ARTICLES ABOUT JOHANNESBURG
We believe that you can get to know more about Johannesburg and its surrounding Tourism Destinations, by reading these short articles specially written for MyJohannesburgInfo.com, which give you a taste and feel of what Joburg is really like. Scroll through the articles and read whatever interests you, and remember that we are always adding interesting content and visuals here, so don't forget to come back and visit us again.
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THE SUCCESS OF THE GAUTRAIN
The Gautrain, after years of planning and construction, has turned out to be a huge success in the province of Gauteng. The first of its kind in Johannesburg, it has assisted tremendously with airport transfers, thereby easing much of the traffic congestion that is typically associated with motor travel to the O.R Tambo International Airport (ORTIA).
As many commuters regularly travel from the bustling Sandton CBD, there is clearly a demand for hotels in the nearby vicinity of the Gautrain bus stations in Sandton. (Gautrain buses do transfers between all Gauteng train stations). The Radisson Blu hotel (link), a luxurious hotel situated in close proximity to the bus station in Sandton is known by most as the Gautrain Hotel. There are plenty of other hotels in the region as well, such as the Protea Hotel Balalaika, the Hilton, as well as the Michaelangelo Hotel, for all discerning travellers.
Needless to say, this train has assisted Johannesburg in growing as a world-class business hub. Although the Gautrain is useful for corporate and business travellers, the fare is relatively affordable so perhaps it would be worthwhile to take some time off merely for the experience of the ride, which is rather comfortable at a speed of 160 km/h. The bus system provides a reliable transport service between O.R Tambo International Airport and the various stations.
All services are accessed via a Gautrain Gold Card, which is an affordable and contactless smart card. It is also important to note that timetables vary between peak and off-peak periods – you will find the relevant train schedules (Rhodesfield, Marlboro, Sandton and ORTIA stations) as well as all bus schedules and important rate information on www.gautrain.co.za.
The view from the top of Northcliff Hill, also known as Aasvoels Kop, provides a unique and panoramic view of Johannesburg.
As you travel through the high-end suburb of Northcliff, you will pass majestic houses and immaculate lawns; and, as you travel further up the ridge, towards the water tower, you will witness breathtaking views. The top of this koppie is where you want to be. With plenty of rocks, natural vegetation and 360 degree views, this spot is considered by many as a 'breathing space'.
There are pathways to walk along, and perches to find when taking in a magnificent Jozi sunset, with only peace and quiet in the air. Northcliff Hill is believed to have been inhabited by humans for over 250 000 years, and stands at a whopping 1807 metres, merely one metre lower than Observatory Ridge, which is the highest point in Johannesburg.
It is also useful to note that there is security and parking space available. The ridge overlooks the northern suburbs on one side, and the central business district on the other. One also gets a bird's eye view of the leafy nearby suburbs with sparkling swimming pools, tennis courts, and fresh green canopies of trees in bloom.
Meditate. Stroll. Jog on the winding roads until you get to the koppie. Take in the sunset. It's free.
Johannesburg is a city with a beat, and, needless to say, the night life is awesome.
We compiled a list of some of Joburg's best hang outs, for those looking for a fun night out.
Clapham Gold is a world-class club situated in Fourways Mall at the heart of the Northern suburbs. Clapham is known for its beautiful people and glamorous décor. There is an upstairs section, a spacious dance floor, and an outside section featuring a classy bar. The music played by the talented deejays ranges from the good old classics to the latest commercial dance hits. Contact/Enquiries: 011 465 9389
The Office, a relatively new addition to Greenside(link), is always buzzing. There are a variety of 'Office-goers', ranging from the young and the old, students and corporates alike. It's a place to let your hair down whilst listening to feel-good tunes. Another great feature is the cosy lounge at the back – great for chilling. Contact/Enquiries: 011 023 9863
The Manhattan Club (Manhattans) has been going strong for a number of years, and, judging by the loyal patrons, it is still hip, hop and happening. Manhattans attracts party animals from all over – including international tourists. This classy club, which is situated in Rivonia, is aptly named due to its 'New York' type of vibe. Contact/Enquiries: 011 803 7085
The Jolly Roger: For a more relaxed vibe, head to the Jolly Roger, a Parkhurst (link) favourite. This neighbourhood pub is situated in the popular Fourth Avenue, which is always bustling. The pizzas are delicious and the atmosphere is warm. It is the perfect place to chill out with friends and catch up over a few drinks. Contact/Enquiries: 011 442 3954
Cofi, another Fourways favourite, is a stylish yet laid-back venue . Vibrant crowds gather for popular cocktails and delicious meals, whilst listening to various tunes in the background. Situated in Cedar Square, the atmosphere is alive with those who like to work hard, and party hard. The elegant white décor is inviting, and the location is ideal. Contact/Enquiries: 011 465 6876
Movida caters to the different needs of its clientèle – it is a nightclub, a cocktail bar, a theatre, and a lounge – all in one. Movida mainly caters to an older crowd who prefer to dress to the nines and mingle with like-minded people. It's a great venue for functions and events due to the versatility of the uniquely sophisticated layout. Contact/Enquiries: 011 234 8000
The Woods, which attracts a variety of diverse people, is a trendy venue in Newtown. The Woods hosts different parties and events, while producing irresistible cocktails. Over the past few years, Newtown has grown in popularity in terms of partying, and The Woods certainly provides a unique partying experience. Contact/Enquiries: 011 838 7883
Tokyo Star Greenside is known to have plenty of hang outs along Gleneagles Road. Tokyo Star (a 'dance cafe') has a mystical atmosphere with an abundance of different people wanting to meet fellow party-goers. The dress code is smart/casual – it is all about being relaxed, meeting friendly people that frequent this spot, and having a good time. Contact/Enquiries: 076 536 7281
The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens are most definitely a hidden green gem.
Whether one wants to escape from the daily hustle and bustle, catch some rays on a beautiful and sunny day, or spend time having a family picnic, this is the perfect place for kids and adults alike. Romantic picnics are a regular occurrence at these gardens, particularly on balmy summer days. It is a highly recommended location for chilling by the majestic Witpoortjie waterfall, or attempting to catch site of the black eagles that reside at the top of the koppie. If you're lucky to have the opportunity to catch sight of these spectacular birds in flight, make sure you take a closer look through the telescope provided. There is a variety of fauna and flora, just waiting to be marveled at.
According to The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the gardens span over 300 hectares, and there are 600 plant species to be found. For birdwatchers, it is useful to note that there are 220 species of bird, and even small animals such as jackal and antelope can be sighted. If you want a truly memorable experience of the gardens, a hike to the top of the koppie is recommended, particularly for outdoor enthusiasts.
These Botanical Gardens are virtually unspoilt, therefore all visitors are urged to dispose of all litter and waste upon leaving, as for all of Johannesburg’s parks. Further entertaining venues on the premises include a nursery, gift shop, and restaurant as well as a ‘dome’ for sundowner concerts, depending on the occasion.
Why visit The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens? Maybe because they were voted the best picnic spot in Gauteng for five years in a row, which is an impressive feat, to say the least.
Dog lovers – listen up! If you are looking to treat your canine companion to a leisurely stroll within an expanse of natural beauty, set aside a time to head to Emmarentia Dam. To clear your mind and unwind, take a moment to sit on a bench next to the tranquil waters, or visit the adjoining Johannesburg Botanical Gardens for a picnic, or a stroll through the immaculate pathways surrounded by an expanse of grass, and various specimens of trees, to name but a few spectacular sights. Get away from the shopping malls and take refuge in an environment filled with the sounds of children's laughter, and dogs taking a splash in the dam. Watch the canoeists and windsurfers gather for their regular meetings on the water, away from the crowd, and see the colourful kites breezing through sapphire blue skies. During autumn, the views are breathtaking,from the majestic trees, to the clear blue sky. Egyptian Geese frolic daily, and grass banks accommodate for those gathering to watch the popular summer sunset concerts. If you are free on a Sunday morning, gather up your crew for a day of fun in the sun, in the heart of suburbia.
Alberts Farm Conservancy The Alberts Farm Conservancy in Albertskroon is yet another natural expanse of greenery found in the heart of the suburbs. It is interesting to note that this ‘field’ contains a single artesian spring, which sprays clean trickles of water throughout the course of the year, and, another magnificent characteristic is of course the picturesque dam, inhabited by Egyptian geese. A wide range of other birdlife and plant species can be found at this conservancy which is situated on Northcliff Ridge. The Alberts Farm Dam - the central focus of the Farm Fishing is a popular activity here, particularly on weekends whereby fishing fiends occupy the dam practicing their skills. Oftentimes, residents and visitors can be seen walking their dogs or having a relaxed braai. It is a tranquil hideout to simply relax under the many beautiful trees surrounding the water. Alberts Farm is one of Johannesburg’s most ‘natural’ parks, and the environment and surrounds are clearly conserved in an eco-friendly manner.
Zoo Lake is a popular spot, situated across the Johannesburg Zoo. Annual events such as Jazz on the Lake and Carols by Candlelight take place at this social yet natural hang out. Monthly events include the Artists under the Sun exhibition, while entertainment consists of Moyo, one of South Africa’s most popular restaurants, as well as Zoo Lake Bowling Club, where friends and members catch up with a few pints. The Coronation Fountain, which is a heritage symbol, is definitely a sight to be seen, while floating along the water on a boat is the preferred mode of relaxation.
CHRISTMAS TIME IN JOHANNESBURG
There's something special about Johannesburg during the festive season.
For one thing, it's peaceful – most families are packing up and heading down to the coast – which means that popular holiday destinations such as Cape Town and Durban will be experiencing an influx of 'Vaalies' (people from the Transvaal Province - now called Gauteng). Gauteng number-plates are seen far and wide. Sure, it's great to get away – but there are downsides to leaving the city. Just think toll gates, queues, fighting for umbrella space on the beach. . .
This is where Joburg comes into its own as a holiday destination.
There is still so much to do and see, without having to compete with mad crowds. Once the Christmas gift rush is over, and the corporates have taken their leave, one can take a quiet drive at any time, day or night. Sights include amazing Christmas tree displays at Cosmopolitan shopping malls such as Sandton City; smells include delicious breads at one of the many continental bakeries, and let's not forget summer braais and the aroma of braaivleis. Sounds include children jumping into swimming pools, followed by late afternoon Highveld thunderstorms. The atmosphere is simply magical with the display of bright lights flashing in silence. It's untouched.
It is possible to find parking, and sip on a cooldrink at a pavement café in solitude. Experience the sounds of nature at one of Joburg's many beautiful parks, dams and botanical gardens. There is no beach – but why not head to Sun City and The Valley of Waves for the day? Or just lounge around the swimming pool? What about the night-life? One word – world-class. Go mingle with the fellow Joburgers at one of Jozi's many popular nightspots. The party doesn't stop – fellow city slickers make the most out of their time off work as well as the freedom to come and go as they choose. There are ample opportunities to meet tourists at places such as the Rosebank Craft Market and Nelson Mandela Square. So, if you are going to be spending your Christmas in Joburg, prepare for a quiet, yet fun-filled time. No rush; no pressure – just good times.
Have a joyous festive season and remember to keep safe - this is a Jozi Christmas!
Johannesburg is often referred to as the New York of Africa!
This conjures up images of traffic, road rage, stress, work and a mad rush in general. Not so - at least not in October! Spring time brings with it a completely different air to our city of gold. Spring time in Joburg is simply magical – with sunshine in the day, and thunderstorms at night – these make for a truly wonderful climate.
This is when Jacaranda trees come into their own!
Take a walk through the streets of Pretoria (The Jacaranda City) and Johannesburg during spring time – stop and take a proper look at these beautiful, rich purple floral marvels. See how they create a canopy throughout the towns and take in the fragrance and splendour of this species. From a distance and at an aerial view, one may see these as an expanse of blue and purple.
Jacarandas start to bloom during ‘exam time’ at Pretoria University, and, legend has it, that should a Jacaranda flower drop on your head, you will pass all of your exams. So, next time you are in Joburg or Pretoria in October, appreciate the Jacaranda trees, and welcome them as a sign of a new Summer on its way!