This blog is about me and my misadventures to get lost in the beautiful city that we live in… as well as some of my random mumblings
Sitting at the hair dresser this morning, one of life’s small luxuries for a newlywed, I found myself explaining some of the fun tours that are available in and around Joburg, to a recently relocated Durbanite. Needless to say that is when guilt kicked in and I realised I had let myself slide in not sharing these experiences on my blog – one of the purposes of me starting it up in the first place.
My family and I have got into the habit of taking part in tours that share a bit more of Joburg than what one would normally experience. The first tour that we went on was hosted by Past Experiences http://pastexperiences.co.za/?page_id=46, a tour company set up by some passionate university graduates, that took us on a walking tour of Braamfontein. This former run down area has really transformed into a vibrant student town, with orange painted walls in a student village, surrounded by coffee and art shops. Large investment companies such as Virgin have located here and have pumped money into building up entrepreneurs. A few blocks away is the colourful Juta street that hosts a number of unique shops, and not to mention the incredible and must-visit Neighbourgoods Market! http://www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za/
If you are one for markets, or food, or friendly people, or just an all-round awesome vibe, you have to add Neighbourgoods to your Saturday to-do list. I was enthralled by the massive vats of paella that were being cooked, the homemade wine and crisps, fresh olives, fresh juices and not to mention the most death-by-everything-delicious cupcakes in the world! It’s not the cheapest of markets, but the food is well worth the price, and just the experience that the market offers is worth the trip. Something fun to do with friends on a Saturday afternoon. Did I mention the bar serving home-made minty-fresh margaritas upstairs J?
Whilst the Braamfontein tour was one of my favourites offered by Past Experiences, I must mention that they have a variety of tours on offer, including some in and around Pretoria. Another one that I did with my family was of inner Joburg, where they took us on a bit of a shopping spree…jozi style. Starting at a local Chinese market we walked the streets of Joburg, learning about various heritage sites, art, shops and fashion, ending at the Bus Factory, a very unique and truly Joburg art space.
Another tour company that has established themselves in the CBD is Main Street Walks http://www.mainstreetwalks.co.za/tours/. A similar concept to Past Experiences, these guys focus on the CBD itself. I took my husband on the ‘Picnic in the Sky’ tour as one of his one-year anniversary treats, and it was awesome. Starting at Arts on Main (a smaller and more varied version of Neighbourgoods), we were handed a picnic basket and encouraged to go and fill it in the market. Then , after introducing ourselves to the other tour-goers we hopped into a taxi and headed to the Carlton Centre, South Africa’s tallest building. Walking around the 360 degree window, we were taught about Joburg’s buildings and the history behind them – something that I think we as Joburgers take for granted, whilst our picnics were set up for us looking out over the CBD. We were left to enjoy our lunch, and the view, and just as we were finishing up, were treated to some free poetry, which was something I had never heard before…and loved.
These tours of Joburg are something that are not only enriching, but loads of fun as well. Living in the Northern Suburbs, us suburbians seem to stay there, but why, when we have such an incredible and diverse place in which we live? I’m definitely going to be adding more of these to my weekends.