Joburg is fast turning out to be as exciting for Mia (our little mutt munchkin), as it is for us. Since having adopted her, I am always on the lookout for pet friendly markets, restaurants and parks. And this city does not cease to amaze me. So far Mia has been to all the farmers’ markets (Irene, Fourways, Bryanston, etc), most restaurants in Parkhurst (personal favourites being Melissa’s and Rocket), coffee shops (Doppio Zero) and innumerable parks.
Obviously it’s the parks which Mia enjoys the most as she can run around off lead and meet her other doggy friends. And being as big and open as Joburg is, there is no dearth of such places! Having checked out almost all the parks in and around our suburb, I decided to look a little further this time and chanced upon a place called Walk Haven, which in my opinion should have been called Dog Haven!
On the website, it is quite aptly described : Freedom for your dogs to romp and swim – great for humans too!
Located in an area called Muldersdrift, close to the famous Cradle of Humankind, Walk Haven offers 22 hectares of rolling grasslands. There are two dams (in SA small water bodies are so called) on the property where only dogs are allowed to swim. Its not everyday you see a sign like this (below).
The place is actually a private property that is open to the public for a small fee (R30 per person currently, dogs go free) and it offers other facilities such as a dog-friendly bar and restaurant, party venue and kenneling. They have also very thoughtfully provided for braai (barbeque) and picnic facilities all around the property. Numerous large trees all around also allows one to just spread a nice blanket and relax with a book while the dogs tire themselves out.
Being an off-lead facility, only well socialised dogs are allowed in and from the time you enter, until the time you leave, you don’t need to worry about entertaining your dog! There were at least 50 dogs when we went and each one was busy running around or swimming. After exploring the place a bit and following us around initially, Mia soon abandoned us for better company. For a long time, we could only see her running from one end of the property to another, chasing different dogs. And then she discovered the dam! After the initial hesitation, she dived straight in and did a fair bit of swimming for the first time. There was no stopping her after that. Being a nice and sunny day, I didn’t have to worry about drying her out!
With one eye on Mia, we decided to begin our braai and have a little luncheon picnic. Having made an impromptu plan to visit the place, we weren’t carrying much and it was just enough. But with the little restaurant tucked away in the corner, one needn’t worry about food anyway.
Despite the fact that we had been there a few hours already, there was no stopping Mia. She only dropped by a few times to get a drink or grab some tid-bits of food. Even her favourite liver bread would not make her stay, so happy she was to just be free!
After another hour or soof lazing under a tree, we decided to head back and boy, was Mia relieved – this was her only excuse to stop playing and rest! Bringing home a happy and tired dog is the best feeling ever.
Walk Haven Dog Park: http://www.walkhaven.co.za
Address: Plot 77, Zwartkop
Open all days of the week from 7am to 7pm
Entry fee: R30 for adults and R15 for children and pensioners
A few other dog friendly parks are:
Sandton Field & Study Centre : Cnr Louise Ave and 14th St Parkmore Sandton
Huddle Park : Club Street, Linksfield, Johannesburg
Emmarentia Dam : Olifants Road, Emmarentia, Johannesburg (just off Beyers Naude)
Gillooly’s Farm : Boeing Road West, 2008 Bedfordview, Gauteng, South Africa