A tranquil, leisurely picnic in the setting of your choice – on the banks of a river, under a tree in the botanical gardens with black eagles soaring overhead, or on the shores of a trout dam – seems like just the right medicine after the year that was 2020.
Make the most of the beautiful Highveld weather, Jozi’s long summer days, and wind down the year with a gourmet picnic, courtesy of Arbour Café & Courtyard. Famed for its breakfasts, gallettes and crepes, Arbour is now offering gourmet picnic packages for gatherings of family, friends and colleagues.
Five perfectly packaged options, each with a selection of savoury and sweet treats, offer an opportunity to relax in a picnic spot of your choice, drinking in your surroundings (and some vino) and savouring the indulgent treats. Catering to groups of 10 people, the options include Cheese, Charcuterie & Cheese, Charcuterie & Cheese Deluxe, Mediterranean and An English Affair, each with a sweet and decadent ending.
The Arbour Picnic Packages come complete with eco plates and paper serviettes – and you can even add a bottle or two of wine or bubbles from the Gourmet Grocer next door. Prices range from R1 295 to R2 970 for a package for 10 people, making it the perfect option for a chilled year-end corporate tea or lunch under African skies, or a relaxed gathering of family and friends without any of the hassle of catering and cleaning up.
To whet your appetite for the great outdoors, here are Arbour’s top 10 picks of favourite picnic destinations in which to enjoy their gourmet picnics (with thanks to Vibescout):
1. James and Ethel Gray Park
The James and Ethel Gray Park is named after the historian and former mayor of Johannesburg, James Gray and his wife, Ethel. Residents of Birdhaven say that the park has the best views of the sun-rise in the morning, so try to grab your Arbour picnic basket and plant your blanket on one of the embankments with a picture of the Johannesburg skyline.
2. Innesfree Park
This park is on the larger size of the scale, so there’s plenty of space to picnic, braai and for the kids to run around. Enjoy the wide open spaces and fresh air. Be sure to bring some fun activities if you bring children along on your picnic so that they can make use of the area.
3. Emmarentia Dam
Emmarentia Dam is a series of dams that make up part of the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and surrounding parks. The dam itself has become a home for watersports like canoeing and rowing, while the vast area of lawn is welcoming for those wanting to picnic or braai.
4. Delta Park
Delta has a lot of open space and grassy lawns which are great for picnics. The park also has three small dams that encourage flourishing plant life near them, as well as a bird sanctuary where you can observe a variety of species of birds. Check out some of the viewing huts scattered around the sanctuary.
5. Mushroom Farm Park / Hyundai Sky Park
This park is a great getaway for families with kids who want some entertainment over weekends or in the holidays. The park has many sources of entertainment like an interactive children’s play area, outdoor gym and duck pond.
6. Rietvlei Lifestyle Centre
For a kid-friendly day out, get down to Rietvlei. They have plenty of activities to keep your children busy while you enjoy a picnic under the trees.
7. Kloofendal Nature Reserve
Kloofendal Nature Reserve is Johannesburg’s first nature reserve, built on one of South Africa’s oldest mines. The gorgeous walking trails often have guided hikes organised by ‘Friends of Kloofendal’, which are both educational and scenic. You can hike, enjoy the animal and birdlife, and even organise a tour of the old mine.
8. Brookwood Estate
The Brookwood Trout Farm hosts a well-kept picnic area that makes for fantastic summer picnic spot. The picnic area is alongside the Blaaubank Spruit river, which is an excellent place for children to swim in the summer.
9. Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
This natural beauty is an excellent place for family picnics and walks through the gardens. Although the park does not allow bat and ball games, (because of the conservation happening in the area), there is plenty to do, from admiring the variety of plant life and looking for the small mammals and reptiles that call this place home, to a full outdoor gym.
10. Gillooly’s farm
The main feature of Gillooly’s farm is the large human-made dam that expands over the majority of the park. A small stream runs through the remainder of the park. Because of these fantastic water features, luscious green grass, lovely tall trees and an array of bird life all occupy the park, it’s the perfect picnic spot.