The largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg is looking towards the future while still honouring its unique history. You’ll find artsy suburbs, amazing hot-spots and warm and welcoming locals as you explore this vibrant city, perfect for urban adventurers, fun-loving families and anyone with a sense of wanderlust. If you want to experience a city in the middle of its rebirth, now is the time to journey to South Africa and immerse yourself in unforgettable Johannesburg. Plus if you’re looking for a fantastic value getaway, Joburg is a fantastic option. With the great exchange rate, your dollar goes a lot further in South Africa, so you can toast your getaway with a beautiful bottle of South Africa’s signature Pinotage or wine in restaurants for around AU$20. Keep reading for our top tips in Joburg, and starting dreaming up your ultimate South African adventure.
Dubbed the ‘Southern Hemisphere’s Capital of Cool’, with so much do to in Johannesburg, it can be hard to know where to start. For a unique insight into this enigmatic city, we suggest starting in Maboneng, the chic urban centre of Joburg. If there is any place that embodies the cultural renaissance of Johannesburg, it’s this stylish precinct full of restaurants, art exhibitions and markets. A must-see in this area is Arts on Main, a labyrinth of artist studios, galleries and cool boutiques located in historic warehouses and industrial buildings. Grab a coffee at a cool café, join a salsa dancing class, listen to some live music, explore reclaimed buildings and admire artworks from large-scale murals to intricate street sculptures. And if you’re there on a Sunday, make sure you visit the Markets on Main and pick up some unique souvenirs and local wares. In the evening, head to The Living Room for a cocktail in their beautiful rooftop garden as you watch the sunset over the city and mingle with friendly locals who will be happy invite you to their table to tell you all about their city.
The influence of Nelson Mandela is felt everywhere in this eclectic city, from the enormous wall art that depict him in the boxing ring, to Mandela House. The site of his former family home has now become one of the symbols of his fight against apartheid and is located in Soweto on Vilakazi Street. This street also used to be the home of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, making it the only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace Prize winners. For a real insight into the legacy of Nelson Mandela and achievements of South Africa’s freedom fighters, a visit to the Apartheid Museum is a must. The first museum of its kind, this fascinating exhibition charts the rise and fall of Apartheid. The museum paints a picture of a nation that is coming to terms with its past, while looking towards a better future for all South Africans. With South Africa celebrating 25 years of democracy, it is clear the legacy of these brave activists still lives on.
Another way to explore Johannesburg is through its spectacular cuisine, as the city boasts a fast-growing foodie scene. For a memorable dining experience, try delicious meals made on a traditional braai at Marble restaurant. Similar to a barbeque, head chef David Higgs is passionate about this method of cooking for the unique flavours it imparts on each dish. Marble also features an open-plan kitchen, so you can not only taste and smell the beautiful smoky dishes, but also see the restaurant’s skilled chefs navigate the flames to produce those sensational flavour profiles. With its unique ambience, Marble is the perfect place to visit after a day of exploring Johannesburg. Or for a cosy evening spent with family and friends, head to Lucky Bean Restaurant in Melville. Here you will be able to taste a variety of flavours and ingredients that make up South Africa’s eclectic national cuisine. Treat yourself to dishes like boerewors or ostrich burgers, accompanied by a glass of local wine and kick back while you soak up the laidback ambience of this local favourite.
Ready to start planning your getaway in Johannesburg? With direct flights departing from Sydney and Perth, there has never been a better time to visit South Africa! Visit South African Tourism for everything you’ll need to plan your trip.
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