The Westcliff Stairs

The legendary Westcliff stairs known as the Stairway to Heaven are no joke. Standing at the foot on what was probably the coldest day of our Joburg winter I could feel the sweat dripping from my brow as I watched various people training up and down the 210 stairs.
The stairs where constructed in 1922 by unemployed miners using rock from the surrounding area. Famous Comrades marathon runner Bruce Fordyce would train here with the border collie dog.
When I had finished admiring their beauty I turned around to leave and thats when I bumped into 67 year old Sam, he climbs the stairs twice a day and has been doing it for the last 17 years because he lives at the top. After our chat he set off with a big smile on his face to start his casual assent of the stairs.
I sheepishly walked off quietly vowing to walk the stairs next time I returned.
Found on Wexford Avenue in the affluent suburb of Westcliff , these stairs are popular with joggers and dog walkers. In Spring time the surrounding neighbour is breath taking with the jacarandas in bloom. The best way to enter is at the corner of Westcliff and Kildare.

Sam walks the stairs every day

The Scottish Horse war Memorial

One of Johannesburg’s oldest war memorials it can be found on Caledonia Hill which is one of the koppies along Kensington Ridge. Erected in 1905 in the shape of an Iona Cross with a superimposed sword, the memorial proudly bears the Scottish shield of lion rampant and royal treasure.
The panels named the men who where killed in action and died of wounds in the South African Boer War between 1901 and 1902.
Climbing the stone steps up the hill rewards you with not only being able to stand and admire this memorial to the mounted infantry regiment , the Scottish Horse but also gives beautiful views of the valley below which is Bez Valley and Kensington and the city centre of Johannesburg in the distance. Not a climb that will put you out of breath, with probably 40 – 50 stairs but more of a historical appreciation and view of the city.

Mandela 100 Centenary Stairs

2018 marked the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. With this in mind it gave South Africans the opportunity to reflect on his life and times and to promote his legacy. Born in the village of Mvezo Nelson Mandela went on to become one of the most influential political figures the world has ever seen.
Fondly known as “ Tata Madiba “ he would have been 100 years old on the 18 July. To celebrate this momentous occasion Eastgate Shopping centre adorned their staircase with an image of Nelson Mandel leading up the large flight of stairs. Not a historic staircase in terms of years but a staircase with a strong message as thousands of feet pass over it each week reminding them of the change that took place in our country for all South Africans.

Ponte City Apartments

Built in 1975 and known as the tallest residential building with 467 flats and 54 floors you can only imagine how many stairs there are in the building. Known to have 900 plus stairs would I dare say this must be the building with the most stairs in Johannesburg ? The Ponte challenge is held here and you are encouraged to beat the current record time of 07m07s running the 900 plus stairs. This is a challenge for anyone planning to run the Comrades or to do the Ironmade or even just compete with themselves. Imagine running from the core of this building and ending up in the clouds with views as far as UNISA on a clear day.
Ponte was designed by architect Rodney Grosskopff who was 29 years old at the time, he went on to design the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, Randburg Waterfront and Sandton’s Emperor Apartments. In 1998 there were plans to turn Ponte into a prison , with all the illegal activity going on and only one entrance, arriving at night and locking the building down with the criminals inside was an ideal thought, however this never materialised. Now a well managed building with full occupancy its recommended to go once again and see one of Joburgs iconic landmarks and if you are brave enough attempt the 900 stairs.

Core of Ponte
Stairs from the Core
Top of the 54th floor

The Wedding Collective

A modern bohemian wedding dress boutique for a bride that is in a league of her her own. The free spirited experience starts on the stairs, so yes they are not historic but the 15 or so stairs are eye catching with their free hand style writing leading up to a haven of endless fun where a brides dreams are made a reality in a relaxed , non- traditional , modern space. The vintage inspired styles support local designers and provide endless possibilities to make that big day really special.
The worn look on the stairs adds to the creative look of The Duncan Yard with the stone walls and cobbled walk ways and castle turrets. The alfresco centre provides a relaxed experienced and is reminiscent of a rustic Italian village. These are not exhausting stairs but rather stairs that will open an entire new chapter a women life.