Johannesburg has long broken the shackles of its past and is now one of the trendiest cities in the world; no visit to South Africa would be complete without spending some time discovering this fascinating city. Joburg (or Jozi, Joeys, or JHB) has truly become a foodie mecca with hundreds of street cafés, restaurants, and hangouts. Action and adventure is never far away and you are bound to find an activity that suits your fancy. Here are five tips for making the most of travel to Johannesburg.
Catch the vibe at 4th Avenue in Parkhurst
This trendy avenue and neighbourhood offers a great variety of streetside restaurants and shops with food for every taste. Favourites include breakfast at Espresso or The Wolfpack — where you can enjoy designer burgers while eyeing up all the hip and happening locals of 4th Avenue. We also recommend heading down here for a great evening out.
Watch the sun paint the sky
Johannesburg is famous for its spectacular thunderstorms, but sunsets over this beautiful city are an equally mesmerising experience. There is no better place to catch a glimpse of Joburg in fading light than on top of Northcliff Hill, all the way up at the top of the iconic Northcliff Water Tower. Remember to take a picnic basket or at least some beverages to make this a truly amazing sun-downer.
Cycle the streets of Soweto
If you’re in Johannesburg, you simply must visit Soweto. This vibrant, colourful township is full of history, and we certainly recommend seeing it on two wheels. Enjoy a traditional lunch and experience the vibe at a local shebeen while mingling with the locals, and have a taste of what South Africans consider real food: a braai (barbecue). Sakhumzi Restaurant on Vilikazi Street is always a firm favourite and promises a good time out. Fun fact: Vilikazi Street is the only street in the world where two Nobel Peace prize winners resided — it is the former home of Nelson Mandela, and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu still lives here.
Stroll through the Maboneng Precinct
Maboneng (meaning “Place of Light”) is situated on the eastern side of Johannesburg’s CBD. Once a dilapidated area, it has now been transformed into a very sought-after neighbourhood for architects, fashionistas, free spirits, and food lovers alike. This community development project is a true success story and shows the potential and magic of Joburg. Maboneng has a great variety of interesting shops and art studios, and it’s home to the ever-famous Market on Main (open every Sunday morning), which is one of the best food markets in South Africa.
Visit the Sterkfontein Caves
Wish you could travel back in time? This site will take you back to the origins of man. Whether you’re a hardcore Darwin believer or not, the Cradle of Humankind and Sterkfontein Caves are well worth a visit and will open your mind to a world of new possibilities. As you twist and squeeze through narrow passages and into larger cave rooms, you’ll learn about the history and archaeology of this UNESCO World Heritage site, where one of the oldest pieces of evidence of pre-historic humans was discovered, namely the discovery of the skull of “Mrs. Ples.”