The Johannesburg Zoo, Gauteng
Did you know?
Phila, an orphaned black rhino calf at the zoo, that miraculously survived a poaching attack, is helping to educate the public about the poaching of critically endangered animals.
White lions and Siberian tigers are among the most endangered carnivores on Earth and the Johannesburg Zoo is one of the few places in the world where both have been bred successfully.
But those big and beautiful cats are only one of Jo'burg zoo's many attractions that have made it among the most popular family-friendly destinations in South Africa's largest city.
This vast 54ha expanse of greenery in Johannesburg's northern suburbs is home to more than 2 000 individual animals representing over 360 different species, including all the elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, foxes, hippos, polar bears, crocodiles and antelope you could hope to see.
Wattled cranes and black rhinos are just two species that this zoo in Johannesburg is helping to conserve.
This is a far cry from when the zoo first opened in 1904. At that time the entire collection consisted of one lion, one baboon, one leopard, one giraffe, one sable antelope, a golden eagle and a pair of porcupines.
While the Johannesburg Zoo has always been a popular venue, ongoing additions to their attractions have rocketed its popularity skywards. The zoo underwent extensive redevelopment in 2004 and 2005 and exhibits such as a walk-in aviary, an ape house and a reptile house were added along with new enclosures for the bears, pumas and tigers.
The Johannesburg Zoo makes for a fantastic family outing and youngsters will be particularly thrilled with the variety of tours and educational programmes on offer.
Particularly exciting for children are the night safaris and sleepovers, where groups of children get the opportunity to camp under the stars on the zoo grounds while surrounded by the cacophony of wildlife at night.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)11 646 2000
How to get here
The Johannesburg Zoo is located in Jan Smuts Avenue in the Parkview suburb, easily accessible by bus, taxi or car. There is plenty of parking of available.
Best time to visit
The Johannesburg Zoo is open daily from 8.30am to 5.30pm. Visit the zoo's website for updates on daily animal feeding times.
Around the area
The Distong National Museum of Military History, in the zoo grounds, is worth visiting. Museum entrance fees are charged separately.
Tours to do
A Night Safari is a must, while children will enjoy Zoo Sleepovers.
What will it cost
R61 for adults, R38 for children under the age of 12, and R10 per vehicle for zoo parking. Zoo tours range from R85 to R220 per person. Zoo Sleepovers cost from R90 to R130 per person, depending on group numbers.
What to pack
Your camera and comfortable walking shoes.
Where to stay
Less than two blocks away from the zoo, on Jan Smuts Avenue, is the five-star Westcliff Hotel, complete with stunning views over the zoo.
What to eat
There is a restaurant, selling both full meals and light snacks, on the grounds.
Among the activities available at the zoo is orienteering, holiday programmes, themed animal fun walks, and family days. Visit the zoo's website for the latest event updates.