Exactly 100 years ago in March, a strike by white mineworkers in Johannesburg erupted into armed conflict. This ‘Rand Revolt’ of 1922 quickly spread across the city and resulted in nearly two weeks of mayhem.

To commemorate the centenary of the Rand Revolt, the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation and Friends of Johannesburg Cemeteries will be unveiling a memorial to all those who lost their lives in the rebellion – miners, policemen, soldiers, and civilians.

The date chosen, 12 March, is when some of the fiercest fighting took place, at the Battle of Brixton Ridge and on the corner of Braamfontein Cemetery, alongside what is now Enoch Sontonga Road.

Councillor Ronald Harris MMC and a descendent of an innocent revolt victim will be doing the unveiling, while a piper from the Transvaal Scottish Regiment plays the Lament.

Following the unveiling, there will be a tour through some graves associated with the revolt.

This is a free event but booking is essential as numbers are limited. Donations are welcome.

Date: Saturday 5 March 2022

Guides: Busi Letwaba and David Gurney

Description: The Market Theatre has been at the heart of our city’s cultural life since it was founded in 1976, and we are all familiar with the magnificent Edwardian market building that houses the theatre and Museum Africa. But over the last few years, several new developments have expanded the capacity and reach of the Market.

Join the JHF as we explore the beloved old Market complex along with the newly built Market Square, which has brought an interesting new dynamic to the arts hub of Newtown. With award-winning architecture and a superb sense of design, Market Square is buzzing with students from the estimable Market Theatre Laboratory and Market Photo Workshop.

This tour offers arts enthusiasts and drama students a unique opportunity to peek behind the scenes and finding out more about the Market’s rich history and very promising future. 

Date: Saturday 26th February 2022

Guides: SJ de Klerk

Description: Exactly one hundred years, ago the inhabitants of Johannesburg, Benoni and Brakpan awoke to an unpleasant phenomenon – violent and armed civic insurrection!

This uprising was to be the swansong of a quarter century of White-on-White violence, which included the Jameson Raid, the South African War, and the 1914 Afrikaner Rebellion, before culminating with the Rand Revolt of 1922.

Also known as the 1922 Miners’ Strike or even the Red Revolt (occurring merely five years after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia), it remains the greatest violent political upheaval on the Witwatersrand.

Researcher and explorer SJ De Klerk will lead us on a fascinating virtual exploration of the events of 1922, with discussion on how they shaped not only Johannesburg but the whole of South Africa.

Date: Sunday 27 February 2022

Guides: Denise Alexander

Description: Spend a Sunday afternoon exploring the interesting old suburb of Melville and its beautiful koppies.

Enjoy an attractive potpourri of architecture, beautiful jacarandas, the slightly-jaded glam of 7th Street (recently voted one of the coolest streets in the world according to Time Out magazine), a good slice of history and, of course, the ancient koppies with their breath-taking views.

Please note: this is a strenuous tour, decidedly not for the infirm.

Date: Saturday 19 February 2022

Guides: William Gaul

Description: The Johannesburg Country Club is located in a relatively little-known but idyllic corner of the city. Spend an afternoon enjoying the superb gardens and exploring the history of the Club, which ties in so closely to that of Joburg itself.

As part of the tour we’ll visit the Secretary’s Residence and its lovely garden, view the original squash court with its antique but very effective air conditioning system, and pay our respects at the garden of remembrance.

We’ll also pop in at the old stable where members’ horses, polo ponies and hunters were attended to, and chat about the original spruit (still running) and lake that developed out of the original farm dam – a lovely spot where the dandified beaux of Johannesburg wooed the young ladies.

Date: Saturday 12 February 2022

Guides: Joy Campkin-Smith and David Gurney

Description:

Starting in Wexford Avenue, we visit a rather special home with a surprising shape. We then walk along this lovely street lined with jacarandas to Parkview where we’ll visit two blue plaque houses with architecture that covers a range of styles dating back to 1907 – the year Parkview was proclaimed as a township.

In between the gables (very popular at the time) and the occasional turret, we’ll also get to know some of the many personalities who made this area their home – from the admirable Major O’Hara who helped establish Wits University in the face of government opposition, to the early land surveyor Pritchard, to a not-so-admirable previous Prime Minister who lived cheek by jowl with a great lady of the stage. All in all, this is a fascinating tour that’s sure to delight.

 

Date: Saturday 5 February 2022

Guides: David Gurney and Alkis Doucakis

Description: Property development gurus ‘Divercity’ have finally launched their latest inner-city regeneration precinct, Jewel City. Centred on a pedestrianised and landscaped portion of Fox Street, Jewel City provides a glimpse of how the entire inner-city can be reimagined and turned into a thriving neighbourhood.

But long before the coffee shops, artisanal bakeries and rooftop bars, this precinct (mainly New Doornfontein) had a vitality and historical richness unequalled in the city.

Under the expert guidance of Alkis Doukakis, who for many years has exhaustively researched the area, we explore the city’s earliest water sources, a unique industrial heritage, places of worship and the old diamond district.

Date: Sunday 30th January 2022

Guides: David Fleminger

Description: Joburg’s ridges are its defining feature and the Linksfield Ridge is one of its most magnificent. This heritage hike takes us along the iconic Linksfield Ridge through the Harvey Nature Reserve, with spectacular views across Kensington and Orange Grove.

It’s memorable walk that features a wealth of bird and plant life, quirky historical stories, a geological heritage that goes back 3 billion years, and some of the best selfie opportunities in Joburg! You’ll also get the latest updates on our efforts to reclaim the ridge, in partnership with Johannesburg City Parks.

Date: Saturday 29th January 2022

Guides: James Ball

Description: The Heritage Portal is South Africa’s leading history and heritage website – filled with interesting articles and fascinating facts you just won’t find anywhere else. Now, to celebrate its 10th year online, join us for a live virtual presentation with the founder and curator of the site, James Ball, who’ll take behind the scenes of his passion project.
Learn why the Portal got started and how it has evolved over the years. Discover the most popular stories of the last decade, as well as a few of his favourite pieces. Hear about the curve balls that threatened to stop the Portal in its tracks and how these challenges were overcome. James will also speak of the massive amount of energy being invested in creating a South African Heritage Directory. And get a sneak peak at some hidden functionality known to only a few Portal enthusiasts.

Date: Sunday 23rd January 2022

Guides: Brett McDougal and David Fleminger

Description: The Orange Grove Waterfall is one of Joburg’s secret spaces – little known to even lifelong residents of the area. Now, thanks to a grant from the JHF, this lovely perennial cascade is finally getting the care and attention it deserves.

Join us for an open day at the waterfall which will include the official unveiling of the Blue Plaques commemorating the waterfall and House Bleloch, a walk to the waterfall, and a first-hand account of the mammoth clean-up effort that’s been spearheaded by the JHF. This will be followed by a community clean-up.