WORDS: EMILY SHAW IMAGES: TER HOLLMANN & GOOGLE MAPS
“Peaceful” is the word Bradley Davies uses to describe his neighbourhood, as well as “quiet and neat”. Bradley spent some of his school career in the area and cites his parents’ reasons for settling here as being both the great school options and the public amenities.
A ﬁrm favourite of families, Florida offers mainly large standalone houses with gardens in 70s/80s architectural style. Many parents whose children have ﬂ own the nest opt to stay put too, adding to the established feeling of the area.
As modern development continues, however, there are more options for young singles and professional couples. Davies lives in a sectional title, two-storey apartment where he enjoys the security of an estate with convenient facilities and spacious communal grounds. Even without these amenities or a garden of your own, Florida has been constructed in a way that allows for public enjoyment in a variety of open spaces, within easy access from most homes. Schools Florida Park High School – you’re affectionately termed a “Parkie” should you attend – has been rated one of Gauteng’s most popular public schools and is perfectly situated for easy pick-ups and drop-offs – as is Florida Primary School.
If private schools appeal to you more, this suburb is full of options. Victory House has an excellent academic record in the independent schools category, St Catherine’s offers private, Catholic tutelage for girls all the way through their education, and Brandcliff House focusses on the individual student and their own personal growth.
Florida and its surrounds also provides plenty of extracurricular activities for children of all ages. The Dance Studio teaches all disciplines from ballet to hip-hop, Latin to Sokkie and all ages are welcome.
Goju Ryu is a traditional karate dojo for both ﬁtness and formal karate training and those interested in horseriding can join Harveston Stables close by.
Night or day, there’s plenty to do in Florida in your downtime. Weekends with kids can be spent at beautiful Florida Lake. Buy a bird book and spend the morning spotting all kinds of species in the water and bird sanctuary, followed by a home-made picnic on the grass. If tiring the tykes out is your plan, there’s a putt-putt course as well as an adventure park to keep them busy.
When days are rainy and if you have a little cabin fever, you can visit the Roodepoort Museum. Here you can while away the hours among Irma Stern paintings, books and Bibles from 1699 and porcelain artefacts from all over the world. Most interesting – especially for older kids – is the fully recreated Voortrekker rooms which display life as it was 100 years ago.
A great escape from city life is a day spent at Kloofendal Nature Reserve. Hailed as being the site of one of Joburg’s ﬁrst gold mines, the reserve is now home to beautiful walking trails and a variety of wildlife like duiker, jackal and reedbuck. Pack your own refreshments or bring a cooler box and use the facilities for the perfect Sunday lunch braai.
Clearwater Mall is reviewed online to be a favourite shopping destination, boasting great restaurants, a wide selection of shops and childcare for parents needing a little downtime. Get your car washed while you enjoy a treat from Cinnabon, the kids take part in exciting action-packed events like go-kart racing and you head for a quiet coffee and browse in Exclusive Books.
For those seeking a laid-back family environment with enough distractions to keep both kids and folks entertained and close enough to reconnect with nature, Florida really is just the ticket.
“Many of the businesses in Florida have been there for years and their owners live in the suburb, which means they have a deeper, more intimate and understanding relationship with their clients” BRADLEY DAVIES, RESIDENT
- The Founders Grill: try the home-made pies
- Les Delices de France: authentic French cuisine, garden fresh and served on a sunny patio
- Pizzeria Locale: for your Friday night cheat-day indulgence
- Trezona Park: the mini steam trains are a must!
- Florida Lake: enjoy swimming, walking, playing and birdwatching in this city lung
- Roodepoort Theatre: fabulous performing arts shows for the whole family
- Florida Junction: pick up the groceries at Spar after a quick visit to Sorbet
- Lifestyle Home Garden: spend a leisurely morning amid the blooms
- Life Flora Hospital: conveniently situated hospital for all medical needs