A view from Northcliff Koppie

A Sunday or two ago, we took Daniel to the water tower on top of the Northcliff Ridge, Johannesburg’s second highest koppie at around 1 807 metres. We live close by and since he was a small boy, he knew that if we are driving in the car and he can see the water tower, we are close to home.

The distinctive tower was built in 1939 on a sight were archaeologists found Stone Age artefacts. That means it was occupied by humans over 250 000 years ago! Today, an area of 11 hectare on top of the ridge, enclosed with palisade fencing, is now a public park controlled by City Parks and Johannesburg Water.

It was amazing to see three different vegetation zones on the ridge - a flat grassy top, a steep rock face on the northern side, and a shrubby area around the base of the cliff. But that is not the reason for going up there. With nearly 360 degrees view, on a clear day the view is unbeatable in Johannesburg, taking in the city centre, Sandton and even the Magaliesburg.

I was apprehensive about our safety up there, since the area used to be notorious for, amongst other things, drug dealing. But I need not to have worried – City Parks have cleaned up the site. It is only open from sunrise to sunset and locked at night. The park is in a boomed area of Northcliff now and a forum of local residents preserves the ecology of the site. So, a very definite recommendation from me: Take a picnic basket on a Sunday afternoon and go and soak up the views! It is beautiful up there.

PS. The city's tallest ridge is Observatory at 1 808m.

To read more about the park, click here.

Image credits: All photography by me


  1. Thank you! For so long now, a secret favourite place of mine. Beautifully written.

  2. Sounds amazing! I'm most definitely visiting soon!