Not all memories stand the test of time, but a visit to Kyalami will leave you with a feeling of nostalgia, as you remember the beauty of the Lipizzaner horses, the quiet tranquillity of the Kyalami Country club and the tearing zoom of a Grand Prix kart as it swerves its way around the track. Kyalami a word meaning ‘my home’ in Zulu, promises an unforgettable experience for young and old, ensuring all visitors enjoy her adventurous hospitality and wide open spaces, and leave with glorious stories to tell…
The Fast and the Furious
Kyalami is synonymous with the world of Grand Prix motorsport, since its founding year of 1961. Situated north of Johannesburg, the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit remains the most famous strip of tar on the African continent and from 1967 to 1985, hosted the South African Grand Prix, as well as other international events such as the legendary 9-hour race. The circuit was remodelled in 1987 and again in 1992, when it hosted two further rounds of the World Championships in 1992 and 1993. World Superbikes visited Kyalami between 1998 and 2002 with the inaugural round of the GP Masters held at the circuit in 2005. Kyalami continues to host national motorsport events with exciting international events planned for 2009 – and in 2011, will celebrate its 50th birthday. Also located in the Kyalami racing circuit is the Kyalami Kart Circuit, just waiting to give you the driving experience of a lifetime, from R200 for 12 laps. Step into Schumacher’s shoes as you whiz around a track run by motor-sporting enthusiasts, the Piazza-Musso and Wentzel brothers.
A stroll on the Greens
In 1954, a fraternity of Jewish golfers decided to open their own country club to cater for the needs of the Jewish community in Johannesburg. After finding the perfect spot, they started laying out the plans for their dream course and in 1955; the Kyalami Country Club was officially open for business. Today, with 1300 members, the course caters for all levels of golfing skill and boasts its own Pro Shop. At R375 for non-members, the green meandering fairways, challenging hazards and conversation with a worthy opponent, make for a perfect day spent in the sunshine. Celebrate your win with sundowners at the clubhouse.
Get on your High Horse
Kyalami is also home to South Africa’s foremost equestrian venue, the Kyalami Equestrian Park, which extends over 21 hectares of land. The park is host to major events on the equestrian calendar, including the South African Derby. Performing every Sunday at the park are the South African Lipizzaners at 10:30am at the price of R80 per ticket. Brought to South Africa in 1944 by Count Jankovich-Bessan, the Lipizzaners are descendants of horses that were reared in the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna, 430 years ago. Witness these majestic beauties as they gracefully showcase a classical dressage performance with accompanying music – a magnificent outing not to be missed.
Eat your Heart out
Whether it’s traditional Indian, Italian or even a tender T-bone steak your tastebuds crave, Kyalami has it all and more. The Raj Indian Restaurant promises a spicy north and south Indian food adventure cooked up by authentic chefs and caters for vegetarians and carnivores alike. Try their freshly baked naan breads from their traditional clay oven, as well as their aromatic tikka masala, khorma and vindaloo dishes. If you’re a lover of all things Italian, then Casa di Paglia, owned by Vincenzo Incendiario is the place for you. Serving Italian cuisine for the last 25 years, the food is meticulously prepared by Vincenzo and his team, treating guests to original recipes of fish, meat, chicken, pasta and pizza. For a more exotic dining experience, Blueberry Grill serves speciality sushi dishes, scrumptious grills, seafood and salads, accompanied by a range of cocktails to ease you into the wee hours of the night. For the most succulent prawns in Kyalami, turn into Jimmy’s Killer Prawns and taste a variety of seafood, harvested off the coast of Africa. In the mood for something light and healthy? Try Kyalami’s Foxglove Herbs and Delicacies, serving only the best in organic and natural foods, where guests can shop or relax in the adjoining coffee shop.
Kyalami is host to an array of interesting shopping nooks – but first, drop the kids off at Earth Kids Play Patch, a supervised kids play-park and playground, so that you can browse Kyalami’s two shopping centres at your leisure. Stroll around the Crowthorne Centre or the Kyalami Downs Shopping Centre, where you can shop until you drop, perusing clothing, jewellery, adventure, toy and hobby shops.
- The Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit: 011-466-2800
- Kyalami Kart Circuit: 011-466-3678/9
- Kyalami Country Club: 011-702-1610
- Kyalami Equestrian Park: 011-702-1657/8/9
- South African Lipizzaners: 011-468-2718
- The Raj: 011-468-1861
- Casa di Paglia: 011-466-2618/42
- Blue Berry Grill: 011-466-2664
- Jimmy’s Killer Prawns: 011-466-9502
- Foxglove Herbs and Delicacies: 011-466-9977
- Earth Kids Play Patch: 083-233-7806
Author: Charlene Yared-West. Published in Go Gauteng Magazine, July 2008, p.6.