Shepstone Gardens, Johannesburg
Did you know?Sir Herbert Baker designed the Union Buildings in Pretoria and the Parliament Buildings in New Delhi.
Shepstone Gardens has been sitting on top of the historic Witwatersrand Ridge since the turn of the 20th century when it was first commissioned by the Modderfontein Dynamite Company. You can find another great legacy of this company out at Modderfontein, 20 minutes from OR Tambo International Airport, where today there is the lovely Modderfontein Nature Reserve.
Shepstone Gardens, situated in the Mountain View suburb, has an impressive pedigree as befits its stately presence and beautiful gardens. Fashioned from ancient local quartz, it was hand-built by Afrikaans prisoners of war captured by the British during the South African (Anglo-Boer) War. Although care has been taken to ensure that any additions to the house are in the style of legendary architect Sir Herbert Baker, you can still see plenty of evidence of the original craftsmanship and stone cutting skills of those early workers.
There’s even a story that Mahatma Gandhi, who lived with his family and worked as a lawyer in Johannesburg from 1903 to 1914, became involved with these same prisoners in their dispute with the dynamite company.
Because the venue can only hold a maximum of 120 people (150 at a push) you can always find an atmosphere of intimacy – whether at a wedding, a fantasy party, a team-building exercise, a classical music concert, art classes, or when Shepstone Gardens hosts a major sporting event on its outsize, outdoor TV screens.
Expect beautiful old sandstone buildings clustered around two acres of formal gardens. Take a stroll along the mountain walk, take time to smell the flowers, or just enjoy 17 natural ponds and fountains where wild birds come eye-to-eye with massive golden koi.
The chapel, with its glass roof, has seen generations of brides come and go, and the manicured lawns have heard the laughter of generations of children.
Shepstone Gardens is a stunning Johannesburg landmark.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)11 728 6738
Best time to visit
In spring and summer, the gardens look particularly lovely.
Around the area
The Houghton Golf Course and the historic Victory Theatre are only 10 minutes away by car.
Tours to do
The best way to see Johannesburg is on the City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off bus. It has 12 exciting stops including the Apartheid Museum, the World of Beer, Gold Reef City and the Origins Centre.
Length of stay
Shepstone Gardens is open 7 days a week.
What to eat
If you plan an event at Shepstone Gardens, they will advise on all catering matters. You can also pre-order picnic lunches.