Accommodation / Attractions / Gauteng / Ten (10) to Inspire

Johannesburg – Eat, Do, Sleep in South Africa’s Most Vibrant City

Updated Thursday, 18 April 2024

More commonly known as Jo’burg, or Jozi, Johannesburg is a rapidly changing city considered the pulse of South Africa.

The hipster city, sited by Rough Guides as the number one city  to visit in 2015,  is sprawling, wired, culturally and historically rich, and the commercial heart of the country.

Where before its centre was somewhere you gave a wide berth, today down town is smartening up, with a number of urban-renewal projects that have put the inner city back on the map for tourists.

Johannesburg sprawls. It’s bigger than greater London in terms of area, and can feel hugely intimidating for those visiting for the first time.

Public transport is anything but straight forward, the city’s pace is frenetic at the best of times, worse at peak hour, and getting around can take hours if you don’t know where you’re going.

To explore its restless heart can feel overwhelming. We narrow it down for you…

Burkleigh House

S L E E P

LUXURY

The Peech Hotel

The Peech Hotel is Joburg’s ‘chic’ boutique hotel.

Situated at 61 North Street, in Melrose it offers sixteen bedrooms and suites, a Bistro restaurant with champagne bar and a boardroom and events space.

The hotel is swish and sexy … the ideal hangout for trendy travellers in the hunt for no-frills contemporary style.

Find out more or book at The Peech Hotel

CHARACTERFUL

Burkleigh House

This pretty guest house in Randburg is where French Provencal meets affordable, yet elegant, accommodation, the house draped in beautiful antiques that include a Mahogany cupboard that may have belonged to Cecil John Rhodes, and the added promise of alfresco breakfasts out on a garden patio.

There is little here that doesn’t please the eye. Book now at Burkleigh House.

Lethabo Estate

This extensive property in Lanseria lies on the verge of the Cradle of Humankind, designed with romance in mind.

From a cottage next to the river to a thatched boudoir tree house under the boughs of a willow, and a farmhouse that includes five en-suite rooms, everything about this retreat screams style with attitude. We know you’ll love your stay here. Click to visit Lethabo Estate.

Lethabo Estate

BUDGET

84 on Fourth Avenue

This Melville accommodation option is but a stone’s throw from the suburb’s trendy high street, its rooms artistically and elegantly furnished at such good prices, you’ll wonder at the sense of paying more elsewhere.

The courtyard garden steals the show. Book at 84 On Fourth Avenue.

Green Park Manor

This Green Park based guest house is set in amongst beautiful country gardens, with thatched roofs, sunny patios, a play of sunlight and glass, and simply, stylishly furnished rooms.

To find out more visit Green Park Manor.

D O

Braamfontein, Fordsburg and Maboneng

When business decamped to the northern suburbs the inner-city was left to decay, and decay it did. But recently parts of it have been dramatically transformed.

Maboneng has converted former industrial buildings into a hip and happening series of galleries, restaurants and weekend market; the Fordsburg precinct is regarded as the city’s interior design hub, and Newtown, with its galleries and theatre, is the city’s cultural precinct.

The Bioscope

Part of the Maboneng precinct, this only independent cinema in the city is worth a visit.

First Thursdays

An alternative way to explore art galleries and cultural events in Braamfontein, Rosebank and Maboneng on the first Thursday evening of every month. A must.

Hop-on-hop-off Red Bus

Possibly the best way to explore Johannesburg, the red open-top City Sightseeing bus is easy to use. The routes visit the major museums, attractions and inner-city in a combination that is at once cheap and safe.

Add the Soweto taxi tour for further adventure. Officially departs the Gautrain Park Station, but you can board at any stop.

Inner-city Walking Tours

There are some brilliant guided walking tours of the inner-city and other parts of Johannesburg.

Tops for us are DlalaNje, who specialise in tours of Ponte and Hillbrow (discover the truth about one of Jo’burg’s most misunderstood suburbs), and Past Experiences whose graffiti tours, amongst others, investigate the growing street art and graffiti scene.

The Bioscope at Maboneng

E A T

Restaurants tend to open and close with alarming regularity, so we’ve included the foodie areas that usually promise a good meal, whatever your needs.

Melville’s high street

is Jo’burg’s bohemian enclave, where quirky meets good food, and chain restaurants are anathema. You can’t go wrong if something different, tasty and colourful is on the agenda.

Foodie markets

the food market scene in Johannesburg is as big as that in Cape Town and there is plenty to choose from. Best for breakfasts and lunch.

Don’t Miss: Neighbourgoods market, Bryanston Organic Market, Bamboo Farmers’ Market, Blu Bird Wholefoods Market,The Sheds@1Fox, Fourways Farmers’ Market, Jozi Real Food Market, and Market on Main.

Maboneng precinct

is an equally good bet when it comes to food and drink hole offerings.

44 Stanley

is another resuscitated industrial complex, now a courtyard eating experience surrounded by trendy design boutiques and coffee shops, in Milpark.

Greenside

is great for interesting food and the pub scene.

Fordsburg

for curries and Indian cuisine, but not on Fridays during prayers.

The Parks

Parktown North, Parkview, Parkhurst – for high street vibe, varied eateries and a great vibe.

Norwood’s Grant Avenue

fast becoming as hip as Melville’s 7th Avenue.

Melrose Arch

V I S I T

And for some extra bonus material, we’ve included some of the highlights for any visit to Johannesburg:

Culture:

The Market Theatre, Soweto Theatre, Wits Art Museum

History:

Constitution Hill, Apartheid Museum, Vilakazi Street

Views:

Carlton Centre

Outdoors:

Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, Melville Koppies, Emmarentia

Johannesburg Botanical Garden

Jozi Travel Plans

Constitutional Court

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