One of the most enjoyable parts about being an expat is having friends and family come over to visit. While living in South Africa might have its frustrations and challenges at times, visitors to South Africa are never disappointed.
While many tourists might head straight to Cape Town or the bush and completely bypass Joburg, having friends come to stay in the city is a wonderful opportunity to show them an African city that is becoming more and more popular with visitors every year.
1. A DRINK WITH A VIEW
Even with the many “koppies” (small hills) in the city, it can be difficult to get a view of the city unless you’re in a tall building.
If you’re hungry, and looking for 5-star dining, you can also choose to stay for a meal at either.
If you’re lucky you might catch a summer thunderstorm, or in October, the purple Jacaranda bloom that happens every spring.
2. A SPECIAL TREAT
The Saxon is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city, and is famous for its afternoon tea, and its spa.
Internationally renowned South African chef Luke Dale-Roberts has also set up a restaurant at The Saxon. This is definitely worth visiting if you feel like splurging on a 7-course set menu.
3. EXPLORE THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND
Finding out more about prehistory and our early human ancestors is relevant to visitors from any part of the world, so a visit to the Cradle of Humankind is a must if you’re looking for an enlightening and educational experience.
The Cradle is also known for its variety of restaurants and outdoor venues. For upmarket Italian try Casalinga, for contemporary cuisine try Roots at Forum Homini or if you’re looking for something a bit more wholesome try Leafy Greens, a vegan restaurant on the Casalinga property.
4. A WEEKEND MARKET
Outdoor weekend markets have become very popular in Joburg, especially since they’re perfect for making the most of the city’s sunny climate, even in winter.
The city’s markets are also a great way to interact with all kinds of different people, as well as get a taste of local food and drinks, and just to have a good time (Joburgers definitely know how to have fun!).
Saturday: Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein
5. ARTS AND CULTURE
Johannesburg is a thriving cultural hub, with several world class galleries and museums. If your guests are here on the first Thursday of a month, take them out to Rosebank, Braamfontein or Maboneng, where all of the art galleries and some stores open late for First Thursdays.
Other well-known art galleries and museums to visit are:
Origins Centre (a great complement to a trip to the Cradle of Humankind)
Keyes Art Mile (Circa and Everard Read Gallery, with Goodman Gallery and David Krut further down the road)
Lilliesleaf (historical museum in Rivonia)
6. TOWNSHIP CULTURE
It’s no secret that South Africa’s segregated past is an indelible part of the city, but there’s no better way to engage with than with a visit to Soweto, one of South Africa’s most famous “townships”, or designated residential areas for black people under apartheid.
There are many ways to visit Soweto, which include many different private tour offerings, but you can also go there by yourself and visit some of the following places:
Vilakazi Street: a historical precinct with several restaurants, Mandela House museum and the Hector Pieterson memorial and museum, which commemorates the Soweto Riots that took place on the 16th of June 1976.
Orlando Towers: a repurposed landmark, the well-known Orlando Towers are now a tourist attraction with a bridge swing and a range of other activities on offer.
An easy way to get around Joburg with guests is to take them on a Red Bus tour, which stops at several locations in and around the city centre, as well as the Apartheid Museum, with additional smaller bus trips that take guests to Soweto.