Bird shots near the lake
Roodepoort has some of Johannesburg’s prettiest scenery, with its typically green Jo’burg neighbourhoods on one side and a scenic backdrop of the Magaliesberg Mountains on the other. You wouldn’t think that you were in the gold-mining capital of South Africa or anywhere close to the concrete jungle of Egoli, but Roodepoort has come a long way in its legacy as a very attractive place to stay, with some of the most relaxing destinations and hotels in Johannesburg for out-of-town visitors.
The oasis of Florida Lake
One of the natural attractions of the Roodepoort and Krugersdorp neighbourhoods is Florida Lake. It provides a lovely green area for bird life and other small animals to nestle and use as their home, while also giving local residents a spot for relaxation and to appreciate nature. The bird sanctuary provides ample opportunity for bird watchers to spot numerous local winged residents, and to keep an eye on their abundant activity around the lake.
Aside from this naturally green, dammed area, there are plenty of family facilities available – a large swimming pool, a putt-putt course, and a park for kids. During school holidays as well as public holidays, local residents really appreciate all that the lake has to offer, so the area is buzzing with activity. The large lake is flanked by big trees providing lots of shade, and making for a cool spot for keen sailors and rowers to launch their watercrafts and kayaks.
How Florida Lake came into being
The area that’s currently known as Roodepoort, all the way down to Langlaagte and Crown Mine were some of the first tracts of land that were prospected for gold. These areas were named after the original farms where the gold reefs were discovered around 1886. Towards the end of 1886, Paardekraal, Vogelstruisfontein and Roodepoort were stated to be public digging areas, to which many people flocked to stake their claim in the riches. Many gold diggers arrived, so mining camps were established on the farms where they were digging.
In 1896, Florida was established as a town by the Bantjes General Mine Company, but before then, the area of Roodepoort expanded rapidly as more and more people came to claim the gold. Because of the rapid influx of thirsty people, water became a very scarce resource, and in 1909 a dam wall was erected to dam up the “spruit” that ran through Vogelstruisfontein. What is today known as Florida Lake, was born.
Florida Lake was – from early on – promoted as a leisure resort, where the public can still come and enjoy the activities surrounding the water, as well as the opportunities for birding and relaxation.