Sandton is an upper class suburb of Johannesburg, one of the “7 habitats of highly effective people”, as cleverly described by an estate agent. Only fifteen years ago, this area in northern Johannesburg was open land inhabited by estate owners. Today, the landscape has completely changed. Shopping is a luxurious experience, with world-class hotels within easy reach of the shopping centres, sometimes even in the same complex.
The corporate world has also realised the attractions of this area and the headquarters of many large corporations are to be found here.
Archaeology And Palaeontology
Iron Foundries: A visit to the Iron Foundries, on the western side of the Lone Hill Koppies, in the Lone Hill Nature Reserve in Crestwood Drive, provides an insight into the lives of the early inhabitants of the region. Prof Revil Mason discovered the three Stone Age furnaces in the 1960s and estimates the furnaces to date back to the 1600s.
Art And Crafts
Elephant Hide Crafts, Curios and Farmstall: A gaggle of friendly Egyptian Geese rushes to welcome visitors to the Elephant Hide Crafts, Curios and Farmstall, a lovely thatched-roof building in Corlett Drive in Sandton. While drinking a relaxing cup of tea, visitors can watch talented artists beautiful beadwork. The stall also sells curios, gifts and farm products.
Entertainment And Shopping
Monte Casino: The Tuscan-styled Monte Casino in Fourways is a major entertainment centre featuring a casino, luxury hotel, several restaurants and movie theatres. The Monte Casino Bird Gardens have 200 species of birds and over 1 500 smaller animals and the Walk-in Aviary houses some 100 species of birds. Flea markets are held on the terrain every Sunday.
Sandton City: Sandton is one of the most upmarket shopping centres in the southern hemisphere. Shopping, eating out or going to the movies in Sandton is guaranteed to be a pleasurable experience. The centre features two of the country’s most luxurious hotels and more than 200 shops. A unique feature of the complex is the Nelson Mandela Square, a cosmopolitan piazza with a fountain in the middle, surrounded by restaurants and coffee shops.
The latest and greatest addition to the square is a 2-m high statue of former President Nelson Mandela. He is depicted in his characteristic Madiba shuffle stance and watches over the tired shoppers enjoying a leisurely bite and the children playing in the fountain or chasing the doves. The new Sandton library, its prominent facade forming the eastern section of the complex, is a fascinating addition to the centre. Sandton also has a theatre that often hosts cultural events and shows.
Village Walk Shopping Centre: The Neapolitan style Village Walk Shopping Centre near Sandton City boasts shops, restaurants and coffee shops that have a distinct character and style of their own.
Fauna And Flora
Lone Hill Nature Reserve: The Lone Hill Nature Reserve in Crestwood Drive and its landscape is characterised by granite hills. A hiking trail winds through the area, providing access to the ruins of an old Tswana village.
Outspan Bird Sanctuary: Many local species of birds have found a safe haven at the sheltered Outspan Bird Sanctuary in Morningside, right in the heart of Sandton. The 1,9 ha sanctuary lies on the banks of the Outspan Spruit and covers four different ecological zones.
Rietfontein Nature Reserve: The Rietfontein Nature Reserve lies close to the confluence of the Braamfontein Spruit and the Sandfontein Spruit (“Stream”), at the corner of Holkham and Witkoppen Drives. Visitors may have a picnic or hike through the reserve and view several species of small buck and birds. The reserve falls under the jurisdiction of Sandton Parks, Recreation and Conservation Division.