Johannesburg Zoo - the most important information
The Johannesburg Zoo is a 55-hectare zoo in Johannesburg, South Africa. The zoo is dedicated to the accommodation, enrichment, husbandry, and medical care of wild animals, and houses about 2000 individuals of 320 species. Established in 1904, it has traditionally been owned and operated by the Johannesburg City Council. However, it has been turned into a corporation and registered as a Section 21 non-profit organization.
History of the Johannesburg Zoo
The Johannesburg Zoo has its origins as part of the Braamfontein farm which was owned by Hermann Eckstein. He had bought the farm to explore it for minerals but he failed to find any. In August 1903, the Mayor of Johannesburg received a letter from Wernher Beit & Co and Max Michaelis with an offer of 200 acres of freehold ground in the Sachsenwald plantation to the Johannesburg Town Council for recreational use. This park would become Zoo Lake, the Johannesburg Zoo, and the South African National Museum of Military History. Sir Percy Fitzpatrick would donate the first animals to the zoo. The zoo's first enclosures housed two lions and a leopard. After 1912 the zoo expanded into the land that had been allocated in trust for a war memorial. The zoo, and neighboring park, are some of the very few public areas that were never segregated during Apartheid in South Africa. In the 1960s the zoo would evolve from iron and concrete cages into open and landscaped enclosures. The zoo has currently 326 species consisting of 2096 specimens housed consisting of 20 species of frogs, 5 spiders, 128 birds, 47 reptiles, 25 fish, and 101 mammals.
What to see in the Johannesburg Zoo?
Well, this zoo is huge and you would need one whole day to get through it. Here are several big exhibitions and animals from all around the world. Here are some of the exhibitions that you will see at this zoo:
- Amazonia: Housing animal species found in the forests of the Amazon. Visit the slinky Spider Monkeys, curious Coatis, interesting Armadillos, and gracious Pumas. Amazonia can be found by following Gorilla Walk to Amazon Avenue on the eastern side of the zoo.
- AngloGold Lion Enclosure: Visit Africa's symbol of beauty and power, the lion in our natural and open AngloGold Lion enclosures. The zoo houses 11 lions with 3 magnificent pride males and their pride females.
- Animal of Amazon: The zoo's newest state-of-the-art enclosure was launched in April 2014. The enclosure houses all things creepy-crawlies such as various reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrate species.
- Cheetah slopes: Take a stroll to their cheetah slopes and visit Africa's fastest carnivore. Along the way, you can also meet the African Wild Dog and the newly introduced Ethiopian Jackal.
- Crocodile Country: Visit the reptile which has outlasted the dinosaurs, the Nile crocodile in their outdoors and indoors enclosures. Other reptiles housed include the Rock Monitor Lizard. Remember in summer to catch the Croc feeding times.
- Farm Yard: Children can visit the farmyard where they can see and touch-friendly farm animals such as Nguni and Bapedi Sheep. There are very small to giant breeds such as Shetland pony and Shire horse. Children can also play in the zoo's playground gyms.
- Madagascar: Meet some of the world’s most unusual primates found only in Madagascar. Species on view in their renovated enclosures include Black & White Ruffed Lemur, Crowned Lemur, Ringtailed Lemur, Red-Bellied Lemur, and Mongoose Lemur.
Opening hours and tickets for the Johannesburg Zoo
- Opening hours: The Zoo is open every day including public holidays from 9:00 – 17:30. The last entry is at 16:00.
- Tickets: Prices are different depending on age and other factors. For adults the entry fee is around 7 USD, for students, children, and pensioners it is around 4 USD. There are some tours and group trips so tickets may be cheaper. Because the prices may differ depending on many factors, we are recommending you to check out the official website of the Johannesburg Zoo before going.
How to get to the Johannesburg Zoo?
There are several ways to get to the Johannesburg Zoo. Maybe, the easiest way is to travel with Citysightseein Green Tour. This tour starts at Constitutional Hill and it takes 28 minutes to get to the Johannesburg Zoo. This tour operates every 4 hours and it costs approximately 10 USD.
Fun facts about the Johannesburg Zoo:
- This zoo was home to Africa's last polar bear until 2014.
- The first ‘official’ enclosure was built by the Town Council to house two young lions. Only the lions and leopards were in the public area at this stage.
- In 1910 the Bandstand was built to host the popular brass band music of the day.
- Between 1913 and 1915 the stone elephant and rhino houses were built. Also at this time, one Asian elephant and one Bactrian camel were purchased and trained for rides.
- In 1961 for the first time, visitors over the age of 16 were charged to enter the zoo.
- In August 2017, a new R45 million parkade replaced the old 200 vehicle car park with one holding 700 cars and 15 busses.