A Short History of an Interesting Park
he Zoo Lake Park has been a city gem since it was gifted to the City of Johannesburg by Hermann Eckstein in 1904.The land which includes both Zoo Lake and the Johannesburg Zoo was ceded by means of a Deed of Gift:"...in trust for the inhabitants of Johannesburg...to be used for the purpose of a public park". It is a place where all can come and relax in a green oasis of some 46,6 hectares. Although close geographically, it is emotionally distant from the City's vibrant hurly burly, and is available to all who wish to relax, unwind and enjoy nature's quiet bounty of calming greenery, lush lawns and trees.
During the Apartheid years the government was unable to restrict access to this park by all races by virtue of the wording contained within the Deed of Gift. During this time all the citizens of Johannesburg were able to enjoy the park. Its history of resistance is celebrated to this day. With the recent economic hardship that has befallen South Africa, the City has been unable to allocate any resources to the Park, its role being limited to simply mowing the lawns and clearing the rubbish. As a result of neglect and overuse, the Park has slowly decayed and its future is under threat.
Residents, many of whom lived and were brought up in close proximity to the Park and who have a great love for the Park, and other concerned citizens of Johannesburg have taken on the responsibility for the restoration and development of the Park. Their aim is to work towards its rehabilitation, development and ultimately being recognised as a World Class city park.