Is J'Burg worth seeing?

Jul 23rd, 2003, 06:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 52
Is J'Burg worth seeing?

We are planning a trip to South Africa next year and our time will be limited. We are going to Capetown and are wondering whether this is much to see/do in J'Burg? Is it worth a stop for a couple of days?

Suggestions/feedback appreciated..
george_scott is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2003, 06:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I would only suggest Johannesburg if you were going to be stuck there for at least one night in order to get to Botswana, Zambia or Zimbabwe.

More than likely if you are going to those places, you will be required to spend one night in Johannesburg in order to get an early start the next day (unless you like spending $500 USD+ to arrive so late that you miss your game drives). If you are already in Joburg for one night, then I would strongly a second night so you can see Soweto and enjoy Sandton Square.

Depending on your time limitations, it is worthwhile to explore a South African game reserve AND a game reserve in either Zimbabwe, Zambia or Botswana. The South African game reserves are much more commercialized and while they are still a lot of fun, it is really a nice contrast to experience a game reserve in one of the three other countries in order to get a more genuine safari experience.

I do suggest that you try to go in low season, if possible, to get better rates. You can really save a lot of money in South Africa between May and September, although I was told at Djuma Vuyatela that August was the worst month due to windy conditions that blow dust all around.

If you do end up going to Joburg, I strongly recommend the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton Square. A Soweto half day tour is recommended as is time just enjoying yourself in Sandton Square with the shopping, restaurants and (live) theater (the Liberty Theater is a two minute walk from the Michelangelo Hotel).

Good luck.
Roccco is offline  
Jul 24th, 2003, 02:10 AM
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All of Roccco's points are valid, and Jozi doesn't have any traditional tourist sites - most people do use it as a transit hub.

It all depends on what you are interested in. Jozi has a number of really unique qualities - you just need to look a little deeper and also slightly differently. At heart it is the city built on a pile of gold, and the gold rush, driven-to-succeed approach characterises many residents. There is also great charm and diversity. Jozi:
has the largest man-made forest in the world;
has the only place where you can go down a mineshaft and see how gold ore is mined;
has the BEST market - Rosebank on Sundays & public holidays;
offers the most spectacular highveld thunderstorms in summer;
puts up the most amazing sunset displays (thank-you air pollution!);
has glorious former Randlord homes on Linksfield and Westcliff ridges;
is a stones throw away from the fossils in the Cradle of Humankind;
is the powerhouse of the economy and dare I say Africa;
offers the vibe of Soweto;
has the best Africa theme restaurant in the form of Moyo (was there on Saturday and was thrilled yet again);
gives an excellent view of the Rainbow Nation with all its contradictions;
is a permanent retail fiesta!

If you want a break from admiring the scenery or spotting wildlife (although some of the Jozi nightlife does fall into that category!), then you could enjoy 2 or 3 days in "The Big Smoke" or "Gangsta's Paradise" (from the vehicle registration numbers which end in GP).
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
Jul 24th, 2003, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Traci, you make me homesick! (Can I call it that when I only lived there for 3 months?) All the vibe, as the South Africans say, of the place keeps calling me! We skipped Jo'burg on our last trip, but we won't omit it next time. It's worth it for the restaurants alone!

But for a traveler with time constraints, I would say skip Johannesburg on your first trip.
Celia is offline  
Jul 24th, 2003, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Traci local,

Please tell me more about That Africa themed restaurant.It sounds like it would be great. Where is it located? We will be staying at the Grace, could we get to it easily from there? We won't have a car but maybe could take a taxi. Thanks
Dottie is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 12:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 251

Celia, the restaurant selection is getting better and better. I've increased my exercise regimen to stave off the extra kilo's because I cannot resist some of the lovely places on offer!
Dottie - the restaurant is called "Moyo". It is situated in a complex called Melrose Arch and is very well known. It gets quite busy so I suggest that you ask the Grace to make a reservation for you at least a week to 10 days in advance. You'll be able to take a taxi easily from the Grace to Moyo, the trip will take only about 10 minutes. The decor has heavy north African influences, and the food is from all over the continent. My favourite is the East African fish curry, and leave room for the chocolate, cinnamon and cardamon cake = heavenly! You get all sorts of wonderful game dishes as well. They are not shy with the prices, but it is worth it. Lunch on Saturday with main course and dessert (but no alcohol) cost R140 per person.
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
Jul 25th, 2003, 04:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20
See and to get an idea of Moyo - have not yet been there myself . We, however, went to the Kilimanjaro Club (www.clubkilimanjaro) and The Meat Company at Melrose Arch recently, both of which were quite enjoyable.
Local_John is offline  
Jul 29th, 2003, 05:37 AM
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Thanks everyone!!
george_scott is offline  

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