The pretty suburb of Observatory, Johannesburg situated on a hill for obvious reasons is home to the observatory site and stands on a 35-hectare site, declared the city’s first meteorological observatory site in 1903.
The stone building is small and attractive and, because it lies on a ridge, offers some of the most splendid views over Bellevue and Sandton. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Voortrekker Monument, just south of Pretoria.
It’s probably one of the best reasons for staying in the leafy suburb of Observatory – the views – which extend over the eastern side of the city and Bez Valley, and the feeling of being remote from the humdrum of city living. Pretty and large homes sit on broad streets in a part of Johannesburg that has remained surprisingly quiet and sedate, despite its proximity to the melting pot of Yeoville, a little further south of Observatory.
Observatory is just up the road from the Bruma flea market, Kensington and Eastgate shopping mall. The Observatory Golf Course might be one of the lesser-known courses in Johannesburg, but it’s as good as many of its more famous neighbours.
Newtown is about 20 minutes from Observatory – the hub of the city centre’s regeneration project and the site of the Market Theatre – whilst a visit to Gillooly’s farm in Bedfordview over a weekend is a lovely way to spend a morning or afternoon.