Photo Credits: Instagram
Jozi Trails is a non-profit partnership, with the Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo (JCPZ), to uplift the trail network along Johannesburg’s beautiful ‘ green lung’ – the Braamfontein Spruit.
Established by a group of passionate Joburgers who love the Spruit and surrounding parklands, the plan is to give everyone who uses it a better experience by creating a sustainable trail system that can be used for a range of recreational purposes.
Over the years, we’ve seen an increasing number of pressures impacting on the safety of Spruit trail users: From threats to personal security and belongings; to accidents caused by poorly maintained pathways and water courses; to crowding on popular sections at peak times; and inconsiderate use of the facilities.
Our idea is to improve the management and maintenance of the Spruit and regenerate the natural and man-made facilities which visitors come to enjoy. So we’re starting with improving the trails and increasing safety. After that, we’ll be looking at initiatives to capitalise on the Spruit’s potential as a tourist destination and create job opportunities.
It’s complicated! Since the issues and interventions required are so wide-ranging and challenging, and the costs are so high, we’ve split the project into three phases.
Significant, unanticipated growth in use of the facilities … land erosion … inadequate drainage; unclear routing on trails … irresponsible trail use … conflicts between different user groups … criminal conduct … plus the unsatisfactory upkeep (by public and private entities) of the sections of Spruit that their properties border and for which they are expected to be responsible.
Already underway, this Phase is focusing on the Delta Park section of the Spruit that runs from Conrad Road in the North and Emmarentia in the South. We’ve chosen it as our ‘pilot’ site because it is one of the biggest and busiest public open spaces in Johannesburg and we expect it to give us a good overview of the challenges we’re likely to experience elsewhere along the Spruit. Key tasks include developing and implementing:
Further details will be supplied as Phase 1 progresses but key tasks will include: Explore and implement solutions to create a trail network that link Soweto, Midrand and the Cradle to the current trail system; Restoring and upgrading existing trails; designing new trails; exploring tourism-related opportunities; and implementing the management plan across the whole Spruit.
Further details will be supplied as Phase 2 progresses but key tasks will include: Maintaining upgraded trails; building new trails; implementing tourism-related opportunities; exploring social-upliftment projects and continuing to implement the management plan across the whole Spruit.
The Braamfontein Spruit is the name given to the series of parks and greenbelts within the city limits of Johannesburg. Extending over 37km, between Northcliff and the N1 highway.
Originating in downtown Braamfontein, the Spruit wends its way through the city suburbs – feeding into the Emmarentia and Westene Dams en route – until it reaches Lonehill, where it joins the Jukskei River (a tributary of the Limpopo River).
The Spruit belongs to the city of Johannesburg and access is open and free for all residents and it’s the foundation of the Jozi Trails network.
Since the 1970s, when the overgrown Spruit was first identified as a recreational site for walkers and horse riders, and given a mammoth clean-up, the uses and extent of the trail system have evolved.
Today, its most densely used areas stretch from Witkoppen Road in the north, down to Marks Park in the South East and Alberts Farm in the South West. But, ultimately, Jozi Trails’ vision is to extend the green belt so it connects Soweto, Midrand and the Cradle of Humankind.
Enjoyed by thousands of Jo’burgers every week, it is used as a pedestrian commuter route, as well as for outdoor recreational activities such as family outings, social gatherings, trail running, mountain biking, dog walking and bird watching.
Documents to be uploaded soon!