Jaunt to Johannesburg

Shereen Shabnam

Johannesburg as a tourist destination has much to offer and should certainly be on the itinerary of any visitor to South Africa because of the vibrant culture and many interesting local attractions.

My first visit to Johannesburg was on the way to a game farm out of city and looking at the diverse neighbourhood, the laid back vibe and the cafe culture was what attracted me most. A few more trips later, I discovered that the city had so much more to offer visitors than what we see just cruising around in a car.

With numerous cafes and hipster-friendly neighbourhood, Johannesburg is indeed the vibrant heart of South Africa. Progressive and energetic, the city has a number of museums and we highly recommend the Apartheid Museum that offers deep insight into South Africa’s past.

What I liked most is the large man-made forest that gives this nature driven city a spacious feel. There is also athriving arts and music scene with lots of entertainment and food options that suits all types of visitors.

Just outside the city, you can take a cable car straight up into the mountains. I suggest trying some contemporary South African cuisine while enjoying the day out driving, hiking or biking. If you think Tasha’s in the UAE is amazing as a South African brand, then you will enjoy the many other creative food concepts dotted around Johannesburg.

If you love adrenaline driven activities, the Ama Zwing Zwing is perfect for a zipline experience not far from the city or head to the Kgaswane Mountain Reserve where you can camp overnight. If you have good fitness levels, follow the Rustenberg Hiking Trail for a couple of days – naturally this was not for me.

It is also common to go on a safari at national parks or visit a game farm while in Johannesburg. On my first visit, I spent a few nights in the Serurubele Game farm and enjoyed trips out during the day to see the animals in the wild. Going on game drives and bush walks in a serene place is just magic.

Evenings were spent around the bonfire at a friend’s game lodge and the best part about being in the wild is being able to enjoy the fresh local food and enjoy quality me time.

On another visit, I headed to the archeological sites of the Cradle of Humankind which was interesting and wished there was enough time to spend another day to explore the Sterkfontein Caves.

Most tourists just go to the Kruger National Park without exploring the country further. If you really do not have time to venture far, then the Johannesburg Zoo is a great attraction for visitors that also has night safaris to view the zoo’s nocturnal animals.

The metropolitan township of Soweto on the outskirts of Johannesburg. played a significant part in South Africa’s history and has a number of historically significant sites. Visitors here can view Nelson Mandela’s old house, enjoy traditional fare in restaurants run by locals, go bungee jumping or abseiling while taking in the vibe of this special area.

Johannesburg has so much to offer in the city and nearby. This city may have a colourful past, but it has an even more exciting present.

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