Panoramic shot Johannesburg
Johannesburg, The city of Gold. Heart of the struggle for freedom. The financial hub of South Africa… I could go on and on, but few would associate Johannesburg as the place for a stay-cation (at least, not willingly) and most travel professionals would encourage their overseas visitors to head straight to Cape Town or the bush, or pretty much anywhere else but Joburg…
Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff credit Four Seasons
Sure, we don’t have the Winelands of Cape Town or the beaches of Durban, but that doesn’t mean we should write this city off. Johannesburg has developed into a melting pot of cultures and diversity over the last 20 years, creating a much broader pool of things to do than Gold Reef City and a Soweto Tour! Not to sell Soweto diminutively, but that’s another blog…
It lays claim to being the World’s “Largest Urban Man-Made Forest” and while the phrase in itself can be argued, what can’t, is the abundance of trees that cover the city and surrounding suburbs. Taking advantage of these green spaces, are places like Acrobranch, where people looking for a bit of adrenalin without travelling far, can explore the “forest” from ladders, walkways, bridges and even ziplines!
For those wanting to enjoy the forest from a different vantage point, there is nothing quite like a Sunday breakfast or elegant high tea from View at Four Seasons Hotel, The Westcliff, overlooking the Johannesburg Zoo and the leafy suburbs of Parkview and Saxonwold.
Downtown Johannesburg credit: Ty Photographic
Much of Johannesburg’s entertainment is built around eating, drinking and shopping, and the continued development and popularity of the Maboneng Precinct is a reflection of this. From Samba Sundays at the Canteen to 1 Fox Market Shed for live music, arts and craft shopping with lunch at one of the many food outlets. Wander the street stalls, boutiques and markets in the area, and if you’re still lingering after dark, take in an independent movie at The Bio scope!
If you want to explore the inner city from a different perspective, grab your camera and head for Braamfontein. You can explore on your own, or really step out and join a tour of the graffiti in the area, the experienced guides (often graffiti artists themselves,) give you a totally new perspective on this often misunderstood art form. End the tour with a visit to the Neighbourgoods Market, washed down with a cold beer!
And if beer is your crutch, then a must stop is the SAB World of Beer. Their, 75-minute tour will introduce you to all things beer, ending with a pint in the Tap Room overlooking the city.
But perhaps you prefer a glass of bubbly or a delicious cocktail after a day of exploring, while you watch the magnificent sunset for which Johannesburg is known? Then the recommendation would be The San Bar at the Sandton Sun or the Pool Deck Island Bar at Tsogo Sun Hyde Park. With views towards the west, there are few better spots to watch the sunset on the City of Gold.San Deck at sunset : credit Tsogo Sun
Sunset doesn’t slow down this fast paced city though, after dark, there is always something to do! This city is a literal “gold mine” of things to do – theaters, movies, live music, night markets, clubs the list goes on and on! And naturally, food abounds! I don’t think there is a type of food you can’t find here – steakhouses, burger joints, Mexican, Indian, Thai, Italian, Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, Greek, seafood, something for every taste bud. Almost as many options as you would find different ethnicities exist in this cultural hotspot, that is, the unofficial financial capital of the country!
Want something more? How about dinner with a show? Barnyard Theaters are abundant, and for the more “adult” meal, Beefcakes and the new burlesque will certainly build an appetite…
So don’t let the sun go down on this hot and happening city! Unpack your bags, grab your camera, and experience something a little closer to home, gin and tonic in hand, of course!