Under levels four and five of the national lockdown, the use of the city's parks was prohibited. For many local residents, the lifting of restrictions on the use of parks has come as blessing.
Being restricted to one's home for hours on end can easily render a feeling of cabin fever. Whether one is confined to an apartment, living in a complex or even living in a house with a garden, visits to the city's parks have become a popular activity for many residents who yearn to get out for a while.
CONNECTING WITH NATURE DURING LOCKDOWN
Johannesburg has a sprinkling of parks throughout the city. Several of these parks are sizable, and offer visitors a close-to-nature experience. In many countries the same would only be possible when visiting unspoiled areas far away from the city.
Being able to spend time outdoors provides a sensory experience which does wonders for the mind and the soul. One can feel the warmth of the winter sun on your skin, while taking in the distinct scent of the dry winter grass. Hearing the calls of birds flying overhead, and appreciating the stillness of the Highveld landscapes ensures that one can connect with the natural elements.
NATURE ON OUR DOORSTEP
A trip to Mpumalanga or a visit to the Natal Midlands is not on the cards at this point in time. Under current restrictions, visits to other provinces are prohibited. However, this does not mean that one is deprived of experiencing nature.
Several of Johannesburg's parks and green-belts are within the city's suburban areas. Delta Park, Lonehill Park and Albert's Farm are popular Johannesburg parks which are frequented by an increasing number of residents.
A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Under lockdown restrictions, there are fewer entertainment options available since events, social gatherings and public entertainment is restricted. However, residents are permitted to visit the city's parks whilst adhering to social distancing.
People can be seen walking along dusty paths, or stopping to admire the views around them. Cyclists ride on the footpaths, or off the beaten tracks. Dog-owners and their four-legged friends seem to enjoy time away from home. Small groups of youngsters often play informal games. There is a sense of community when passing residents exchange greetings or chat informally about the weather or anything else they wish to share.
If the four walls feel like they are crashing in on you, or you need a change of scenery, head out to one of the city's parks but remember to observe social distancing, and to bring your personal protective equipment with you.
This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.
If you are a freelancer looking to contribute to The South African, read more here.