A vibrant social and family vibe. A whopping 14 sporting codes. And a fabulous facelift to enhance its clubhouse. The Wanderers Club really could be Joburg’s best kept secret!
An undiscovered gem
If you picture The Wanderers Club in Illovo as a spot you need to dress up in your Sunday best to visit – think again. This may have been the case in the far-distant past – the club’s been around since the late 1880s – but nowadays it has a buzzing sporty and social atmosphere, and a really lovely family vibe. To complement this, Chariots restaurant and bar along with some members’ areas have been revamped … making the club even more inviting for members to socialise after playing sport or to catch the big game.
There’s even more appeal for families too, with soon-to-be-ready play areas for younger and older children. It’s also a safe spot – with great Wi-Fi – for businesspeople looking to escape the work-from-home cabin fever. You can organise meetings at the club – there are several function rooms – and when you need a break from your laptop, stroll around the huge – and really beautifully kept – grounds. You’ll find the club’s a green lung in busy Joburg. And we haven’t even touched on the 14 sports yet. This club has it all … and it feels like a home away from home.
Gold Rush and world wars … the club’s seen it all
The Wanderers Club was born during the Gold Rush. It’s lived through two world wars. And it survived a clubhouse kitchen fire in 2004. The club’s CEO Maria van den Bosch says, ‘The Wanderers Club started in 1888 and its history is intertwined with that of Johannesburg when gold was discovered.’ Back in 1886, a group of men who’d ‘wandered’ from other mining towns to the Witwatersrand formed the first Wanderers Rugby Club. Then came the Wanderers Cricket Club, before The Wanderers Club was formed … and it’s served as a sports and recreation haven for Joburgers throughout the years. Its first home was where Johannesburg Park Station in Braamfontein now stands. Some years later, it moved to its current grounds in the heart of Illovo. Given the club’s long-standing history, Maria says some may have a misconception that it’s ‘a vestige of colonialism’, but she assures this is simply not the case. ‘As far back as 1979, the club’s members unanimously voted to allow people of all races to join the club and this became a reality in 1982 when the previously restrictive liquor laws were amended. It is a vibrant sports club that welcomes people of all ages, gender and ethnicity, where one can enjoy sport as well as forge new friendships.’
Chariots given a revamp
If Chariots was the place to socialise before its facelift, you should see it now! Long-time club members are raving about it … and there are so many reasons why!
With a lick of lush green paint on the walls, tones of red, brown leather and wooden finishes as well as large tables fit for sociable family-style meals, Chariots is just the place to enjoy a meal and catch-up as a family or with friends. For the sports fanatics, there are plasma screens and a big-screen projector – so it’s the perfect spot to catch the big game as well as live music on Friday nights.
There’s a breezy outdoor seating area too, known as the Pizza Deck – a lovely spot on a warm day. And then there’s The Terrace – which is also newly refurbished. It’s bright. It’s modern. And it’s wonderfully eclectic … think wooden flooring, hanging plants, mismatched furniture, colourful pieces, modern artwork and antiques. The large glass sliding doors open onto an outdoor patio balcony where you can kick back and catch some of the action on the bowling green with views of Joburg as far as the eye can see. It’s really quite magical.
It’s not only the decor that’s had a facelift … there’s a fresh new menu too with a range of mouth-watering treats ranging from snacks and light lunches to decadent dishes for even the hungriest of sportspeople! And they’re not so hefty on your pocket!
Kick-start your weekend with an omelette or English breakfast from the Breakfast of Champions section, or tuck into tasty burgers, fire-grilled flavoursome steaks, pasta dishes, salads, supercharged sandwiches – how does bacon, brie, cranberry and avo sound? – and much more. A lot of care goes into plating the dishes … they’re oh-so-Instagrammy!
You’ve just got to try…
There are many droolworthy dishes on the menu, but if there’s one meal you just have to try, it’s the pizzas. Honestly, they’re some of the best Joburg offers! There’s a whole range to choose from too, from all your favourite classics to toppings like Durban-spiced curry and smoked salmon deluxe. Not in the mood for pizza? Operations manager, Neil McIntosh says his current favourite on the new menu is the cordon bleu classic. Well worth a try!
Here’s how you can become a member
With a family-friendly and rather fabulous facelift, a huge array of sports for all ages and some exquisite and versatile function and conference rooms, surely all Joburgers want to explore how they and their families can become life-long members of The Wanderers Club. Here’s how to do just that:
Take a tour…
Call the club and ask to speak to operations manager, Neil McIntosh who’ll arrange a tour for you to visit the facilities and find out even more benefits of becoming a member.
Find a package that suits you and your family…
The annual 2021 membership rates are… Zero to 17 years is R780, 18 to 25 is R1500, 26 to 35 is R2300, 36 to 55 is R3200, 56 and older is R1950. To be a social member is R1700, family member (including spouse or children) is R4640 and corporate member is R3030 – starting with a minimum of 10 members. Some sports sections also charge a levy.
Corporate membership: Avoid home-office cabin fever
Give your staff a chance to enjoy an outdoor activity with corporate membership … it’s also a great way to avoid home-office cabin fever. The club is a safe spot with Wi-Fi for you and your colleagues to work and clear your heads.
Even more perks…
If you can believe it, there are even more perks than what we’ve detailed here. Think, parking at the club for cricket events and free venue hire for personal events in the members’ areas, including 10 per cent discount on food and drinks if paid by a preloaded Wanderers Smartcard. You’ll find even more benefits listed on the club’s website.
And that’s not all… Next week, we’ll be sharing more info on the fabulous 14 sporting codes and all the conferencing and banqueting facilities at the club.
Get in touch with The Wanderers Club by calling 010-541-1250 or 011-788-5010 /11/12. Visit thewanderersclub.co.za or email [email protected] and visit the club at 21 North Street in Illovo.
Follow the club on social media: @TheWanderersClub on Facebook, @the.wanderersclub on Instagram and @WanderersClub on Twitter.