26 April 2018

Spotlight On South Africa - 48 hours in Johannesburg

Johannesburg has busily redefined itself over the past decade, breathing new life into old warehouses and derelict buildings, while slowly reclaiming sidewalk spaces for markets, cafes, and art galleries. 

‘The City of Gold’ is South Africa’s largest city, and traces its roots to gold, when it was discovered in the area in the late 1800’s. Since then, it has grown into one of the 50 largest urban cities in the world, and the most populous city in South Africa. The city, like much of South Africa, also has a very complicated and racially-tinged history.

Steeped in a rich cultural and historical heritage, the resurgence of this eclectic, vibrant city has created the space for those visiting to explore the story of South Africa, Spend some time at the Apartheid Museum, where South Africa's rocky racial past is laid bare, or head out of town to The Cradle of Humankind, where some of the earliest hominid remains have been un-earthed and are on display at the amazing Maropeng Museum. Enjoy some of the busy restaurants of Sandton, or head into the rejuvenating City Centre of Newtown for a melting pot of African cultures.

STAY

The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa is reputed as being one of the best in Johannesburg - set upon two hectares of tropical gardens with luxurious accommodation, outstanding service and world-class facilities. It is the perfect place of solitude to refresh after a long international flight and its location is incredibly convenient to explore the city of Johannesburg. As an added bonus, airport transfers are included in your stay!

Delectable fare such as African game and mouth-watering Mediterranean seafood delicacies created by world-class chefs are served in the hotel’s elegant restaurant, with the well-stocked wine cellar offering the perfect pairing. Those in need of pampering can relax under the African sun at the pool terrace and unwind with a treatment in the award-winning spa.

            

EXPLORE

James Delaney is a contemporary painter, printmaker and sculptor who works from a studio downtown in Victoria Yards. He is well known for his fascination with the area and incredible knowledge of the city’s architectural, political and artistic history.

Spending a day with James may include historic sites, galleries, significant architecture, artist studios, vibey coffee shops and mural art across Braamfontein, Maboneng, Newtown and the mining district. Everything is tailored to the traveler’s interests and is partly driven and party getting out on foot and hitting the pavements!

                     

VIEW

The tallest building in Africa, Carlton Tower has a 50th floor viewing deck that shows the sweep of the city, from what's left of the gold rush mine dumps (most have been re-mined into oblivion) to the high-rises of the CBD and the green hills stretching across the northern suburbs and as far as the FNB Stadium (famed as Soccer City during the 2010 World Cup) on the edge of Soweto.

SHOP

The antithesis of consumer tack, 44 Stanley is a warren of lanes around shady courtyards and features an eclectic collection of local designers and speciality boutiques.

A former 1930s industrial complex was transformed into a boutique shopping destination, 44 Stanley, which offers a great selection of designer clothing stores, cafes and coffee shops spread across a series of pretty interlinked courtyards.

For dedicated followers of fashion this place is a treat, and has become a magnet for some of South Africa’s leading fashion designers whose work regularly graces the catwalks of local fashion weeks.

          

HISTORY

Following in the footsteps of the late former President Nelson Mandela, an inspirational journey explores his story and the places and people that he touched in his efforts to end Apartheid. Starting at his home in Houghton, the tour includes visits to Chinatown and crosses the Nelson Mandela Bridge into Newtown and Museum Africa. The tour also includes a visit to the Nelson Mandela Museum, the original Soweto home of Nelson Mandela in Vilakazi Street.

             

EAT

Johannesburg, or Jo’burg as it is affectionately known, is a big, exciting, modern African city, bringing together the people and the cultures from across the continent.

This couldn’t be more clear than when one considers the city’s fast-evolving food scene. The inner-city streets are rammed with Somali and Eritrean cafes, Mozambican piri-piri joints and Ghanaian restaurants, all serving a mix of spicy prawns, injera with chicken and baasto – the sticky, Somalian version of pasta.

As South Africans, there is a great love of good red meat, and cooking this over an open fire, either slowly (potjie) or sizzling (the beloved braai).

Our best picks:

Wombles Steakhouse – A grand institution in the city, serving the delicious, high quality cuts of beef in hearty portions for a classic dining experience.

Marble - An opulent fine dining twist on South Africa’s quintessential love of cooking with fire. Prepare for a theatrical experience.


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