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Upmarket Killarney proudly wears the crown of having been the site of the first shopping centre in Johannesburg, in a time when local butchers still wrapped customer’s meat orders in brown paper and string. The suburb has beautiful examples of art deco 1930s-style buildings now occupied mostly by cosmopolitan, young and successful urban dwellers.
Apart from the large shopping mall, the residential high rise apartments and gated communities are interspersed with large commercial enterprises and a prestigious country club.
The national highway runs directly through Killarney and the suburb is bordered to the south by The Wilds, a 16ha nature reserve containing indigenous plants growing up against a koppie (small hill).
Top 6 reasons to visit Killarney
1. Visit the Killarney Mall, once a film studio, for a good selection of exceptional clothing, electronic and large retail stores. The mall has several restaurants in the food court.
2. Walk to the summit of The Wilds, passing waterfalls, fountains and unusual plants to reach the sundial and stunning Manhattan-style views over the city.
3. Guests are welcome to enjoy a round of golf on the 18-hole park style course at Killarney Country Club. The fairways are narrow but the greens are large, giving the golfer an opportunity to score well.
4. Stroll through the Gallery MOMO art gallery in Parktown North to view the contemporary artwork on display from renowned and budding local artists.
5. Spend a day at the Johannesburg Zoo first established in 1902. The zoo has international accreditation, the animal enclosures spacious and designed for excellent viewing. Over 300 species of animal are found here and the zoo organisers regularly host fun events for the family.
6. Travel into Johannesburg CBD to the Newtown Precinct for an arts and culture experience. Learn more about Kwaito, a uniquely South African form of music that incorporates dance.
Killarney is 25 minutes from OR Tambo International Airport. National flights arrive and depart from Lanseria Airport, a 40 minute drive north of Killarney. The Gautrain (express rail service) operates between the airport and Melrose, 3km from Killarney. Several car rental companies operate at the airport and in the main centres, however, a rental can be booked online. There are a number of metered taxis and shuttle service companies operating in nearby Rosebank or you could register with Uber and order a ride via your mobile phone.
Did you know?
Isidore Schlesinger was a New York developer who opened a movie production studio in Killarney (the first in South Africa) in the 1930s that spawned an empire. He was married to star actress Mabel May.
Every South African knows Chappies bubble gum, an alternate to small change offered by corner café owners in days gone by. The gum creator lived in Killarney.