Johannesburg on the move

Johannesburg is the major international gateway into South Africa so you are quite likely to spend, at the very least, a few hours in this rather misunderstood and misrepresented city. It’s a vibrant and dynamic place with a throbbing pulse and an awesome sense of rhythm.

Everyone is on the move – doing business, making money, jogging, going to gym, cycling, partying till late, eating out, and attending shows, movies and exhibitions. If you’re a city person, you will love Johannesburg.

The older part of the city is developing an interesting character – in parts somewhat neglected and a bit scary, and in parts humming with a new kind of vibrancy.

It is the de facto capital of Africa – in the centre of Johannesburg, you will find people from all over the continent, and in some pretty unusual and out-of-the way venues, you can sample their cuisine and jive to their music – not for the faint of heart, though.

Also in the city centre is the Civic Theatre, and the Newtown Cultural Project, with Museum Africa. But the head offices of major corporations, and the majority of businesses, have moved out to the northern suburbs and to Midrand – the burgeoning industrial, commercial, semi-agricultural and residential area halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The northern suburbs radiate a sense of opulence and prosperity. The many shopping malls carry a vast range of high quality consumer goods, including many luxuries, and the hundreds of restaurants and coffee shops offer a wide range of fashionable cuisines.

There really is a lot to do in Johannesburg. You could go on an escorted tour of Soweto, which is not the voyeuristic horror it sounds like. It’s actually a mind-expanding experience as you see not only how other people live, but also how this resilient community contributed to South Africa’s liberation struggle.

A visit to Gold Reef City is a fun day out with amusement rides and a reconstructed mining village, but it is a lot more authentic than most theme parks. The trip down a gold mine is a real eye-opener, but that’s nothing compared to the paradigm shift many people may experience in visiting the Apartheid Museum, also at Gold Reef City.

And for the golf enthusiast, Johannesburg is a wonderful destination. The city boasts an ideal climate for spending time out on the fairways under the bright African sun, and golfers here are blessed for choice – there are golf courses aplenty in the city and more widely in its province, Gauteng.

If you’d prefer something unbelievably beautiful, watch a performance by the Lippizaner horses on a Sunday morning, at their premises in Kyalami. You could do a walking tour to look at some lovely old buildings, or just park off at a coffee shop in a mall and watch the world and its wallet walk past.

Source: South African Tourism