Westdene is one of those pretty little character-filled suburbs, that tend to lie fairly close to Johannesburg’s city centre. Its streets are lined with cottage-styled homes with tin roofs, some of which back onto Westdene’s park and dam, and the streets are tree-lined and pretty.
The properties are also heavily lined with barbed wire against the inevitable rise of crime in the area, yet despite this there is a village feel to Westdene that has persevered, perhaps because of its proximity to RAU, now known as the University of Johannesburg, hence its popularity with students. Westdene is sandwiched between the popular village of Melville and Triomf at the base of the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve on the other side of Perth Road from the University of Johannesburg (a merger between the Technikon Witwatersrand and the Rand Afrikaans University or RAU, the sports ground of which serves as a buffer between the lower reaches of Melville and Westdene).
Nearby is the popular ‘7de Laan’ in Melville depicted in the soapie of the same name, as well as a number of restaurants, bistros and shops worth a visit, whilst a day over the weekend spent in the Melville Koppies is time well spent.
Few people realise that this beautiful green space, wedged in between residential suburbs in northern Johannesburg is actually a World Heritage Site. It seems people have lived here since the Stone Age and the ridges themselves have been estimated at around 2.9 billion years old. There are over 200 types of birds in the reserve and a range of small mammals, as well as hiking trails.
Westdene is also fairly close to Emmarentia Dam, and the popular village of Greenside.