Zoo Lake is a fantastic lake and public park situated just 15 minutes away from central Johannesburg. Forming part of the Hermann Eckstein Park and located opposite the Johannesburg Zoo, the park is a favourite recreational area that is always bustling with families, dog walkers, picnickers, and joggers.
The land was donated by its original founders as a public park under the condition that the facilities were to remain open to people of races. This was incredibly unusual during Colonial South Africa, and interestingly, the park maintained a multi-racial area even throughout the apartheid era.
The park has a number of facilities, including the Moyo restaurant, as well as sports amenities, an information centre, and a pub. Zoo Lake is popular for picnics, walking dogs, jogging, canoeing, and boating (with small boats for hire). Families are often spotted feeding the ducks and other waterfowl which roost in the island at the centre of the lake.
Zoo Lake has two dams and features the Coronation Fountain, a musical fountain that was built in 1937 to commemorate the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The park hosts the annual Jazz on the Lake Festival, Carols by Candlelight events and Artists under the Sun open air art exhibition. The area also includes the Zoo Lake Bowling Club, Zoo Lake Swimming Pool, and the Zoo Lake Sports Club. When Johannesburg celebrated its 70th birthday in 1956, Margot Fonteyn danced Swan Lake with the lake as a backdrop.