The Johannesburg Zoo is a regularly visited tourist attraction in the leafy suburb of Saxonwold. The zoo invites visitors from across the country to see natural animal behaviour in one of the closest to nature enclosures South Africa has to offer.
Just 3.7 kms from the city centre and a mere 30 minute drive from the O.R Tambo Airport, the zoo is easily accessible to anyone in the Gauteng province.
If you weren’t sold on a visit to the Jozi Zoo, this might just change your mind. Little ones are fully catered for with awesome school holiday programs to keep them entertained because sometimes kids don’t come with an off switch.
Every year the zoo undergoes huge improvements and offers new displays and enclosures to better view the animals housed here, so repeat visits are always on the cards.
Don’t forget to check what’s happening in Johannesburg today and this week.
History and General Info
In 1904, the land that is the Johannesburg Zoo was graciously donated by the late Hermann Ekstein. Herman had a passion for conservation and has been crucial in the development of the suburb the zoo resides in. So passionate that he planted 3 million trees in Saxonwold.
The Joburg Zoo has grown in leaps and bounds since it was first opened, now it is registered as an active member in local and international breeding programmes, clearly displaying their aim of conservation and sustainability.
The zoo is open 365 days a year and the 55 ha property can be quite daunting to navigate, to download a printable map of the zoo click here.
Entrance Fee and Details
The zoo is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, they’re even open on Christmas.
- Operating Hours:
- 8:30am - 5:30pm
- Ticket sales close at 4pm.
The entrance fee at the Johannesburg Zoo covers the entrance of all areas within the zoo.
- R100 - Adults
- R60 - Kids
- R60 - Pensioners
- R65 - Students (please provide student card for viewing)
Transport to the Zoo
The Gautrain runs a safe traffic free means of transport to and from the zoo, the train departs from Rosebank Station and runs multiple trips. To view the train schedule click here.
The zoo has added an additional secure parking structure that is monitored daily for a small fee. You can reduce your carbon footprint and save a few rands by carpooling and making the outing to the zoo a reunion of sorts.
- R15 - Cars
- R25 - Buses
Animals and Feeding Times
The Zoo is actively involved in the preservation of natural wildlife, they have various education tours about their conservation efforts.
Being a part of international breeding programmes, the zoo sees many exotic animals. They aim to preserve these close to endangered species. Some of the animals you can expect to see at the Johannesburg Zoo are:
- Bengal Tiger
- Various reptiles
- Variety of Game, like Eiland, Kudu, Antelope
- Wild Dog
- Polar Bears
- Pigmy Hippo
Tip: A quick inquiry to the zoo to find out what animals they have on your visit is essential if you don’t want to be disappointed.
The best time to view the animals at the zoo would be when they are being fed, as they are most active and interested in visitors at this time.
Feeding times guarantee plenty of action and photo opportunities, happy clicking.
- Chimpanzees are fed at 10am.
- Vultures are only fed in view on Sundays at 11am.
- Ground Hornbills are fed at 11:15am.
- Wild Dogs and Cheetahs are fed at 12:15am.
- Crocodile talks and feeding in summer, at 1pm.
- Gorillas are fed at 2pm.
Moyo Zoo Lake
One of the most picturesque settings in the Gauteng province has to be Moyo Zoo Lake. Comfortably settled on the banks of Zoo Lake, Moyo offers its visitors an escape from everyday life by slipping into the tranquil surroundings and ethnic atmosphere.
This African inspired themed restaurant serves up the most delicious cocktails, with a menu that will have your mouth watering. They have an outside seating area that overlooks the lake, you can take in the sun while you enjoy the samplings off the very tasteful menu.
Situated just opposite the zoo, from which the lake hails it’s name, Moyo is easily accessible after an afternoon with the animals. The easy going atmosphere and fresh vibe will have anyone feeling right at home and one with their African Roots.
- Operating Hours:
- Open Daily, 8am - 11pm
- Buffet (Sat, Sun & Public Holidays)
- Breakfast, 8:30am - 11am
- Lunch, 12pm - 4pm
- Address: 1 Prince of Wales Drive, Parkview, Johannesburg
- More Info: Website
Tip: The souvenir store below the restaurant stocks a variety of curios that make for great holiday gifts.
Events, Activities & Fun Facts
Throughout the year, the zoo hosts their Zoo Trot, which takes place almost every second Sunday. They invite visitors for an early morning walk, run or stroll along the course that meanders through the ground passing many popular enclosures.
- Trot starts at 7am
- Contact Details:
- 011 712 6817
- R55 - Per person, with a 5 or 10km option.
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes, the fresh morning atmosphere will keep you pumped and energised.
Dare to run through the zoo at night? Pack your headlight and sign-up for the coolest night run around. The ticket includes entrance to the zoo for the day and a way to see the zoo like you haven’t seen it before. We all know predators are most active at night, but don’t worry the zoo is perfectly secure and safe.
Back To Basic Nutrition are supplying every runner with a free hydrating beverage at the halfway point and a jam packed goodie back once you reach the finish line. Night Runners are advised that headlights will be compulsory once the sun has gone down (6pm).
- Second Sunday, 5pm - 8pm
- R250 - Adults (Early Bird)
- R300 - Adults
- R100 - Kids ages 5 -15 yrs
- R30 - Spectator
- FREE - Kids U5
- Full Event Info: Gajiga Run
Tip: Gajiga Runs are a great way to keep your family healthy while at the same time creating memories you will never forget. These runs are not about winning first place, but more about sharing the day with your loved ones and having fun.
The Education Centre
The zoo boasts an exciting education centre where visitors can learn and get a little up close and personal with some wild animals, all done under the expert supervision of a trained animal handler.
Tip: Do your research on what animals will be shown and introduced at each talk, so you can ensure a show you will really be interested in.
The Farm Yard offers an interactive way you can view and touch, and sometimes even smell, the animals. They are all human friendly but please be on your best behaviour as it is after all their house.
The animals adore attention from your little ones and their are a few ponies for the kids to pet aside from the variety of African Sheep.
Tip: The Farm Yard houses the friendliest animals who would try anything you give them to eat, be sure you are only feeding animal friendly foods by asking one of the very helpful animal keepers.
The Reptile House
The Reptile House is a new edition to the Johannesburg Zoo. The brand new enclosure houses some scaly reptiles such as the venomous Puff Adder, Green Mamba and Dwarf Crocodile.
If all things cold blooded are what you are after a trip to the Reptile House is right up your alley.
Tip: Remember that reptiles are not for everyone, if someone is afraid do not force them to face this fear, let them naturally grow a love for these cold blooded cuties.
Animals Of The Amazon
The Animals Of The Amazon exhibit was built in 2014, it houses some of the creepiest creepy crawlies you could find in Africa, from various reptiles and amphibians to an array of invertebrate species.
Tip: There can be a lot a walking involved with a trip to the zoo, the massive property has to ensure each enclosure is big enough for the occupants. Plan your trip ahead of time using the easily downloadable map and work the feeding times into your route to avoid aimlessly walking around all day.
- When the zoo was first started it housed: 1 lion, 1 leopard, 1 giraffe, 2 Sable antelope bulls, 1 baboon, 1 genet, 1 pair of Rhesus monkeys, 1 pair of porcupines and 1 Golden eagle.
- It now houses the only 2 polar bears in Africa.
- The surrounding trees is the biggest man made forest in the world.
- The zoo is over a 100 years old.
- Between 1913 and 1915, the zoo bought 1 Asian elephant and 1 Bactrian which were trained for rides.
Every South African should see just how majestic this country can be, wild animals are a lot bigger in real life and sometimes a trip to a Game Reserve is not an option.
The Johannesburg Zoo provides an easier alternative to view animals up close, without intruding on their space. The zoo features new structures and attractions each year making it well-worth a repeat visit.
If you find yourself in the Pretoria area, why not take a trip down to Pretoria Zoo, to get the inside scoop check out, Pretoria Zoo - Activities, Entrance Fees, Info & More.
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