Bryanston is an affluent northern suburb of Johannesburg notable for its expensive properties, upmarket shopping and dining, and the high-tech corporate park called “The Campus” in its centre. Bryanston encompasses 21.2 km2 (8.2 sq mi) within the Johannesburg municipality, Gauteng Province, Region E, of South Africa. Its northwestern boundary is defined by the N1 Western Johannesburg Bypass freeway, while its southeastern boundaries are adjacent to Randburg, Sandton, Rivonia, and Morningside. Bryanston is a very wealthy 21st century community embracing the best of modernity and planned development.

History of Bryanston

In the early 1900’s, Bryanston was an enclave for European, largely British, landowners with connections to South Africa’s major commercial and financial enterprises. It was officially named Bryanston in 1949, one year after the Bryanston Country Club was founded. Thus, giving the area clout and establishing its identity. By 1969, Bryanston was incorporated as a suburb of Sandton, the most important financial and business district in South Africa, reflecting the interdependence between the financial district and its participants living in and around the area. Today, Bryanston comprises about 16,000 residents, most of whom are quite wealthy.

Layout and Attractions

Just as Bryanston of old was characterized by its eponymous Country Club, Bryanston today has been redefined by the establishment of forward-looking gathering grounds called “The Campus.” The campus is a corporate park for high tech companies including the likes of Dimension Data (DiData), GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft, and Synovate. The Campus is located in the center of the Bryanston area where Main Road intersects William Nicol Drive forming an “X” on the map. Main Road is an extension of Jan Smuts Avenue leading southwards into Parkhurst and Johannesburg centre, and leading northwards into Kyalami. William Nicol Drive extends to the southeast connecting the heart of Bryanston to the heart of Sandton, thus making Bryanston an integrated branch of the Financial District.

Not only does the Campus provide business space for high tech jobs, it also houses a Forum that provides cutting-edge, luxurious conference facilities that attract high profile global interests to meet here.

For example, the annual SA Innovation Summit is staged here. For five years running, venture capitalists and innovators have convened to discuss and implement modernization and intelligent development projects for the benefit of South Africa at large. Especially for Johannesburg in particular. Conferences and workshops held at the Campus Forum encourage collaboration between locals and a network of creative thinkers, innovators, and business leaders from around the world.

Bryanston’s other main attraction is the Bryanston Shopping Centre, where the rich and powerful can spend powerfully. This opulent mall contains fifty-five specialty shops that provide a buffet of luxury goods and services ranging from beauty spas and delicacy shops to high fashion clothing, jewelry, and accessory boutiques.

Another shopping landmark is the Bryanston Organic & Natural Market, regarded as one of Joburg’s best specialty foods and crafts venues for the past thirty years. They offer a variety of organically grown and certified fresh produce, deli meats, sauces, cheese, wine, breads, coffees, and spices including some exotic varieties of each. They also sell natural fibre clothing, crafts, and various unique handmade gifts and jewelry.

Despite its expensive tastes, Bryanston is not all fluff and dainty. PWC Cycle Park, located in Bryanston’s northern tip, is a world class mountain biking park certified by the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) and operated by Cult Cycling. A few kilometers further north, Kyalami and its motor speedway offer spectacular racing and muscle car extravaganzas for those locals who are interested in more than shopping and coffee-sipping.

Bryanston is also home to Joburg’s top rated venue for live music and entertainment, the Tanz Café, where the best of South Africa’s musicians, stand-up comedians, DJs and promoters have been showing off their talent since the late 1990’s. Joburgers can kick start any weekend at Tanz’s Rolling Stone Fridays where every act is well worth the price of admission.

Another popular annual attraction in Bryanston is the Johannesburg Garden Club Plant Sale, antique show, and vintage market. Professional nurseries offer their most gorgeous cultivars for sale while antique collectors auction high quality items in an event that attracts many patrons and donates a portion of its proceeds to charity. In 2012, the sale raised more than R330,000 for child welfare and the event grows more successful every year.

Climate and Lifestyle

Life in Bryanston is leisurely, if you can afford it. Home prices are at the top end of the scale for the northern suburbs. The climate of course is lovely, like it is for the northern suburbs in general. Pleasantly warm summer days with intermittent afternoon showers allow the greenery to remain lush while providing enough sunshine to fully enjoy it. Winter days are dry and sunny with occasional frosts at night.

Bryanston is an outstanding model for modern municipal living, and this area will continue to blossom and prosper. For those willing to make a large investment, this community is well worth the price of admission.