1. Get a history lesson at the Apartheidmuseum
We have many guests and in the past year I have taken them all to visit the Apartheid Museum. I have visited this place more than ten times – yes I could work there as a guide – and yet I learn something new every time. South Africa is a country with a very layered and heartbreaking history and you cannot come to Johannesburg and skip this museum if you want to understand a fraction of the current complex political and social relations. The start of the exhibition can be a bit overwhelming because many consecutive events are described in great detail and the main storyline appears to be missing at times. But from the twentieth century onwards, the historical events come to life thanks to a wealth of audio and video material. You can easily spend a few hours in this museum, which I really recommend. The Apartheid Museum is open daily from 9 am-5pm.
2. Enjoy the arts in Maboneng
With the emergence of a new middle class, the once-forgotten neighborhoods of Johannesburg are once again flourishing. Its epicenter is Maboneng. Around Main Street and Fox Street you will find unique cafes and restaurants, trendy shops and a lively art scene. This is where artist William Kentridge has his atelier and every Sunday morning ‘Arts on Main‘ offers food markets, live music and open art workshops. The former hotel The Cosmopolitan brings a trendy art gallery-retail-gastro bar concept that would not be out of place in Brooklyn, NY.
3. Get immersed in the inner city
If you are brave enough to explore the inner cities of Johannesburg and learn more about the fascinating history of these areas and the people who live there? Then join Dlala Nje, a non-profit organization that organizes “immersive” walking tours through notorious neighborhoods such as Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville. The highlight of the tour is the visit to Ponte Tower.
4. Eat and drink at the Neighborhoods Market
The Neighbourgoods Markt in Braamfontein once started as the sister of the famous food market in Cape Town but has acquired its own place as a culinary Saturday morning ritual people in Joburg. It is a lively meeting place in the neighborhood where you can enjoy anything from seasonal fruit and vegetables from the Free State, meat from Braeside butchery in Parkhurst or beers from Darling Brewery. The market is open every Saturday from 9 am-3pm, with live music and great views from the roof terrace on the second floor. Don’t miss the mural by artist Eduardo Villa when you are there.
5. Relax on the terrace of The Westcliff
Enjoy a G& T on the large terrace of restaurant Flames of The Westcliff, with phenomenal views over the big green city. If you look closely, you can see elephants walking in the zoo underneath. Flames has a popular Sunday brunch and regularly presents Sundowner live music in the afternoons.