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  • Writer's pictureSandra Caganoff

Be right back, I'm walking

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

Walking for me is as much about observing as it is about walking. I love the exercise but more than that, I love what I see along the way. My walks are never planned and I don’t have set routes. I put on my hat, apply sunblock factor 50 wishing I’d done this when I was younger, get my dog on a leash and head out to explore new areas.

I’ve decided to share some of my walks with you. Jozi streets are gritty, tough and in the suburbs, can be beautiful. There are fantastic things to see along the way and it would be so cool to get more people out and about in Johannesburg.

Here is today’s walk, Saturday, Melville and Parkview

I live in Melville but if you don’t, drive in and park somewhere along 7th Street. 7th, while it’s gone through many changes because of the pandemic, is still a fantastically vibey street. Most coffee shops open around 7.30, so if you want, pick up a coffee before walking.

This morning I picked up my coffee from Spilt Milk, walked down 7th and took a right at 4th Avenue, heading towards the city. If it’s a clear day, you get a good view of the skyline. I turned left into 9th, making my way towards the Bamboo Centre, with Love Books on the right and all the quirky little antique shops on the left, including the famed Reminiscence and stunning Decades.

There’s a beautiful set of vintage chairs in Decades, green velvet, and I want them!

If you need a marker, Superella is on the corner, WITH DIVINE FROCKS IN THE WINDOW.

I crossed over the dodgy Carlow Road bridge where I am proud to announce that I have never been mugged, but you should cross with care and not flash your phone around. You should also tweet to @MyJRA, Joburg Roads Agency, to please fix up the bridge, but maybe not while you’re crossing it.

I love this bridge, joining one suburb to the other. When you get home later all your friends are going to say WHAT YOU CROSSED THAT BRIDGE ON FOOT ARE YOU MAD. And you’ll tell them it was divine! Also you will tell them there are lots of walkers, joggers and cyclists using the bridge, it’s fine, and well done you made it from grungy Melville to suburban Parkview.

Things suddenly looks quite different. The houses are bigger, the streets are wider, and it’s definitely quieter. Here you can weave your way in and out, all things leafy green and lovely, but there are a few things you shouldn’t miss.

1. The graffiti on the corner of Emmarentia Avenue, just after the bridge. The mural of Brenda Fassie is beautiful and a good spot for pics.

2. The George Hay Park. I got to the park this morning by swinging a right from Emmarentia Ave into Lurgan, then walking straight. It’s an ordinary park, kids, dogs, nannies, moms (more nannies than moms) but there are some very cool community vegetable patches. I’m guessing it’s a community program and I don’t know much about it except they have very cool cabbages.

3. Tryone Avenue, which you can walk to quite easily from the park. Follow the smell of scrambled eggs and toast and you will find Parkview’s main road filled with grocery stores, shops and restaurants. My dog slowed me down here as he stopped to smile at every waiter and barista in the hope of getting bacon, eventually settling for a treat from Godfrey.

Two people stand out for me on Tyrone:-

  • Godfrey, who sells freshly cut flowers at Tyrone Fruit and Veg.

  • Lovemore, who creates wire art and is imaginative and creative and today had the cutest beaded long haired sausage dogs.

It’s worth supporting them both but maybe after your walk so you don’t have to carry stuff.

Backwards and upwards towards the famous Westcliff Steps which my dog does quicker than me, even with his ridiculously short little legs. On Saturday and Sundays the steps are busy with people working out, stretching, running and exercising and it’s fun and festive and really good to see a neighbourhood being embraced by all.

I think I was on about 5 kms, I did the steps twice because I’m like that, PAINFUL, before heading home past the Sivananda School of Yoga, down a steep hill with a magnolia tree in full bloom, over THE BRIDGE once more, and back into Melville.

By now the shops are all open so you can do some vintage shopping if you want, sit down for breakfast, you’re spoiled for choice, or get in your car and go home. This morning’s walk took about two hours, was easy and fun and fabulous and I will do something similar, but different, soon.

Get your walking shoes. A walking stick if you want one. Some pepper spray, not really.

And email me if you'd like to put together a group and have me guide you.

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