The idea behind my going to South Africa was to explore and learn more about this lovely place. Once i got there i was eager to visit as many as much places. One of them that i didnt have an idea how is it and what to expect was a famous Johannesburg .
Joburg as locals refer to is the biggest city in South Africa and center of education , economy , transport and key place of the fight for equality. Soweto as a part of Johannesburg is the iconic place where all that start back in the 70s,80s,early 90s. This article is my point of view on the 3 months i spend living there
Reaching the Johannesburg
OR Tambo is the International airport where you usually get in . Lot of great connection outside and inside of South Africa. Many great flights have their flights set from Europe to SA for a decent prices. Also many low budget flights from rest of Africa to SA, so reaching Joburg is not a problem.
Another way to get to Johannesburg is to use trains or buses from other African cities. Roads are fantastic and driving to Johannesburg by car is another good option.I was already in South Africa living in Durban when i was traveling to Joburg. Using the N2 highway once in a month till i decide to move to Johannesburg at the end.
Story behind Johannesburg
I arrive in South Africa in 2010, may. It was prior the World Cup in football. Never been there so the desire to see this place was so big that i booked my flight from Athens to Durban in may 2010. I was staying mainly there , meet Trevor and Craig guys that were working with e-waste . They offer me to work with them which i accept. Once in a month we were traveling to Johannesburg and back to bring motherboards for recycling and sale or pick up some electronic goods from there.
Somewhere in July 2010 i was set to play on a party in a club in Joburg. Club was in the center of the city. I have a chance to look around and shortly after few months because of the work i decide to move there. Job was temporary and i knew that i should make it best out of it. Johannesburg have plenty things to offer and things to do there…
Things to Do and See in Johannesburg
I already spoke about Soweto, the almost 2milion big area in center of Joburg. Place where fight start place that was a symbol for freedom fight. Now days Soweto is the place where you can enjoy in all modern commodity.Bars, restaurants, clubs, city malls for shopping’s, cinemas…
ICONIC LANDMARKS IN JOBURG
Constitution Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy. The site is a former prison and military fort that bears testament to South Africa’s turbulent past and, today, is home to the country’s Constitutional Court, which endorses the rights of all citizens.
There is perhaps no other site of incarceration in South Africa that imprisoned the sheer number of world-renowned men and women as those held within the walls of Constitution Hill’s Old Fort, Women’s Jail and Number Four. Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Gandhi. Joe Slovo. Albertina Sisulu. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Fatima Meer. They all served time here. But the precinct also confined tens of thousands of ordinary people during its 100-year history: men and women of all races, creeds, ages and political agendas; children too; the everyman and the elite. In this way, the history of every South African lives here.
n Orlando West, Soweto, on the corner of Vilakazi and Ngakane streets, you’ll find the modest house that Nelson Mandela and his family called home from 1946 to the 1990s. Mandela lived in the house with his first wife, Evelyn Ntoko Mase, and, after his divorce, with his second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Mandela himself didn’t spend much time at the Vilakazi Street home: his growing role in the anti-apartheid struggle drove him underground before his arrest in 1962. Madikizela-Mandela continued to live in the house with their two daughters, Zenani and Zindzi, until she was banished to the Free State town of Brandfort in 1977.
Upon his release from in 1990, Mandela moved back to the house for a short 11 days before moving to larger and more secure premises in the Houghton suburb of Johannesburg.
CRADLE OF HUMANKIND
The Cradle lies mainly in the Gauteng province with a small extension into the neighboring North West Province, and covers 47 000 hectares of land mostly privately owned. The Site comprises a strip of a dozen dolomitic limestone caves containing the fossillised remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and most importantly, hominids. The dolomite in which the caves formed, started out as coral reefs growing in a worm shallow sea about 2.3 billion years ago.
As the reefs died off they were transformed into limestone which some time later was converted into dolomite. Millions of years later after the sea had receded, slightly acidic groundwater began to dissolve out calcium carbonate from the dolomite to form underground caverns.
Over time the water table dropped and the underground caverns were exposed to the air. The percolation of acidic water through the dolomite also dissolved calcium carbonates out of the rock into the caverns, which formed stalactites, stalagmites and other crystalline structures.
Continued erosion on the earth’s surface and dissolution of the dolomite eventually resulted in shafts or avens forming between the surface of the earth and the caverns below. Bones, stones and plants washed down these shafts into the caves; and animals and hominids fell into the caves, became trapped and died.The bone and plant remains became fossilized and along with various stones and pebbles became cemented in a hard mixture called breccia.
Around the city you can find few more museums and places to visit.Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum. Apartheid museum and Africa museum are just some of them. There is plenty of things to see. I havent seen my self all of them so i will not write for this activities that i havent been but i will mention them as a suggestion to check them once you are in Joburg.
WHERE TO GO OUT in Johannesburg
As a big city and in fact as one if the biggest in Africa Johannesburg have lot of events and places to offer.I was exploring mainly the area around the center where i was living in that time.
RESTAURANTS IN JOBURG
If you like to eat some African dishes and to have some african music in background than Moyo Zoo Lake is great place for you. Place have a great central location plus live music and sun decks. Great combo if you want to spend some nice and relaxing afternoon.
If you are more into the Chinese food than Swallow Inn is perfect for you. Service is good, bit slow but still having on mind that they cook the meal when you order delay is understandable. So just sit and enjoy. The whole atmosphere is nice and pleasant so even if you spend more hours in is not a waste of time.
As a vegetarian i was mainly visiting those type of restaurants. Shayona was my favorite place to go. They have mainly Indian food. Option to sit there or to take away. Big range of recipes gave you lot of option to eat even every day there. Also their prices are quite normal and not over rated.
For Vegans i would recommend The Greenside Cafe . Vegan range of food, drinks, tops and everything else. Lovely atmosphere and fantastic service as well as an amazing food. I was really enjoying there every time when i was going there.
BARS AND CLUBS
As a dj i was going out to visit many places and clubs. Depend what your music and going out taste is that type of place you can visit.My music taste is mainly electronic music for parting , and when i want to chill i choose jazz clubs or lounge bars. My favorite club where all famous djs comes is Sandton, the iconic club where entertainment is granted.Harem is also one of the Johannesburg finest clubs that offer great VIP area and fantastic sound system.
My favorite jazz club was The Orbit , place open in 4 pm afternoon and work till late. Great atmosphere fantastic music and super friendly stuff.
Accommodation in Johannesburg
In my case cause i was staying for longer i simple sublet a place on short term. Cost me 300 euros a month in the center of the city near to all nice places i wrote above. But if you stay for less than month i would suggest to check some of the many hostels, hotels or guesthouses. Also AirBnb option is great for you. Prices depend from the location where you want to stay. Range from 8-15 euro a bed or from 20 -30 euro mid range private room and from 50-100 euro and more for those with 3 stars and more . Booking.com also offer you plenty of options to booked something.
At the end for me most important thing is to know something about nature activities in Johannesburg. Klipriviesberg natural park is near the city and offer fantastic trails for hiking. Also you can see some wild animals there so its a great option for taking some nice picture from this lovely park.
Melville Koppies natural reserve is another phenomenal place to be. To be honest with you guys that was my favorite place to escape from the Urban chaos in Johannesburg. Lot of lovely scenes of nature shaped landscape. Give you a glimpse of how is to live in the nature. Daily tours are organize so you should visit this place once you are in Johannesburg.
I have lovely 3 months there, wouldn’t mind to go back again to the same lovely place. Tho i love Durban and Cape Town more but this city was also nice to be and spend some time of my life. Hope many of you will decide to go there and maybe share their experience with me…