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Johannesburg Zoo, Parkview (JHB)

For as long as I can remember, the JHB Zoo has been a fascinating and wonderful place to visit, both for kids and adults.
It provides a beautiful green belt where you can see a wide variety of animals, right in the middle of the concrete jungle that is Johannesburg (ok not quite the middle, but pretty close...:))

Date last visited

July 2013

Location and Setting

The Johannesburg Zoo is located at the corner of Jan Smuts Avenue and Upper Park Drive in Parkview, JHB, overlooked by the Westcliff Hotel.

It is a well-known and well-loved destination for many families and their little ones.

For the kids...

First and foremost, the JHB Zoo provides an opportunity for kids to see all of their favourite animals up close - lions, tigers, bears, birds, giraffes, elephants, polar bears... to name only a few of the amazing species that call the zoo their home.

The animals are always a hit and are guaranteed to plaster smiles all over those inquisitive little faces (alongside the bits of food also plastered there...:)).
In particular, the lion and tiger enclosures are very impressive, having been upgraded in recent years to allow the animals much more space to roam.

The zoo also offers a lot of green space for the kids to run around in - always a biggie for city dwellers who are confined to apartment living, with minimal or no gardens.

There are also several theme-park styled rides near the main entrance, in case you need a few moments of adult-quiet time while the little ones run off to make themselves dizzy...
On our most recent visit last week, we also discovered that a really nice new kids play area is being built just near the lion enclosure - we were told that it would be ready during the next few days (so expect it sometime this month - July 2013):

There are many other activities that the JHB Zoo offers for kids, but I can only really scratch the surface here - for a complete guide to what's happening at the Zoo, you really need to check out their website at

For the adults...

I cannot speak for all adults, let alone even a few of them, but I for one never tire of the JHB Zoo.
As far back as I can remember, it was always a thrill to go on a zoo outing - as a kid I would sometimes request a zoo visit on a weekly basis...!
For adults who work and operate in a stressful and busy environment every other day of the week, the JHB Zoo offers a welcome slice of nature where time slows down ever so slightly... :)

The Cafe Fino that runs at the JHB Zoo certainly know how to make a nice meal as well - they offer a varied menu, offering breakfasts, pizza, pasta, trammezzini, wraps, salads and of course the usual array of coffees, milkshakes and beverages, without which any menu would be incomplete.
Recently we decided to try the Vegetarian Tostado - a type of wrap prepared with a filling of avo, halloumi cheese, mushrooms, peppadews and topped with a mix of melted cheese... 5 stars of deliciousness awarded for this one guys!
Round that off with a memorable Danesi Cappuccino, and the day is complete :)

My only con here would be the slightly long waiting times for service and for food... but then again it was pretty busy, and I suppose the wait was well worth it in the end :)

Anything else?

The JHB Zoo also operates a tractor ferry that you can hop onto, which caters for visitors who prefer to do a little less walking - it stops at various points for viewing opportunities and does a loop of the zoo grounds, more or less.
The toilet facilities are also generally clean and well-maintained.

Final words

Whether you bring a picnic basket, or pick up a hotdog at one of the many stands at the zoo, or even just kick back at Cafe Fino, the JHB Zoo always seems to be a safe bet if you just want to get out for a pleasant day away from home, in the company of your family, friends and a little bit of "controlled" wildlife :)

Getting in touch, Facts and Figures etc...

For entrance fees, click here.

Operating hours are from 08:30 - 17:30 with last entry at 16:00.

011 646 2000


011 486 2866


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About Plebs with Kids

Plebs with Kids visits mainly JHB-based venues, coffee shops, restaurants, play areas and other such establishments.

We rate their kid-friendliness (among other things :) for your convenience, and for the next time you need a place to go, while knowing that your little ones are well catered for.

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