Joburg's First International Terminal

The construction of the Rand Airport began in 1920. Eleven years later, it officially opened as the first international airport in Germiston. This terminal quickly became a central hub due to its close proximity to the central city. Eventually, SAA moved its headquarters here from Durban as it became South Africa's main international airport.

Serving as South Africa's central travel hub until 1948, the Rand Airport also played a vital role as a service base for the South African Air Force during WWII. Some of the Harvards used in battle remain in hangars built during WWII at the Rand Airport to this day and are used in aerial displays.

Sadly, when international travel in and out of the country boomed, the Rand Airport's runways could no longer accommodate the bigger aircrafts, like the Avro York Aircraft. As such, airlines relocated to Palmietfontein Airport situated in the south of Johannesburg.

Nevertheless, due to its pivotal role in civil aviation history in South Africa, the main terminal building at the Rand Airport was declared a National Heritage Site. If you have an interest in anything to do with the history of travel in the country, the Rand Airport is a must-visit. Take a short trip into Germiston to go on a journey back in time!

Rand airport

Preserving Civil Aviation History

The Rand Airport was privatised in 2000 after losing its status as an international airport the year before. It now functions as a private facility and training centre for young pilots. The airport is also open to the public, offering a range of displays and family-fun activities to make your trip well worth the while. The South African Airways Museum Society is located at the airport, situated inside the old Transvaal Aviation Club building, which is also a National Heritage Site. A famous drinking hole for many aviators through the years, the building was once the Mess for the officers of the SAAF. The SAA Museum Society hosts two main attractions at the Rand Airport:

Aircraft Park

The Rand Airport donated a tract of land nearby to Runway 29 for the SAA Museum Society's static aircraft display. Visitors are able to 'step aboard' a few of the aircrafts and even take a peek into the cockpit. You may wander freely through aircraft park or book a guided tour to learn detailed facts about each aircraft.

Display Museum

Located within the TAC building is the SAA Museum Society's display showcase. Here, you can view a range of historic items, including photographs, aircraft models, crew uniforms, aircraft instruments, timetables, small artefacts and general civil aviation memorabilia. There is also a museum shop located in the same building, where you can purchase a memento of your trip to the Rand Airport.

Photo credit: Bruce Perkins

Family Fun

The Rand Airport is the ideal place to take the kids for a weekend outing. Besides the SAA Museum and Aircraft Park, there are also a number of family-friendly activities here to keep the whole brood entertained.

Harvard Café

Pop by Harvard Café located at the rear side of the TAC building. With amusement rides, a jungle gym and kiddie sized runway, this is the ideal place to stop for refreshments after a busy day admiring the historic aircraft. Their menu features a wide array of choices, however their buffet breakfast is the standout feature. Pile up the eggs and sausage and watch as junior pilots take to the skies just a few metres away.

The Rand Air Show

Germiston residents flock to the Rand Airport come springtime, as the annual Rand Air Show takes place. A grand showcase of civil aviation and aeronautics, the Rand Air Show is the ultimate family-fun event. Come and see the grand exhibition of helicopters, aerobatics, military display and warbirds this coming September.

For More Information

For more information about the Rand Airport, its history and displays, visit their website - www.randairport.co.za.

Details: +27 11 827 8884 | [email protected] | Main Terminal Building, Rand Airport Road, Germiston.

Joburg's First International Terminal

The construction of the Rand Airport began in 1920. Eleven years later, it officially opened as the first international airport in Germiston. This terminal quickly became a central hub due to its close proximity to the central city. Eventually, SAA moved its headquarters here from Durban as it became South Africa's main international airport.

Serving as South Africa's central travel hub until 1948, the Rand Airport also played a vital role as a service base for the South African Air Force during WWII. Some of the Harvards used in battle remain in hangars built during WWII at the Rand Airport to this day and are used in aerial displays.

Sadly, when international travel in and out of the country boomed, the Rand Airport's runways could no longer accommodate the bigger aircrafts, like the Avro York Aircraft. As such, airlines relocated to Palmietfontein Airport situated in the south of Johannesburg.

Nevertheless, due to its pivotal role in civil aviation history in South Africa, the main terminal building at the Rand Airport was declared a National Heritage Site. If you have an interest in anything to do with the history of travel in the country, the Rand Airport is a must-visit. Take a short trip into Germiston to go on a journey back in time!

Rand airport

Preserving Civil Aviation History

The Rand Airport was privatised in 2000 after losing its status as an international airport the year before. It now functions as a private facility and training centre for young pilots. The airport is also open to the public, offering a range of displays and family-fun activities to make your trip well worth the while. The South African Airways Museum Society is located at the airport, situated inside the old Transvaal Aviation Club building, which is also a National Heritage Site. A famous drinking hole for many aviators through the years, the building was once the Mess for the officers of the SAAF. The SAA Museum Society hosts two main attractions at the Rand Airport:

Aircraft Park

The Rand Airport donated a tract of land nearby to Runway 29 for the SAA Museum Society's static aircraft display. Visitors are able to 'step aboard' a few of the aircrafts and even take a peek into the cockpit. You may wander freely through aircraft park or book a guided tour to learn detailed facts about each aircraft.

Display Museum

Located within the TAC building is the SAA Museum Society's display showcase. Here, you can view a range of historic items, including photographs, aircraft models, crew uniforms, aircraft instruments, timetables, small artefacts and general civil aviation memorabilia. There is also a museum shop located in the same building, where you can purchase a memento of your trip to the Rand Airport.

Photo credit: Bruce Perkins

Family Fun

The Rand Airport is the ideal place to take the kids for a weekend outing. Besides the SAA Museum and Aircraft Park, there are also a number of family-friendly activities here to keep the whole brood entertained.

Harvard Cafe

Pop by Harvard Cafe located at the rear side of the TAC building. With amusement rides, a jungle gym and kiddie sized runway, this is the ideal place to stop for refreshments after a busy day admiring the historic aircraft. Their menu features a wide array of choices, however their buffet breakfast is the standout feature. Pile up the eggs and sausage and watch as junior pilots take to the skies just a few metres away.

The Rand Air Show

Germiston residents flock to the Rand Airport come spring time, as the annual Rand Air Show takes place. A grand showcase of civil aviation and aeronautics, the Rand Air Show is the ultimate family-fun event. Come and see the grand exhibition of helicopters, aerobatics, military display and war birds this coming September.

For More Information

For more information about the Rand Airport, its history and displays, visit their website - www.randairport.co.za.

Details: +27 11 827 8884 | [email protected] | Main Terminal Building, Rand Airport Rd, Germiston.

Germiston, named after the Glaswegian farm, was established shortly after the gold rush on the Witwatersrand. Declared a city in 1950, it is often overlooked for being an industrial hub rather than a must-visit Jozi suburb. However, there is much to be seen and done here, if one only looks close enough. Driving through the 'old' town offers a glimpse of history, as century-old buildings stand tall among new developments. Keep an eye out for St Andrew's Presbyterian Church (built in 1905) and St Boniface Anglican Church (built in 1910). With their brick facades and stained-glass panels, these national landmarks are a sight to behold amidst the vapid decay of the inner city.

Germiston

Nevertheless, once you have passed through the Germiston CBD, a world of fun, food and excitement awaits. We did a little exploring on your behalf, making sure to find all the 'hot-spots' around town. Read on to find out what we uncovered:

The Rand Airport

One of the main attractions in Germiston is the Rand Airport. South Africa's first international airport, the Rand Airport was officially completed in 1931. The terminal served as the hub of international travel until 1948, when it was outgrown by the demand for flights in and out of Johannesburg by local and international fliers. Due to its rich history, the terminal building was later declared a national heritage site.

Today, the Rand Airport still houses numerous flying academies and is the host of the annual Rand Air Show. Most Germiston residents have attended this show at least once, flocking to see the magic of civil aviation right at their doorsteps. However, you need not wait around until late August to visit the Rand Airport, as there are many other attractions to behold year round.

Pop into the Harvard Cafe for a delicious family-friendly lunch - from here you can see pilots in training test their skills, while the kiddies have a ball playing on the nearby jungle gyms. You can also stop by The South African Airways Museum Society. Here, you will find an amazing collection of treasures, including aircrafts, photographs, models, crew uniforms, aircraft instruments, timetables and small artefacts of SAA and general civil aviation memorabilia.

Victoria Lake

Just a stone's throw away from the Rand Airport is Victoria Lake, otherwise known as Germiston Lake. This man-made body of water hosts regular school regattas and Scout's events. However, the main draw card for most visitors is the Germiston Country Club and Golf Course, located on the banks of the lake. Established in 1897, the Germiston Golf Club is steeped in history and 'Old English' tradition. Come and tee off at this woodland golf course, which is lauded as one of the finest in Gauteng. Play is open to the public, so you can pop by whenever the mood takes you. Afterwards, enjoy a few lakeside sundowners at the on-site bar.

Germiston

Frida's Coffee Bar

Heading a little further into the south-east side of Germiston, we came across a true hidden gem. Frida's Coffee Bar is an unassuming coffee shop and Tex-Mex eatery decorated in loving tribute to the artist, Frida Kahlo. This artsy little hideaway is the perfect spot for late afternoon coffee and a divine slice of death by chocolate cake. Take a seat outside in their hollowed out swimming pool or pop down on a luxurious couch next to a stack of books about art, music and, of course, the infamous Frida herself.

Simply Majestic Nursery 

We have saved the best for last with this lovely Germiston nursery, restaurant and retail centre. Simply Majestic Nursery is the ultimate family-friendly venue, with fun rides and play areas for the kids, as well as a garden centre and trinket shops for parents. Visit their Edwardian-style restaurant for Sunday brunch with the family. Their traditional scones served with cream and strawberry jam are amazing! The venue also hosts a monthly night craft market, supporting small local businesses and crafters. Pop in for a piping hot cup of coffee or craft beer under the moonlight.

Do you know of any other hidden gems located in Germiston? Let us know about them!

Hand Built Moto-Bicycles

Soekoe Moto-Bicycles bring you custom-designed, engine powered bicycles. A throwback to the early 1900s, these bikes come with all the bells and whistles.

Founder, Desmond Soekoe spent 20 years in the mining and manufacturing industry. Growing tired of the day-to-day monotony, he decided to ditch the office job and pursue his passion - vintage bikes! What must have seemed like a massive risk, Soekoe's business venture turned out to be something well worth investing in. He opened a workshop in the little known suburb of Fishers Hill, Germiston. Soekoe and his test drivers can often be seen speeding through the quiet streets of the suburb on his custom bike. Peddling every now and then to kick start the engine, Soekoe is nothing short of a modern day magician.

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You don’t often get to many opportunities to showcase what you build , we were proud to have @clinton.pienaar and @photoexpresssa from Superbike Magazine ,,, editor Clinton Pienaar and contributor Mykel Nicolau thank you guys for your time 👍🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻#soekoebicyclecompany #proudlysouthafrican🇿🇦 #handbuilt #vintagebicycle #vintage #clintonpienaar #southafrican #triumph #harleydavidson #boardtracker #boardtrackracer #superbikesouthafrica #motorizedbicycle #motorizedbike #1907

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Soekoe Moto-Bicycles are designed and built in homage to the motorised bicycles which first appeared in the late 1800s. During this century, the development of the bicycle rapidly sped up as the giant one-wheeled Penny Farthing became the "Safety Bicycle" - a more balanced two wheeler. Then as electric powered cars hit the road, so did motorised bikes. In a space of only 15 years, bicyclers went from teetering on one wheel like a circus act, to cruising through the streets on fast powered handlebar machines!

Metal, Leather and Elbow Grease

While Soekoe Moto-Bicycles hearken back to this vintage age, they are by no means outdated. With hand built frames and handlebars, seats and accessories, these bikes glisten with modern touches. Customise your moto-bicycle with an attached letter bag, leather stitched grips, saddles from Stampede Leather and three types of tyres, which use a 12 gauge thicker spoke to handle the friction between engine and road. Get your wheels in cream, white, black or white walled. Soekoe offers both petrol and electric battery-powered versions of their bikes, so you can customise your ride to your pocket as well.

The store doesn't only sell bikes, but offers custom gear, including goggles, leather helmets and more. You can fully kit yourself out here, which is important because you have to look the part to ride a Soekoe bike. They are right next door to an antiques store, too. All this place needs is a coffee station and there would be no excuse to ever leave.

Soekoe Moto-Bicycles

While this transportation may appear kitsch at first, just think about how much easier it would be to enjoy a bike ride without having to endlessly peddle. Plus, you can go a lot faster on one of these. So, grow out your handlebar moustache, put on your peddlers cap and go on your merry way.

For More Information

Visit their website for more information, or follow their social media pages:

Facebook - facebook.com/soekoebicyclecompany

Instagram - instagram.com/soekoebicyclecompany

Details: 072 499 6116 | [email protected] | Shop 1, 14 Main Road, Fishers Hill, Germiston.

The Best Of Ekurhuleni is a reader's choice award granted to businesses around the East Rand. According to the organisation, "The Best of Ekurhuleni Reader’s Choice Awards were established to inspire the residents of Ekurhuleni to celebrate the best of the best and inspire growth and prosperity in local business and organizations."

These awards are a great way for locals to learn more about their surroundings and to explore the best Ekurhuleni has to offer. While we can't mention all the award winners, we will discuss some of our favourites of the worthy winners.

George's Bread & Co.

Offering an assortment of delectable baked goods, treats and confectionery, George's is probably one of our favourite bakeries in Gauteng. We are nothing short of in love with the soft and airy Red Velvet Cupcakes, chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and perfect Cheesecake. It seems every time we pop by they have something new to make our mouths water. As such, it is no surprise that they take home the awards for not one, but six categories. These include Best Coffee Shop, Best Bakery, Best Pies, Best Place For Party Platters, Best Bakery With Café and joint Best New Restaurant.

Contact details: 010 110 7575 | Shop 7, K90 Centre, Cnr Northrand and Rondebult Road, Jansen Park, Boksburg | [email protected] | https://gbco.co.za

The Victorian Secret

The Victorian Secret

The Victorian Secret

Tucked away in Benoni lies a beautiful Victorian house adorned with rose arches, crisp white window panes and a giant oak tree. This home has been renovated into one of the best bakeries in the East. In fact, according to Best Of Ekurhuleni, they are the Best Tea Garden. After sampling their delightful brunch, high tea and confectionery, we couldn't agree more. Spend a breezy summer afternoon lounging under a shady tree while indulging in a perfectly baked macaron. We recommend the granadilla or raspberry, but those more daring can opt for the salty sweet bacon treat.

Contact details: 011 420 1912 | 140 Woburn St (Cnr Russel St), Western Ext, Benoni | [email protected] | http://thevictoriansecret.co.za/

East Rand Mall

East Rand Mall is the proud winner of Best Shopping Mall. Situated in Boksburg, this mall is home to several other winners, including Best Clothing Store For Him (Edgars) and Best Accessories (Lovisa). Featuring 180 retailers, restaurants and entertainment hubs, this mall has been the go-to for East Randers since 1992. Recently renovated, this mall now has even more parking space and a more modernised feel.

Contact details: 011 823 1110 | Bental Rd, Jansen Park, Boksburg | [email protected]https://www.eastrandmall.co.za

Green Craft Bar

This bar meets pub, located in Modderfontein and Benoni, has won two awards in this year's Best Of Ekurhuleni. They take home the prestigious title of Best Craft Beer Pub. With nine beers on tap, 17 largers, 21 ales and a range of other suds on offer, we are not surprised. They also have a pretty good gin list, which is why they also took the Best Craft Gin Bar title. While sampling their bitter beer and ample gin, make sure to try the Green Pizza or Peanut Butter Burger. They may sound weird, but they're worth a taste.

Contact details: Modderfontein - 082 446 3768 | Modderfontein Country Club, 1 Centenary Rd, Modderfontein, Johannesburg ; Benoni - 084 603 0609 | Benoni Country Club, Morris St, Morehill, Benoni | https://www.thegreen.co.za

The Green Craft Bar

The Green Craft Bar

Birchwood Hotel

Another multi-award winner, Birchwood Hotel takes home Best Local Hotel, Best Venue For Private Functions and Best Hire Venue/ Conference Centre. This hotel, located just 10 minutes away from OR Tambo International Airport, boasts 665 rooms of varying sizes, four onsite restaurants and over 60 conference venues. Set in a picturesque lush garden, this hotel meets all your needs, whether it be luxurious accommodation, the perfect wedding venue or a night of fine dining in the city.

Contact details: 011 897 0000 | Viewpoint Road, Bartlett, Boksburg | https://www.birchwoodhotel.co.za | [email protected]

Emperors Palace

Winner for Best Venue For International And Local Artists To Perform, Best Entertainment Destination For Parties And A Night Out, Best Casino and Best Place To Take Out-Of-Towners is none other than Emperors Palace. This casino and entertainment area offers all the traditional casino games as well as several hotels, theatres and cinemas; conference venues; restaurants; spas and shops. The Palace Of Dreams is your one stop destination for all your entertainment needs.

Contact details: 011 928 1000 | 64 Jones Road, Kempton Park, Johannesburg | https://www.emperorspalace.com/

Birchwood Hotel

Birchwood Hotel

If you would like to see the rest of the winners, click here. For more information about these awards and to stay up to date with the latest news and events, follow them on Facebook or Twitter or contact them on 011 916 5416.

Who's your favourite Best Of Ekurhuleni winner? Let us know in the comments section below!

Nature's Majesty

Simply Majestic Garden Centre and Restaurant in Germiston is a well-hidden wonderland. If you happen to stumble across it, then prepare yourself to be impressed. Their garden centre welcomes you with the scent of blooms and earthy soil. You can find all your garden needs here, from tools, to potting soil, fertiliser and the cutest garden gnomes. They also stock garden furniture, bird feeders and an assortment of porcelain trinkets. But, once you have made your way through the plethora of plant life, it becomes clear that this is not all the Simply Majestic Centre has to offer.

Simply Majestic

Edwardian Accents

At the heart of the Centre is an Edwardian-style cottage, complete with brocade finishing and wraparound porch. However, this cottage offers more than its quaint appearance. It is partitioned into various shops and businesses, which include a hairdresser, estate agents, dressmakers, an arts and crafts store and a wedding boutique! Talk about a one-stop retail experience. Pop into as many stores as you can, because you never know the treasures you may find.

The Simply Majestic Centre has one last secret in store - a sweet family restaurant perfect for birthdays, kitchen teas and intimate wedding receptions. With an outdoor play area and al fresco seating, the Simply Majestic Restaurant is ideal for weekend brunch with the kids. I distinctly remember being told an elaborate story by one of the waiters here, about the tree which is at the centre of the playground. With its wide trunk and low hanging branches, this is a child's dream. Ripe and ready for climbing, the staff at the restaurant spin tales of faeries and elves who live right at the very top. The kiddies are sure to love this added element of wonder, so bring them by as soon as you can.

The restaurant is famed for their traditional English scones served with fresh strawberry jam and cream. Paired with a strong pot of tea, this is Sunday afternoon snack heaven. Simply Majestic also serve up a pretty decadent chilled berry cheesecake. The next time you are in the mood for a little indulgence, give it a try.

Night Time Wonderment

Good news, Simply Majestic hosts a monthly night market! A community-driven effort, this market showcases the best the centre has to offer. It is also family-friendly, offering a number of fun activities to keep the little ones busy. This November, Simply Majestic will be welcoming in the holiday season with their Christmas Night Market, featuring craft and food stalls galore, Christmas themed music, reptile displays and great coffee for the grown ups. Renier Van Straaten and Taye Brink will provide the entertainment for the night. Don't miss out!

When Is It?

Friday, 29 November 2019 from 17:30 - 21:30.

Where Is It?

Simply Majestic Garden Centre, 90 Webber Road, Lambton, 1401 Germiston, Gauteng.

Click here for more information.

Details: 011 827 7202 | simplymajestic.co.za | [email protected]

Have you visited Simply Majestic before? Let us know about your experience!

Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden

The Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden is a vast expanse of stunning flora and fauna. It has a beautiful cascading waterfall, educational walks and even a black eagle which nests atop the waterfall kraans. It is open on weekdays and weekends and will sometimes have a show or event taking place. The Garden also has a mini-train that operates on weekends which is great fun for the kids (and possibly the only operational mini-train in Gauteng).

Tip: Make sure you call before going as sometimes the Botanical Garden hosts events which can be loud and interrupt your idea of a quiet afternoon picnic.

Details: End of Malcolm Road, Poortview, Roodepoort

Walkhaven

This one’s for all the dog lovers out there. Walkhaven started in 2006 with the strict purpose of being a safe environment to exercise your pooches. Walkhaven has a restaurant, a kennel and a function venue with hordes of families making the trek to spend the day with their furry best friends. It’s situated in quaint Muldersdrift on a 22-hectare plot of rolling grassland and features a little dam for your dogs’ enjoyment.

Tip: Visit their website for info on getting an annual pass, which also entitles you to other perks.

Details: Plot 77, Zwartkop, Johannesburg

Gillooly's Farm

Gillooly’s Farm is another great picnic venue on the more eastern side of town. This big piece of grassland features everything from braai areas (very rare in parks these days) to conference venues. They even have a restaurant on the property. It’s beautiful, safe and perfect for picnicking with friends as you can braai, play sport or suntan on the soft sprawling lawns.

Tip: Saturdays tend to be a little busy and at times, so there can be a bit of a ruckus (they don’t only allow braaing but alcohol too, which is fun for some… but not for all).

Details: Boeing Road West, Germiston, Johannesburg

Emmarentia Botanical Gardens

This central Joburg contingent is the perfect venue for a picnic. You don’t pay an entrance fee, are exposed to a world of beauty and have a brilliant view of the city. The Emmarentia Dam and Botanical Gardens is known for its dam and, more recently, for the big live music shows hosted there. They also offer paddle boat hire and benches skirting the dam. This is the most popular park in central Johannesburg and is a must for people who haven’t yet visited it, as well as for those who have.

Interesting Fact: The Emmarentia Botanical Gardens is in fact not one of the eight National Botanic Gardens and is run by the Joburg Parks Department. Walter Sisulu, on the other hand, is a National Botanic Garden and is therefore run by the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

Details: Olifants Road, Emmarentia, Johannesburg

Van Gaalen Kaasmakerij

A personal favourite is Van Gaalen, which is actually a cheese factory (although we feel that using the word factory when referring to this little slice of tranquillity is blasphemy). They do Gouda and only Gouda as they do it so damn well. From aged cheeses to young, softer ones, their Gouda is immaculate! But enough about their cheeses before we start drooling on our keyboards. The property boasts a restaurant, a small quiet river and, of course, the cheese ‘factory’. They provide tours of the cheese-making process and allow patrons to use their property for picnics.

Tip: If you phone a day ahead they will make you a picnic basket on the banks of the Skeerpoort river. Another tip would be to book ahead for their restaurant if you plan on heading out there because it can get busy.

Details: Skeerpoort off the R512 (turn off towards Magaliesburg). Call or visit their website for more info.

Zoo Lake

As Joburg’s original park, Zoo Lake used to be the place where the Randlords went to have picnics. With 9 hectares of play area and almost nowhere to park, Zoo Lake is one of our favourite spots to check out. If you forget the picnic goods at home, you can pop into Moyo and grab a bunch of stuff to eat. You can also go for boat rides on the lake – at R10 a pop (it’s been R10 since forever, but just make sure as this price can change before we know it).

Tip: The weekends get pretty packed so try and go early to get a decent parking spot. Alternatively, you can park at Moyo but then you have to buy something from the restaurant.

Details: Zoo Lake, Parkview, Randburg, 2122

Ethel and James Grey Park and Bird Sanctuary

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed…” The poet Walt Whitman said that. Though he’s never been to Ethel and James Grey Park and Bird Sanctuary, we’re pretty sure he would have enjoyed walking the path around this beautiful piece of flora and fauna. The soft green grass, the chirping of birds and the sun shining softly on your cheek makes for a great picnic experience. With 36 hectares of land to put your blankie down on, we highly recommend the old Ethel and James Grey Park and Bird Sanctuary.

Details: Edgewood Avenue & Melrose St, Melrose, Johannesburg, 2000

Riversands Farm

Hands down the friendliest park in Jozi, Riversands Farm on the outskirts of Fourways (just past Dainfern) boasts tons of activities. Above and beyond soft grass and a relaxed atmosphere, this picnic hotspot is a great place to take the pups for a walk. There’s also a zipline, cafe, sports grounds and other cool stuff to get up to if the picnic basket runs empty. Riversands Farm is also known for hosting events such as the SA Gin Festival, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their events calendar. Oh, and before we forget, there’s a Sunday market happening, well, every Sunday. Count us in, please!

Tip: Bring sunblock. There’s not that much shade.

Details: Riversands Commercial Park, Rose Road, Knopjeslaagte, Midrand, 2189

Rietvlei Nature Reserve

Just past Pretoria, you will find 4 000 hectares of prime picnic fun. Rietvlei Nature Reserve is home to 404 species of birds, a big fat dam and loads of trees. So grab some blankets and picnic baskets, get the kids in the car and drive on over.

Tip: Don’t take a wee in the water. Rietvlei Dam supplies over 41 million litres of water to Pretoria on a daily basis. Also, if you’re driving through from Jozi, pack a snack to keep your wandering fingers out of the picnic basket on the way.

Details: 14 Game Reserve Ave, Rietvallei 377-Jr, Pretoria, 0181

Your Very Own Back Yard

Yup. We went there. It saves you a drive, you can keep the beer cold, and no one is going to yell at you for making a fire.

Tip: If you don’t have a backyard, check out the other nine venues… just saying.

Venue: Where the Wi-Fi connects automatically.

By Shawn Greyling

Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.

What Is It?

Sun, food, music, a picnic with the family... Sounds like a perfect Spring day and a perfect pre-Heritage Day celebration. If this your idea of the perfect way to spend a spring day, Hawaii Spring Picnic at Germiston Lake is for you. Spend the day with your partner, friends, family, colleagues while enjoying some music next to the dam.

Performers include:

Djs for the day:

When Is It?

Sunday 23 September 2018 at 11:00 - 23:55.

Where Is It

Germiston Lake, Webber, Germiston, Johannesburg.

How Much Is It?

Tickets start from R150 per person and are sold on Computicket

For More Information?

For more information you can check out Computicket or the Facebook page.

Make History

Extending a hefty invite to the public, Canon South Africa will attempt to make world history by hosting the biggest Instameet ever seen. It will all transpire at the SAA Aviation Museum in Germiston from 06:00–09:00 on 18 August 2018.

Registration

Entrance to the Museum is free to those participating in the Instameet record attempt on World Photography Day. It is however necessary to register on www.explorewithus.co.za to qualify for free entrance. The first 100 people to arrive at the museum will be treated to a complimentary coffee.

Be There Without Being There

Can’t make it to the SAA Aviation Museum? Canon South Africa encourages everyone with a love of photography and a passion for Mzansi to plan their own Instameets on World Photography Day and get clicking. “Connect with people who are passionate about taking pictures; round up your friends and family and explore the beauty our amazing country has to offer. There are no rules for an Instameet, neither a minimum total of attendees required. Just round up as many people as you can and flex some creative muscle,” says Michelle Janse van Vuuren, Marketing Director of Canon South Africa.

#ExploreWithCanon

Make sure to share your experience with Canon South Africa via social media by tagging Canon and including the hashtag #ExploreWithCanon. Canon South Africa might send a representative to join your event and/or send you a prize and some Canon goodies to distribute at your next Instameet. Other hashtags to use include #ExploreZA and #LiveForTheStory.

There will be five photographic tasks to complete on the day. These will be shared with Instameeters at the event, as well as on social media. Make sure to follow Canon South Africa’s social media pages as each task will be available to view. Should fans not be able to attend the Instameet, they are still able to enter the competition via Canon’s social media pages.

Participants will have until the following Wednesday, 22 August 2018 to upload their photos, using the hashtag #ExplorewithCanon and the task-specific hashtag. One winner per task will be selected to win a Canon EOSM100 mirrorless camera. There are also other fantastic prizes to be won from Canon South Africa for photographers and Instameeters showcasing their pictures from the event.

For more information, visit the official Canon Instameet site, www.explorewithus.co.za.

Make History

Extending a hefty invite to the public, Canon South Africa will attempt to make world history by hosting the biggest Instameet ever seen. It will all transpire at the SAA Aviation Museum in Germiston from 06:00–09:00 on 18 August 2018.

Registration

Entrance to the Museum is free to those participating in the Instameet record attempt on World Photography Day. It is however necessary to register on www.explorewithus.co.za to qualify for free entrance. The first 100 people to arrive at the museum will be treated to a complimentary coffee.

Be There Without Being There

Can’t make it to the SAA Aviation Museum? Canon South Africa encourages everyone with a love of photography and a passion for Mzansi to plan their own Instameets on World Photography Day and get clicking. “Connect with people who are passionate about taking pictures; round up your friends and family and explore the beauty our amazing country has to offer. There are no rules for an Instameet, neither a minimum total of attendees required. Just round up as many people as you can and flex some creative muscle,” says Michelle Janse van Vuuren, Marketing Director of Canon South Africa.

#ExploreWithCanon

Make sure to share your experience with Canon South Africa via social media by tagging Canon and including the hashtag #ExploreWithCanon. Canon South Africa might send a representative to join your event and/or send you a prize and some Canon goodies to distribute at your next Instameet. Other hashtags to use include #ExploreZA and #LiveForTheStory.

There will be five photographic tasks to complete on the day. These will be shared with Instameeters at the event, as well as on social media. Make sure to follow Canon South Africa’s social media pages as each task will be available to view. Should fans not be able to attend the Instameet, they are still able to enter the competition via Canon’s social media pages.

Participants will have until the following Wednesday, 22 August 2018 to upload their photos, using the hashtag #ExplorewithCanon and the task-specific hashtag. One winner per task will be selected to win a Canon EOSM100 mirrorless camera. There are also other fantastic prizes to be won from Canon South Africa for photographers and Instameeters showcasing their pictures from the event.

For more information, visit the official Canon Instameet site, www.explorewithus.co.za.

The Geldhof Chocolatier Factory Store - Germiston

Stocked with all of your favourite chocolate treats in an array of flavours, finishes and toppings, Geldhof Chocolatiers factory shop in Meadowdale Value Centre in Germiston, offers not only the most decadent in Belgian handmade chocolates but also plenty of free parking and discounts on special purchases. Expect super friendly staff, quality and great service, all neatly packaged with a smile.

Marc Geldhof founded Geldhof Chocolatiers in 1991. Nearly three decades on, the Geldhof Chocolate brand continues to delight chocoholics with their confections. Their factory store in Germiston is particularly whimsical with its sparkly chandeliers and mirror floors. The air temperature cools drastically as you step inside. But, you will soon be distracted by the shelves of chocolate figurines, glass display cases stacked full with inviting truffles of all kinds and the welcoming staff ready to assist.

Sweet Treats

Don't expect to leave Geldhof with just a few items. Once you get started loading up your shopping basket, it's hard to stop. Luckily, these decadent choccies are often available at factory prices. This is the perfect place to stock up on Easter treats, Christmas stocking fillers or even just something for your special someone. With diabetic sugar-free options, dairy free alternatives and dark chocolate varieties, there is a chocolate treat for everyone at Geldhof. We must also mention their chocolate brownies - these super moist chocolate treasures are some of the best we have tried. Don't even bother trying to have only one - they are simply irresistible.

Like a little tipple with your chocolate? The Geldhof Factory Store has the ideal gift box for you. Their liqueur truffle boxes come with a selection of chocolate shell casings which hold tots of whisky, brandy, rum and Amarula. These little adult treats are great as after dinner party favours or weekend treats.

Geldhof

Easter Selection

Spoil your little ones (and yourself) with some goodies from Geldhof Chocolates this Easter. Their selection features assorted chocolate boxes, novelty chocolate bunnies and hollow eggs, as well as special edition Easter chocolate bars. You are sure to score a couple of brownie points (don't forget the brownies) by gifting your loved ones with their favourite chocolate truffle this Easter. Click here to see the full selection.

Geldhof also now offers delivery and click and collect services! Click here to find out more about this exciting new endeavor.

**These offers are available until Monday, 13 April 2020.

For More Information

For more information about Geldhof Chocolatiers, visit www.geldhofchocolates.co.za.

Also, check them out on Facebook.

Details: 011 453 0404 | Meadowdale Value Centre, Meadowdale, Hyperama Link Street, Germiston

What Is It?

Join Reefsteamers for a romantic Valentine's steam train trip to Magaliesburg. for more information about the train ride, contact them. Once you arrive at your destination, being Magaliesburg, guests have the option to enjoy an afternoon at Magalies Sleepy River Venue at R60 per person where you can enjoy a few of their facilities, including a large swimming pool, braai stations, food and beverage vendors, a market, and much more! The cost for the Magalies Sleepy River Venue visit includes transport from the station to the venue and entrance.

When Is It?

Saturday, 11 February 2017 from 09:00 - 18:00.

The schedule is as follows:

Where Is It?

Reefsteamers, 46 Knights Road, Germiston, Johannesburg.

How Much Is It?

Tickets cost R 250 per adultR 200 per child aged between 4-12, and free entry for children under 4. And, if you opt to enjoy the afternoon at the Magalies Sleepy River Venue, it's R 60 per person for entry. 

Email [email protected] or call 062 743 9200 to make your booking.

For More Information

For more information about this Valentine's Special, email [email protected],call 062 743 9200, or visit www.reefsteamers.com.

What Is It?

Grab your camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, blankets and chairs and make your way to Rand Airport for the annual Rand Airshow. This is one of the biggest airshows around, showcasing a spectacular and breathtaking display of all things aeronautical. Here, you get to see a grand exhibition of helicopters, aerobatics, military display, warbirds and so much more. Both young and old will love seeing these flying machines up close to check out their exciting features. There will also be snacks and refreshments for sale.

Where Is It?

Rand Airport, Rand Airport Road, Germiston, Johannesburg.

When Is It?

Sunday, 06 September 2020 at 09:00 - 16:00.

How Much Is It?

Still to be communicated.

For More Information

For more information about this event, visit www.randairport.co.za. Also, check out their Facebook event page.

Happily Ever Laughter

This small, but quality venue, allows parents to enjoy a meal while their kids enjoy the playground. I am one of those paranoid mommies who is always following my three-year-old around the kids play area – not only because I don’t trust strangers, but also because she’s so clumsy that I fear what could happen if I didn’t watch her every move. Happily Ever Laughter gives me the chance to relax a little because the play area is small enough to see her at all times, and it's situated away from the road. Yes, that means you can actually have a conversation with your partner and a hot meal, at the same time. Amazing, right?

Happily Ever Laughter

Photo sourced from Facebook

The best part is, unlike many other restaurants with play areas, Happily Ever Laughter has the most delicious food. From breakfast options to divine wraps, kiddies meals and out-of-this-world sushi, they know how to keep me coming back for more – and stay there for hours, too. Make sure you try one of their Freezochinos... yes, even in winter! They’re just to die for.

Plus, they have private areas for functions. From kiddies birthday parties to baby showers and more, they will make your special day just that – oh-so-special. Their platters are great and they will even do your décor at an additional price. Trust me, you’ll want them to.

Photo sourced from Facebook

The owners, Gaby Sham and Tracy Sparrow, are always there and make you feel right at home. I knew Gaby from a previous venture, and she is one of the reasons I keep going back to this perfect little venue.

So if you’re in need of some quality family time, or a get-together with friends, get down to this homely restaurant and have yourself a treat while your munchkins have some fun. It’s worth it!

Follow Happily Ever Laughter on Facebook or Instagram.

Details: 24A Riley Rd, Bedfordview, Johannesburg | 011 450 0711 | [email protected]

By Angela Bekiaris

Have you been here before? Rate and review your experience below!