24 hours in Johannesburg

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Known as Jozi, Johannesburg has burgeoned from a rough mining town to a sophisticated cosmopolitan city. The gold rush of 1886 was the start of a money-making trend, and today the city is the economic powerhouse of sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Johannesburg is home to around 4 million people, and its high-energy bustle spreads south from the city centre towards Soweto, and north to Sandton – the flash business district where towering skyscrapers overlook the country’s oldest township, Alexandra First and third worlds collide in full colour, with informal vendors co-existing with sleek shopping malls, packed minibuses vying for space with luxury sedans. The vibrant hum is punctuated by vuvuzelas, the cry of hadedas, and a dozen different languages. Renowned for its sunny climate, an estimated 10 million trees provide the biggest man-made urban forest in the world. Like anyone with a complicated past and a generous heart, ‘Jozi’ is well worth getting to know.


Nelson Mandela Square adjoins the Sandton City complex.

08:00
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Nice
on Parkhurst’s trendy 4th Avenue. The menu must-haves include egg baskets with spicy salsa, and honey-drenched crumpets with strawberries.


09:00
The Everard Read Gallery in Rosebank
is a sublime place to get lost for an hour, as is its sister museum, Circa, opposite. Look out for iconic artists such as Zwelethu Mthethwa, Velaphi Mzimba, and Dylan Lewis.


10:00
For first-time visitors, the Apartheid Museum
is a heart-rending, yet ultimately uplifting look at South Africa’s transition. Don’t miss the hall devoted to Nelson Mandela (called ‘Madiba’ by locals).


12:00
Get your adrenaline fix with a bungee jump
off the brightly painted disused cooling towers in Orlando, Soweto. Favoured by locals and visitors alike, you can also make this part of a township tour.


13:00
Circle back to The Service Station in Melville
for a delicious light lunch. Then browse for a good read at Love Books next door, or check out Black Coffee and Superella for stylish South African fashion.


14:00
Browse for top quality souvenirs at the African Craft Market
in Rosebank. You’ll be pleasantly hassled by southern African craftsmen, showcasing such items as wirework, carving, textiles, and jewellery.


15:00
Indulge in high tea
at The Westcliff, a palatial pink hotel with stunning views across Forest Town and Saxonwold. Milk tart, red velvet cupcakes and über-rich chocolate brownies are just a few of the daily temptations.


17:00
Escape the city frenzy and book a sunset tour
of the Johannesburg Zoo. Founded in 1904, this suburban gem covers 81 hectares and is home to 2,000 animals, from the big cats to the endangered apes.


20:00
Take in a show at The Market Theatre
in downtown Jozi – a notable part of the city’s cultural life since the 1970s, when playwrights such as Athol Fugard and Pieter-Dirk Uys challenged the apartheid regime.


23:00
Head to The Bassline in Newtown
for SA’s finest live jazz, kwaito and hip-hop. Legends such as Vusi Mahlasela, and Jimmy Dludlu have played here, and the venue hosts bands from the whole continent.



Johannesburg, South Africa
Distance: 6,750 km
Flight Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Frequency: Daily

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