23 hour Joburg stay (twice)

Old Jan 17th, 2008, 01:39 PM
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23 hour Joburg stay (twice)

Hi, My mature 13-year-old daughter and I (her mother) are arriving in Joburg on March 21 at 8:30am and departing the following day at 8am on our way to Capetown. We return on the 29th at 6:20pm and depart the following day at 6pm. Where should we stay (nice but not too expensive) and what should we do for these two one-day stays? I know there is a hotel at the airport (Intercontinental) but it is $400 per night which is quite steep. I usually max out at $200.
I'd like to see the most significant historic spots and experience local culture (not shop). If there was an interesting tour we could sign up for that would help conserve our budget. We're very city-savy but I believe it's not safe to travel without an escort of some type here and I would consider renting a car but am open to all suggestions.

-Christine

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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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There are several not too far from ORT/JNB that are recommended. The only other one I have stayed at is the Southern Sun O R Tambo (JNB), a short easy shuttle hop. Very nice and in Sep 2007 the room for two was $140. I plan to stay there again next Sep.
Oh yes, there is one other we stayed at two years ago, a nice small B&B near airport. Double room about $60 -
http://www.dovesnest.co.za/index_fil...estShuttle.htm

regards - tom
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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I stay at Southern Sun O R Tambo too. Just great. Enjoy the complimentary evening juice, wine, cheese, olive, cracker, chutney bar.
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 02:16 PM
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Southern Sun has three hotels near the airport. One is the Intercontinental, within the airport that you could walk t, but is expensive. Their midrange property is the Southern Sun OR Tambo International Airport, and the budget choice is the Garden Court OR Tambo International Airport. I've stayed at the latter two and would recommend either one. There are shuttles to both properties just outside the international terminal, although they charged us for the Garden Court shuttle, as it's further away from the airport. You can find info about all the properties at www.southernsun.com. They may be able to set up a day tour for you, as well, but you might want to contact them in advance and find out. A few suggestions: Soweto tour, deWildt Cheetah Center, Lesedi Cultural Center, or (for the teen), Gold Reef City which is an amusement park with some history rolled in.
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 05:13 PM
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two thumbs up for the Southern Sun OR Tambo. Equally as comfortable and nice as the Intercontinental but at half the price.
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 05:30 PM
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Yep, have stayed at the Southern Sun ORT several times (and also when it was a Holiday Inn.) Highly recommended.
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 05:51 PM
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You might want to check out the three hotels in the Emperor's Palace complex just a 10 minute--and free--shuttle ride from the airport. It's a self contained, secure area with shops, a casino and restaurants. The D'Oreale Grande is the most luxurious offering. We stayed there and liked it but found we didn't need to spend that much for an overnight stay. The Mondior Concorde is the next level down. Still very nice with stylish if smaller rooms. We paid about $180 for the room, I believe. Even cheaper is the Metcourt Laurel, which has gotten positive reviews here. You can walk to catch the shuttle at the Interncontinental at Joburg airport.
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 08:15 PM
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we stayed at Metcourt Laurel and liked it. nothing fancy, but perfectly acceptable. it was around $100. it connects to a huge Vegas-like complex with shops, restaurants and entertainment, so at least somewhere to take a walk around in the evening. We also had a couple short stays in JNb. We rented a car and went to a Cheetah Reserve. It's about an hour drive and is fantastic! saw cheetahs, wild dogs, a lot of other animals. driving is easy and signs are plentiful. not sure if you feel you have enough time to do it. on another stopover, we went to Pretoria and walked around Union building gardens (it's the President's or Justice offices?). the gardens are lovely and very safe. nice views from there too. Pretoria is about 40 min drive on a straight highway.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 04:07 AM
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Cary999, Some follow up info on Dovesnest if you please. Is this in a decent neighborhood? Will we be able to get to a nearby restaurant for dinner or should we book the meal at DovesNest?

Considering staying here for a night in September. The web site looks good.

Lynnie
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Old May 28th, 2008, 04:32 AM
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Hi Christine
Remember that most hotels check in time is 14h00 and check out is 11h00. Should you wish to check in early morning some hotels require that you book the room to guarantee it, so in other words you are paying for two nights. Check out shouldn't really be a problem as most hotels have a lock up facility for your luggage while you are on tour.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 06:23 AM
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I was looking into the Dove's Nest also. I am sure Cary999 will give you more details when he returns mid June.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:32 AM
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I stayed at Afton Guest House for one night for a little over $100 for two. It was very nice and less than 15 minutes from the airport. A free shuttle service was provided both to and from the airport. They even got up early to take us to the airport for a 7:15 am flight. Breakfast is also provided.

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Old May 28th, 2008, 09:40 AM
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I haven't been to Johannesburg, but we thought we were going to be in the same situation, and I gathered a bunch of information. For what it is worth, I thought I'd pass the information I had gathered along. I don't have any personal experience with any of these operators or places, but maybe some other Fodorites will jump in. I was especially interested in visiting the Mai Mai market, but as mentioned below, I'm not sure if it is safe. (Because of the flight situation, we are now doing our overnight in Gaborone instead of Jo'Burg, so we're not going to be using any of this).

http://www.spearofthenation.co.za/ -- Tours led by historian Robin Binckes that come highly recommended by fodorites and other sources.

http://www.walktours.co.za/main_pages/main_lap.html -- Walking tours in Johannesburg; company owned by a woman named Beryl Porter. Mentioned in several articles on Johannesburg as interesting tours.

http://www.dewildt.org.za/index.htm -- Cheetah research sanctuary about an hour outside of Johannesburg.

http://www.joburg.org.za/content/view/308/52/ -- Article on the Mai Mai market. Looks like an extremely interesting place; question is whether it is safe.

http://www.computicket.com/booking/computicket/ -- Booking site for South Africa performing arts venues. Maybe you’ll be lucky and be able to catch the Soweto Gospel Choir while they are in town. This site is not very well organized and performance schedules seem to come online only shortly (as in a couple of weeks) before the events.

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Old May 28th, 2008, 01:23 PM
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If arriving at 8:30 am why dont you go to CPT the same day?
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 08:05 PM
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Lynnie - The Dovesnest was nice, comfy, run by a family. If I remember, the neighborhood was not much, sort of transition from airportish to residential. They did pick us up at JNB and took us back. Breakfast was served, not sure about other meals.

I'm also looking for a two night stay at JNB on my way to Kings Camp, first of Sep. My plan to stay at the So Sun ORT has been smashed since they now charge around $250 per night. Double what it was last year (2007) in Sept. At the moment I'm leaning towards the Metcourt Laurel because of the "activities" around it (something to do on my empty 2nd day before flying to KC). Anyone know if they have a shuttle to/from JNB? Or any other suggestions?

regards - tom
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 06:14 AM
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Tom: there is a free shuttle to and from the Metcourt Laurel that leaves about every 20 minutes in each direction.

From the airport it is a short walk to a shuttle station behind the Intercontinental. The Metcourt website has a map and directions and it is easy to find. It's only 5-10 minutes once on the shuttle which goes to the Metcourt, Mondior and D'Oreal Grande all at the Emperor's complex.
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 07:31 AM
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many thanks PB
tom
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 01:50 PM
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Thanks Tom. I think I will switch to the Metcourt Laurel as well.

Lynnie
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 01:57 PM
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Oops, maybe not. The general website states 510 zar for a double, when I go to book it is 1150 zar per night. I'm staying at the Dove's Nest I guess.

We do have the day free in Joburg until we depart at 8 pm, but have a guide picking us up at 8 am for a full day excursion to the Rosemead Craft fair, Soweto tour, Apartheid Museum, etc. So the neighborhood doesn't really matter as long as it is safe.
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Old Jun 30th, 2008, 06:39 AM
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I would highly recommend a visit to the Hector Pieterson Musuem in Soweto. It gives a detailed and very moving account of the 1976 student uprising and the Musuem is located in the area it happened.

Just google Hector Pieterson and you will find the story if you are not familiar with it.

You could combine this with a tour of Soweto. Would take maybe half a day.

Your hotel should be able to arrange this for you or you could take a taxi.
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