A Historic Walk Through Kensington

Kensington is a suburb just east of Johannesburg CBD (Central Business District). Established in 1897, it is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Johannesburg. This area is rich in history and a couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to do a historical walk in Kensington with the Fun Seekers Johannesburg Meetup Group.

Our walk started and ended at the Kensington Bowling Club (traditional English lawn bowling, not the indoor 10 pin style). There were 2 different planned walks, a 4km and a 7km walk. We had initially decided to do the 7km walk in order to explore more of Kensington however what we didn’t know was that it was also planned to do the 7km walk in about the same time as the 4km one. Within the first 5 minutes we found ourselves already lagging behind in the slow group (nothing new here) as we were enjoying snapping photos and listening to our wonderful guide Isabelle reveal the fascinating heritage of Kensington.

The Kensington ClubThe Kensington Club

Kensington Club BathroomKensington Club Bathroom. Normally I don’t make it a habit to snap photos in bathrooms but this one looks like it hasn’t been updated in the 100 years that the club has been opened. I couldn’t resist.

Stone gate constructed from rocks in the area, looks a bit heavy...Stone gate constructed from rocks in the area, looks a bit heavy…

In the center of Kensington sits the Langerman Koppie (hill) and our walk continued straight up to the top of it. From here we were rewarded with some amazing views of the Jozi skyline making the climb well worth our effort.

Heading up the koppieHeading up the koppie

 Jozi SkylineJozi Skyline

Jozi CBDJust love this view

Once everyone had their fill of photo ops, we made our way down the side of the koppie to the Jeppe High School for Boys. The oldest public school in Johannesburg, Jeppe was established in 1890 and ranks in the top 20 of South African boys schools. The beautiful brick facade was built with stones from the surrounding koppie. Unfortunately there was not time to do a tour on this day but I was able to talk the guards into letting us past the gate to snap a few photos.

Jeppe High School for BoysJeppe High School for Boys

A War Memorial (a national monument) dedicated to all who lost their lives in WW1 is also found on the school grounds.

Jeppe War MemorialJeppe War Memorial

We had one more small koppie to climb in order to view the Scottish Horse Memorial. This statue commemorates the officers and men who died in the Anglo-Boer War (1901-1902). Unfortunately the monument has been the object of vandalism and the commemorative plaque had been removed from the front. Isabelle explained that this was due to vandals believing there was some sort of treasure inside the monument and therefore they removed the plaque and tried to chip away at the inside of the statue.

Scottish Horse Memorial

Scottish Horse Memorial

We arrived back at the Bowling Club to cold drinks and a short lesson in bowling. Even though we are used to the french game Boules or pétanque, this was very different and more lessons are in order.

BowlingLawn Bowling, these folks didn’t need lessons

The balls, bigger and heavier than boulesThe balls, bigger and heavier than boules

Correct form is importantCorrect form is important

The Frenchie gives it a goThe Frenchie gives it a go

We had a ton of fun on this walk and learned a lot about Kensington. The Fun Seekers plan on making this a monthly event (and with even more bowling lessons) so if you are interested in attending, check their website for more details. After the bowling, the group headed over to Market on Main for a lunch; a cool, hip place in the Maboneng district, but I will save the food porn photos for the next blog post. Cheers.

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One thought on “A Historic Walk Through Kensington

  1. Pingback: Maboneng Precinct and Market on Main | Under an African Sun

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