Johannesburg, also known as Jozi, Joburg and sometimes even Joeys, is the South Africa’s largest city. The mining city is world-renowned for its gold mines and reserves. It is one of the 50 largest metropolitan cities in the world; and the world’s largest city that is not situated on a river, lake or even a coastline.
Owing to South Africa being located below the Tropic of Capricorn (in the Southern Hemisphere), Johannesburg enjoys summers from October to April and winters from May to September. Given the city’s high altitude the temperatures are usually fairly mild. Ironically winter has the sunniest days, with only the occasional frost. So we suggest you plan your trip between the months of May and September.
Johannesburg is a city that drips with culture, history, art, nature and adventure. From the Apartheid Museum to Nelson Mandela’s home in Madiba, from the Emmarentia Dam and Botanical Gardens to Jozi X, a place for extreme sports enthusiasts – Johannesburg can most definitely be hailed as a maximum city.
Part of the developing Mabonneng precinct, the 12 Decades Hotel is a boutique hotel that has splendidly captured the history of Johannesburg in its rooms. The hotel boasts of 12 rooms designed by local artists and designers (one room per designer); each room is inspired by a decade in the city’s history, starting from the Gold Rush of 1886. As soon as you step into the hotel, you are immediately taken in by the funky designs, bold colours, and the keen utilisation of space. You could probably be walking into history, retold to us by Pablo Picasso and Frank Lloyd Wright!
Our favourite room is ‘The House that Jack Built’. Local designer Kim Stern tells us the story of the rise of boxing in Johannesburg. She has quite masterfully created a box of plywood in the room. The plywood infuses a sense of warmth and gives the room a cosiness that is further enhanced by the collection of gold knickknacks and artefacts which are spread throughout the room.
“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
You will understand the depth of Nelson Mandela’s golden words when you set foot into the Apartheid Museum. Opened in the year 2001, the museum chronicles the rise and fall of the apartheid movement in South Africa.
An architectural consortium of several eminent architectural firms designed the building, which takes the visitor through an emotional and heart-wrenching journey. The museum tells the world about how South Africa is coming to terms with its oppressive history and working towards a future that is unanimously for all.
Celebrate Art & History
Arts on Main, in the Maboneng Precinct of Johannesburg can most easily be likened to a walk down the annals of South African history; history that is now being celebrated by way of breathing new life into old warehouses. Spanning across 4500 sq.mts, it combines studio, commercial, residential and retail spaces into a renovated warehouse (built way back in 1911). A small array of stores dedicated to selling South African fashion, décor, books and art supplies can also be found here.
If you are an artist and in need of inspiration, or a connoisseur of art, Arts on Main houses some of the finest South African contemporary art galleries, with a variety of modern art from the brushstrokes of Kim Lieberman among others. Bailey’s African History Archives holds nearly 40 years of South African history in its photographs. Talk about taking a walk down memory lane! Arts on Main also features exhibitions, installations, dance, music and poetry recitals, book readings, film screenings and lectures.
Lights, Camera. . . Tapas & Wine!
Sitting pretty on the 22nd floor of the South Point Towers, Randlords in Braamfontein with its idyllic 360o view over Johannesburg, will easily take your breath away; not to mention tantalise your taste-buds!
An exclusive rooftop bar and lounge, with floor-to-floor and wall-to-wall glass, Randlords comes alive at night and is ideal for cocktail dinners.
Scrumptious menus with a tailored wine and beverage list make for a perfect dinner party. Oh, and we did mention the Tapas, didn’t we? One of the specialties at Randlords, make sure you combine your Tapas with a wine from the Sommelier-chosen wine list. Just remember to dress in your finest. You may bump into a Heidi Klum or a David Beckham!
Text By Priyanka S. Menon