Visiting South Africa was one of the best things to happen to me. I met the most beautiful people, explored an amazingly interesting country with lots of history and heartache, went on insane safari rides where I saw the Big 5 and possibly every single animal in the jungle and of course ate some of the best meals I have ever had the pleasure of eating. From the cities I visited, it is Johannesburg that turned out to be a wonderful surprise. Every single person filled my head with stories about how unsafe the city is and how I need to be hyper vigilant and truth be told you need to be careful in any city when you travel so I didn’t know what to expect with everyone over hyping this for me. What I ended up with is staying the longest in this so called un safe city and had the time of my life. Joburg I heart you and I will come back soon and hang out with you ok ? Till then here’s what I did, where I stayed and of course most importantly what and where I ate 🙂
Where I stayed
The Michelangelo Hotel – One of the nicest parts of travelling for me personally are the hotels. There are all types of travelers, the backpackers, the budget friendly, the luxurious, the over the top ones. I’m not sure where I fit ( definitely no backpacker ) but I will say this I love a good hotel. It might not always be in my budget, but I try to do at least one fancy night so I can enjoy myself. In Joburg I had the luxury of staying at the Michelangelo in Sandton as part of a trip, I enjoyed it so much that I stayed on post the trip and spent three additional nights there. The rooms are lovely. The breakfast is brilliant and it connects right into Sandton mall and two minutes away from the metro station.
Where I Ate
The Leopard – First night in and three crazy girls ( one local resident from Joburg, one crazy Spaniard and a tiny but loud Indian ) went to this funky restaurant called The Leopard and ate a LOT of food including a whole bird and plenty of wine. Great food and perfect for a meal out.
King James VII – A friend took me to this amazing little place for traditional Ethiopian food and it was insanely delicious. Simple, no fuss, everything is served to you on a plate and you can get refills. It was perfect. It’s always good to try and experiment and try something local and even though Ethiopia isn’t anywhere in South Africa, it was a different cuisine and worth exploring. ( I included this meal as one of the best ones I had in 2015 here )
Fisherman’s plate – My favourite discovery. This little obscure Taiwanese restaurant in Chinatown is a diners delight. Sizzling beef, prawns, noodles and rice with spicy chilli chicken all eaten with chopsticks in a tiny bowl.
What I Did
City tour bus ride – This one never gets old for me. I sat on the upper level of an open air bus freezing but had the best time driving though the city and getting a sense of what Johannesburg is all about. I’ve wirtten about my Hop on Hop Off bus rides in previous posts about Paris here and Rome here and it will always be one of my favourite things to do no matter how touristy or mainstream people might think it is.
Explore Maboneng – Without a doubt this is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Johannesburg if you ask me. It’s got trendy cafes, funky shops and just an over all great vibe. I’m told Sunday’s are the day to come here and spend the day exploring.
African Markets on Rosebank – Maybe a tad bit touristy but these markets are full of souvenirs and trinkets and there is enough to make your head spin! On the plus side, I met some very sweet locals who all seemed thrilled when I told them I was from India and I ended up having a great time chatting with them. If you’re looking to do a spot of shopping from family or friends back home, this would be a good spot to do it all at once!
Constitution Hill – This was originally an old fort that was converted into a prison and I feel an extremely important place to visit since it’s played such a prominent role in South Africa’s turbulent history. While today it is the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, at one time it was home to some famous prisoners like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. It’s not the cheerful tourist attraction but it is important and will give you a better understanding of South Africa today.
If you enjoyed this post read about my other tales from South Africa !