A picnic out in the fresh air and sunshine is the ultimate summertime activity. It’s also versatile in that it can be turned into anything from a family bonding activity to a romantic date for loved up couples.

As we adapt to scorching temperatures in South Africa, there is no better time to take advantage and roll out that picnic blanket with gusto. Below is a round-up of the best picnic spots in Gauteng.

Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Roodepoort

If there is such a thing as the number one picnic spot in Gauteng, Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens is it. The luscious green grass and bright, beautiful flowers set the scene for a memorable afternoon spent with loved ones. Just remember to bring a black bag for your trash as there are no rubbish bins in the area (they encourage their visitors to leave nothing behind but their footprints as part of their eco-friendly initiative).

The gardens are open every day from 6am – 5pm. You can picnic for free, but will need to pay an entrance fee which is currently R65 per adult. School kids pay R15 and children under the age of six get in for free.

Budmarsh Country Lodge in Magaliesberg

This one is a must if you’re keen to get away from city life and savour a more tranquil, mountainous landscape in South Africa. It’s about an hour and a half out of Joburg and offers prepared picnics (packed by the lodge’s resident Executive Chef) if you want to save yourself the hassle of preparing one yourself. You’ll find a wide variety of delicious nibbles in the basket, including scrumptious, bite-sized sliders, spring rolls, and cold meats. No drinks included. You can expect to pay around R550 for two people.

Ethel and James Grey Park in Johannesburg

Listen to the calming trickle of the Sandspruit River without a need to worry about safety as you tuck in to your snacks. The park is constantly patrolled by a private security company and boasts some of the most beautiful natural scenery that the City of Gold has to offer. Better yet, it is completely free of charge and you can even bring your dogs along for the day.

Stonehaven at The Vaal

Less than an hour outside of Johannesburg, the Vaal is a popular destination choice for many tourists and locals who are keen for a weekend away. Make the most of your time there by enjoying a prepared picnic on the river banks at sunset. You will witness some of the most spectacular views over the glistening waters while you munch on a selection of taste bud tantalising treats. Your picnic basket will be packed to the brim with BBQ crumbed chicken, cheeses, chipolatas, cold meats and an array of sinfully sweet desserts.

The cost is R216.70 per person and you can plan to spend the evening there. It is open until late on both Fridays and Saturdays.

The Modderfontein Nature Reserve in Modderfontein

This amazing hideaway in the East of Johannesburg is ideal for hikers, cyclists and anyone in the mood for a good, old fashioned picnic. There are a few lovely designated picnic spots in the reserve which are sheltered by large Bluegum trees, and most of which overlook Fish Eagle Dam. The reserve is one of the East’s best kept secrets, so you can be almost certain that it won’t be over-crowded no matter when you choose to go. The entrance fee is R30 for adults and R15 for kids.

Lethabo Estate in Lanseria

This stunning estate boasts ‘river boudoirs’ which are essentially little reserved picnic spots right next to the river that are sheltered by thatch gazebos for extra privacy. It is the perfect place to go if you have a secluded, romantic picnic for two in mind. The estate offers a choice between a gourmet romantic picnic, a luxury romantic picnic and a boudoir romantic picnic and it caters for a variety of different diets including meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, as well as gluten intolerant and Halaal guests.

Whether you are a local or you have recently booked your cheap flight tickets to Johannesburg from abroad, be sure get out there and celebrate the warm weather and endless natural beauty that South Africa is so famous for. Picnicking will always be a welcomed tradition and a highly-anticipated way in which to spend your weekends or your holidays when in the Gauteng area. Enjoy!