Affectionately known by its residents as the City of Lakes because of its four lakes, Benoni, east of Johannesburg, forms part of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality along with Alberton, Boksburg, Brakpan, Edenvale, Germiston, Kempton Park, Nigel, and Springs.
Benoni originally developed from a gold-mining camp. It was named in 1881 by the surveyor-general Johann Rissik, who was struggling to assign title deeds to unclaimed state property. Called Benoni, after the son of Rachel (Gen. 35:18), which in Hebrew means ‘son of my sorrows’. Actor Charlize Theron (born 1975) spent her childhood growing up in Benoni.
As with many of Gauteng’s small towns, Benoni owes its existence to the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand reef in the 1880s. Formerly farmland, it quickly became an important gold mining district and was officially declared the Township of Benoni in 1906, named after Rachel and Jacob’s son Benoni in the Book of Genesis.
Although Benoni doesn’t have the number of notable Art Deco buildings of its sister city, Springs, there is one fine example – the City Hall built in 1937.
Benoni’s first inhabitants were mainly British and Jewish settlers but today it has a fascinatingly diverse population. Mining has decreased in importance over the years so the town’s economy today is based on industry as well as being the service hub for neighbouring Boksburg, Brakpan and Springs.
Benoni is known for its fine schools – both private and government – and is reputed to have more horse stables than anywhere else in Africa. It’s also the former home of Oliver Tambo, one of South Africa’s great Struggle heroes, Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, the famous South African rugby player Bryan Habana, Princess Charlene, consort of Prince Albert ll of Monaco, and First Lady of Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe among other notable residents.
Enjoy a unique shopping experience at the Lakeside Mall, a replica of a Mississippi steamboat, or stay on land at the family-run Northmead Square, known locally as just The Square. The Bunny Park, a magnet for children and one of Johannesburg’s oldest attractions, is nearby with hundreds of rabbits and other small animals.
Play a round of golf at the Benoni Lake Golf Club or if you need more action, have a go at one of the latest adrenalin sports and try dune boarding on a former gold mine dump, Mount Mayhem.
The Victorian Secret
Physical Address 140 Woburn Street (corner Russel Street), Western Extension, Benoni, Ekurhuleni
Phone Number +27 (0)11 420 1912
This lovely patisserie and cafe in Benoni, Ekurhuleni, is perfect for high teas, light meals and functions. The Victorian Secret occupies a building once known as Tait House, part of an important group of heritage buildings to the west of the Benoni CBD.
One of the finest examples of Victorian Architecture in eastern Gauteng, it was built in 1911 for the entrepreneur WM Tait and was designed by one of the leading architects of the day, Robert Macbeth Robertson. The property had been slated for demolition when in 2009 a local businessman began a campaign to rescue and restore the building, and by 2013 Tait House had successfully been saved and the Victorian Secret cafe launched.
In recognition of the building’s unique heritage, the Victorian Secret pays homage to the past with a cosy decor complemented by historical photos and antique furniture, and a popular tea garden.
The cafe is famed for its extravagant cakes, and the excellent range of sweet treats and pastries is best enjoyed as part of a traditional Victorian high tea. Enjoy tea served from antique silver teapots and towers of dainty cakes served on typical Victorian tea stands. The Victorian Secret is also a popular venue for functions and its signature cakes and pastries can also be ordered for celebrations at home.
Benoni Country Club
The Benoni Country Club was founded in 1906 as a nine-hole golf course for employees of the Van Ryn Mine following the discovery of gold on the East Rand. It was expanded into an 18-hole course three years later and has, over the years, become a favourite with golfers of all levels and is regularly ranked in the top 100 golf courses in South Africa.
One of the leading country clubs on the East Rand, Benoni Country Club offers not only golf, but also tennis, squash and bowls. Located in a quiet, leafy suburb of Benoni, the course is set on large, scenic grounds in which springbok, blesbok, duiker and steenbok can be seen grazing. The Benoni Country Club is one of the busiest sporting venues in east Gauteng and is almost always fully booked with numerous events on the weekends. The club is also a popular function venue with the splendid grounds and function rooms an ideal place for weddings, parties, conferences and sporting events.
The Benoni Country Club golf course is one of the most difficult in Gauteng – the large gum trees lining the fairways make for tricky tee shots. The course also has bunkers on every hole, five dams and includes five par-five holes, each of them over 500m long.
However, the sight of the wild animals grazing near the fairway is sure to compensate for whatever golfing challenges the course may throw at you. In fact, many golfers book a round at Benoni Country Club more for its game viewing than for the golf game itself!
Contact Benoni Country Club
Morris Avenue, Morehill, Benoni, GautengEmail
+27 (0)11 849 5211/2
Benoni Art Route
Physical Address In and around Benoni, Gauteng
Phone Number +27 (0)84 581 6340
An initiative of fourteen different artists who are based in the Benoni area, visitors can download the Benoni Art Route map from the official website and plot a route through the area visiting local galleries and cafes where the artists are displaying their works as well as artist studios and workshops.
Benoni is a historic mining area located 35km from central Johannesburg and 60km from Pretoria. On the last Sunday of the month between 10:00 and 15:00 the artists who take part in the Benoni Art Route open their studios to the public allowing visitors an opportunity to see the creative process in action and exhibitions are held in local galleries and cafes. Private viewing can also be arranged with the Benoni Art Route organisers.
Various forms of art such as sculpture, oil painting, poetry, photography, stained glass and watercolours can be enjoyed along the route and all artworks are for sale. Partners include Cafe Bellini, Art Alive art school and Lea Kirsten art gallery and the artists whose work you can see include painter Paul Botes, ceramist Nadine Da Silva, painter Susan Smit and knife maker Marius Marx among many others.
Key Statistics 2011
|Working Age (15-64)||72,1%|
|Population density||904 persons/km2|
|No schooling aged 20+||3%|
|Higher education aged 20+||23,9%|
|Matric aged 20+||38,8%|
|Number of households||48,673|
|Average household size||2,9|
|Housing owned/paying off||52,5%|
|Flush toilet connected to sewerage||81,9%|
|Weekly refuse removal||86,5%|
|Piped water inside dwelling||79,7%|
|Electricity for lighting||79,5%|