Johannesburg Is More Than A Stopover
This was my second visit to Johannesburg. During my first trip we never left the hotel, it was purely to break up the time before exploring the rest of South Africa. I feel like this is how we often view Johannesburg, from the negative things we have heard over the years.
During this trip we spent 2 full days exploring Johannesburg and it was the highlight of my time in South Africa! The first day was spent exploring Soweto, where we visited the Hector Pieterson Museum, Vilakazi Street and Nelson Mandalas house, as well as a fantastic tour of the backstreets of the Townships on Tuk Tuk (read more about this tour here).
The Second day, we started off visiting the Rosebank Art and Craft Market. This market was full of great quality handcrafted items and souvenirs. It was so colourful and a great opportunity to have a chat with the locals and pick up some goodies.
Next we spent a couple of hours exploring the remarkable Apartheid Museum. This museum is extremely well set out and it is huge! You could really spend hours exploring the different exhibitions. They had a number of displays with videos playing with real footage from the 20th century along with interviews. It was incredibly moving and one of the best museums I have ever visited.
On our way to lunch, we stopped off at Victoria Yards which used to be a huge laundry factory that had been abandoned for years and used as a dumping ground. Now it’s an urban farm and home to a community of artists who open their studios to the public and display their work in the restored buildings. They have fresh veggies and herbs growing all around the grounds and have a farmer’s market once a month. It is such a great idea and the perfect way to support local artists and involve the local community.
After lunch we headed to the Maboneng Precinct in downtown Johannesburg, where we meet our guide Brighton and went on a walking tour of this district.
This was my highlight of the day and I was amazed by how artistic and trendy this city is becoming, areas that used to be a no-go zone are now thriving with cafes, boutiques, roof top bars and breweries.
Around every corner, we found incredible street art each with its own story and purpose.
Our first stop during our walking tour was at the Hallmark House to have a drink and enjoy the 360 views of Johannesburg from their roof top bar. This is where I introduced to my favourite South African drink ‘Savanna Dry’, a very tasty cider! The Hallmark House was originally a diamond polishing centre. Many of the old factories and buildings in Maboneng have been given a second life and have been converted to hotels, galleries or retail spaces.
The tour ended at the Living Room which is a popular rooftop café surrounded by greenery, fairy lights and more city views. The living room had a really great atmosphere and was the perfect way to end our day exploring Johannesburg.
Next time you visit South Africa or have a stopover in Johannesburg why not extend your trip by a couple of nights and explore this exciting and evolving city.
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