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The established town of Kempton Park falls under the East Rand and lies to the north east of Johannesburg, a mix of residential and industrial zones.
Kempton Park is best known for being the home of the Impala jet, styled on the Italian Macchi jet and built under licence during the 1960s. The government recruited top engineers from at least 12 nations to build the jet which was used for over 40 years by South Africa’s aerobatic team, the Silver Falcons, for military excursions and for pilot training. Many of the foreign engineers remained and today Kempton Park is fairly cosmopolitan.
Kempton Park has a sophisticated arterial road network linking it to all major centres – primarily for access to Johannesburg’s international airport which is located here. The modern Gautrain (high speed train) operates from Kempton Park to Johannesburg, Sandton and Midrand.
With a large casino, international hotels and the airport, Kempton Park is a convenient destination for travellers to the Gauteng Province.
Top 6 reasons to visit Kempton Park
1. Try and beat the odds at Emperor’s Palace, a sprawling gaming and entertainment venue with onsite restaurants, late night theatre, cinema complex and Jupiter’s, a secure children’s entertainment area with chill room, snack bar, DVD theatre and PlayStation zone.
2. Several shopping facilities are located in Kempton Park, from small strip malls to large retail outlets. Recommended centres are the Kempton Gate Mall, Glenacres Shopping Centre and Woodbridge Square. Shop at the Festival Mall while the children ice skate at the rink alongside.
3. Go birding at the Bullfrog Pan in neighbouring Benoni where well over 100 bird species have been recorded. The paths are well signposted to prevent straying into ecologically sensitive areas. Look out for the giant bullfrog after heavy rains.
4. The Kempton Park Golf Club’s claim to fame is that multiple British Open and Masters champion Ernie Els learned to play the game on their 18-hole parklands course. Golfing is open to visitors on all days except Saturdays.
5. Treat yourself and your partner to body revival therapy at Octavia's Sensorium Day Spa at Emperor’s Palace. The spa has a mud chamber and heated pools to further please the soul.
6. Hire a luxury chauffeured drive from Astro Trip and explore Johannesburg’s nightlife in style. Enjoy pre-drinks at Cocoon Lounge in Sandton followed by partying at the VIP Room nearby.
The OR Tambo International Airport is situated in the south of Kempton Park and you are never more than 15km away. 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 the area. For quick access to and from Johannesburg, use the Gautrain that can be boarded from the airport.
Did you know?
The Kempton Park hospital was closed in 1997 and the abandoned site has attracted ghost hunters from all parts of the world. Several scenes of the hit movie A Million Colours were shot here. Much of the hospital equipment, records and furniture was left behind following the closure, the ideal setting for a ghostly presence!
There is some dispute as to whether Kempton Park was named after the ancient German town of Kempten – once occupied by Celts and later the Romans, or the Kempton Park racecourse in Middlesex, UK.
For a more down to earth experience there are guest houses. Less expensive than hotels, they offer a more homey environment, as well as more privacy. Converted from a private house it’s a much gentler environment and for those with furry friends, there are also pet friendly options. They are usually well situated with shops and places of interest nearby. Being so small it offers a much more personal and intimate attention to it’s upkeep, leaving you with a more polished and homely experience.