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Known as the City of Lakes for its 5 manmade lakes, Benoni is a flourishing suburb of Johannesburg.
Gold was discovered here in the late 1880s and men from Cornwall arrived to work the mines. The shanty town that developed around the mine, called Little Cornwall, was renowned for hard drinking, gambling and dog fights. It took a further 15 years before a town was officially laid out and named Benoni. The first residents were mostly of British descent along with many Jews escaping persecution from Eastern Europe. During that time, thousands of trees were planted around the town.
The Benoni of today is a pleasant residential suburb with several parks, lakes, sports clubs, churches and schools scattered throughout the area. The commercial centre has attractive malls, markets, restaurants and entertainment facilities. There are a few small industrial parks and the Daveyton township lies within its boundaries.
For convenience, visitors to Johannesburg will find Benoni the best possible layover, as the suburb is well situated between the international airport and the city centre.
Top 6 reasons to visit Benoni
1. There are plenty of retail options in Benoni; the Lakeside Shopping Mall, shaped in the form of a steamboat and located on a lake, has over 130 exciting stores, while Northmead Square’s recent upgrades offers the shopper much more variety and convenience.
2. Families with young children head for the Bunny Park on weekends to interact with, and feed, the thousands of rabbits, goats, chickens and pigs roaming the park. Free entrance.
3. Start with an organic facial and end with a Swedish massage at the exclusive Mercury Thai Spa. Couples packages are offered that include meals.
4. Try to beat the odds on the casino floor at Emperor’s Palace Casino. For those not interested in gambling, visit to watch a show and dine out at Aurelia’s Restaurant.
5. The Benoni Lake Golf Club has a number of water hazards to challenge any golfer. The course consists of 9 holes on either side of a road. Closed on Mondays.
6. Hire a good bicycle and head for the country! The Ride Free Bike Park located in the Modderfontein Nature Reserve has 4 trails of various grades that traverse wonderfully scenic areas of the park. Aside from the cycle routes, there are trail running paths and hides for birders.
The OR Tambo International Airport is 20km from the centre of Benoni. Car rental agencies are located at the airport and in the town, otherwise order a vehicle online. Metered taxis, shuttle service companies and Uber all operate in and around Benoni. For quick access to and from Johannesburg, use the Gautrain that can be boarded from the airport.
Did you know?
The man responsible for designing the magistrate’s court in Benoni in 1890 was Sytze Wopkes Wierda (true), a Dutch architect who moved to South Africa but not before assisting with the design of the Amsterdam Central Station. Wierda had a full beard and hairstyle that would not look out of place on a hipster.
An offshoot of the Apostolic Faith Mission called the Latter Rain Mission, is located in Benoni. Its female worshippers wear plain clothing similar to American Quakers and are referred to locally as Blourokkies (little blue dresses).