Northcliff Hill: Joburg’s most beautiful place

Northcliff Water Tower. Picture: iStock

From proposals to lovers, friends getting high or children playing – the koppie accepts everyone.

The Lion’s Head of Johannesburg. Northcliff Koppie is no secret, yet first timers in the City of Gold are always surprised by its magnitude.

Yes, in the middle of leafy Northcliff, the koppie is a bastion rivalling Cape Town’s famous mountain.

The expletive usually starts with an “f ” walking the path up to the water tower. Followed by, “I never knew”.

The koppie is where families come to give their children the best view in the city. Students are scattered about popping open beer. Cyclists challenge themselves with the hill, and often reward themselves with the view.

View of Johannesburg from Northcliff Hill. Picture: iStock

But the real magic happens only at sunset. It’s the golden hour where peace reigns supreme.

Among the cliffs, little groups sit, chattering about the day. But when the pink and orange hues start to paint the sky, a silence sets in it’s sheer beauty.

The reaction is the same we get when faced with beautiful art, good food or joy. We shut down and appreciate it. The koppie captures that very humanistic emotion.

It’s the second highest point in Johannesburg. For years it was known as aasvoëlkop (vulture ridge) and it still falls in the hunting area of the Black Eagles of Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens – but seeing them is rare.

View of Johannesburg from Northcliff Ridge at night. Picture: iStock

While you can see the CBD from the koppie, the views over Randburg central, Rosebank and Sandton – once separate municipalities but unified after the dawn of democracy – better illustrate Joburg.

From proposals to lovers, friends getting high or children playing – the koppie accepts everyone.

A trip up isn’t complete without a revelation. The beauty asks that of you. It’s your payment for enjoying Johannesburg’s most beautiful place.

If funds are ever tight and you want to impress someone, remember the koppie. It’s entertainment that’s profound and free.

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