What's it like to live in Johannesburg - Charles Harrison

Following on from our post on Why you should get excited about moving to Joburg, we thought it would be helpful for those considering moving here to understand what other expats have loved about the city they called home (if only for a while).  

What its like to live in Johannesburg

If you had friends or family come to stay for a weekend, how would you spend your time with them?  

Take them into the city! Break down that bad PR, start at the top of the Carlton Centre then walk through Gandhi Sq, pop into One Eloff, then back to Gandhi, then walk all the way through the mining district to the magistrates court, see Chancellor House then walk a little further and go and have drinks at the Mad Giant, then perhaps take an Uber to Maboneng for supper at Che. 

Have you adopted any new customs/ traditions 

Braai-ing, Get in the meat, invite the neighbours and your friends and remember, chicken is a side! Don't let the men and women in the party split up into gender divided groups, that's a SA tradition that is long past it's sell by date!  

What advice would you give people just arriving or thinking about moving to South Africa? 

Do it! Don't believe the bad PR. Confront your own internalised racism - we all have it - reject it. Get out there and see the country.  

What do you love about Joburg / South Africa….

South Africans! Lots of Bank Holidays! Rooibos Cappuccinos! Great steaks! The Karoo! Getting out into the bush and staying the San Parks accommodation. Just bring your cooler box and watch out for the monkeys!  

I find inspiration in... 

The expats that came before me and didn't just stay behind their big walls!  

The cook book every kitchen needs is….

Braai - Reuben On Fire.  

An up and coming South African artist to look out for is…… 

More a collective, The Ninevites. Textile and Graphic artists.  

I'm currently obsessed with… 

Mungo drying up cloths 

My perfect escape is (has been) …

Anywhere with the &Beyond safari group.  

What are your favourite spots to go for:


Local Grill in Parktown North for when you're not feeling like making the trek to Che.


On a Zambezi River cruise in Vic Falls 

Day trip:

Nirox Sculpture Park 

Must see:

The view from the bottom (!) of the Ponte Tower - go on a Hillbrow tour with www.dlalanje.org/ 

Coolest Shop / Brand:

Father Coffee in Braamfontein

Best entertainment:

Market Theatre for the plays

Favourite way to stay fit:

Find a personal trainer that looks good in small shorts.