Johannesburg

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Oct 28th, 2014, 01:49 PM
  #1
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Johannesburg

Three days there from the long flight from the USA so first day is jet lag then what suggestions do you have. We are booked at the Maritime Bushveld Estate and don't know
how easy it is to get to the MIT or the Apartheid Museum or even a golf course for a round of golf in South Africa. What will these cost and what are your suggestions for 2 days at least.
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Oct 28th, 2014, 07:29 PM
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Hi cherylbr,

I had to look up the Maritime Bushveld Estate as I have never heard of it. May I ask the reason you chose to stay there? This isn't an area tourists typically stay when visiting Johannesburg and without a car it is going to be quite inconvenient and far for getting around. Your hotel may be able to help organize some activities or transfers but it probably won't be cheap.

I already answered on a separate thread about activites for you. What are you referring to with MIT ? The Apartheid Museum could be reached on the Big Red Bus which I mentionned on the other thread. I can't give you any info about golf sorry, but with so much to see in Joburg is that really a priority for you? If yes maybe someone else can help there.

To keep everything in one place, I'll cut and paste my prior response here:

--------------------------------------------
Hi Cherylbr,

I have been living in Joburg for the past year and there is a lot to do here. Getting around is a bit tough without a car, and you don't mention where you are staying but maybe your hotel can help you with taxis or a driver.

Soweto is a must. A really fun way to experience it is on a bike. Check out : http://www.sowetobicycletours.com/

We did the 4 hour tour, which is great but you don't get the time to visit the museums which was fine for us as we can go back, but you may want to look at the all day tour where they are included. You can see some photos from our tour on my blog here:

http://underanafricansun.com/2014/06/17/soweto-by-bike/

Another thing that I recommend is the Big Red Bus Tour. This is a fantastic way to see some of the sites in and around the CBD (Central Business District). They have 12 stops total, but you won't be able to see them all in one day. Their website is here:

http://www.citysightseeing.co.za/joburg.php

Don't miss the stop at the Carlton Centre for the 360° panoramic views. There is also the Apartheid Museum (we went back later and spent over 4 hours here) and Constitution Hill (highly recommended though I haven't personally visited yet). The Mining district was also interesting but I only recommend it if you are visiting on the weekday as the area was deserted on the weekend. My blog post about our visit is here:

http://underanafricansun.com/2013/12...e-big-red-bus/

There are also some fun food markets to visit if you are here on the right days. Braamfontein and the Neighbourgoods Market on a Saturday:

http://www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za/johannesburg

Sundays is Market on Main:

http://marketonmain.co.za/

Those are my favourites but there are others too such as the newly opened [email protected]: http://www.1fox.co.za/ that is receiving rave review but I haven't had time to visit yet.


There are a lot of walking tours around the city to get to know some of the areas of the city more difficult to visit on your own. I highly recommmend Ancient Secrets if there is a tour during your visit (they are only offered about every 2 weeks, usually on a Saturday or Sunday). The facebook page is here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/africansecrets/

We have done about 6 of these tours and they are always fantastic. I have written about 3 of them so far here:

http://underanafricansun.com/tag/ancient-secrets/

There are others with good reviews but as I haven't done them yet I can't personally recommend them but you can also check out Dlala Nje http://www.dlalanje.org/ or Past Experiences http://pastexperiences.co.za/

There is of course much more but I hope that gives you some ideas to start with. Have a great stay in Joburg and South Africa and let me know if you have any other questions, I'll be glad to try and help.
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Oct 29th, 2014, 03:56 PM
  #3
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kellyee21,

I am so lucky you read my post. You are a wealth of information. Our stay was chosen for us as part of a package trip. All the lodgings are owned by the same family I believe. We were afraid the location is not good to do things without paying a taxi. They sent us a list of
tours we can sign up for but wondered if this is the real price or the one set by them with the transport and all. I'm sure they are wonderful and they have lots of choices like...Soweto and Apartheid Museum R2300 per couple. Cullinan Diamond Mine 5 hours- R2600 couple R3600
underground tour. Johannesburg City and Apar Museum 8 hours @2400. etc. We have no idea if these are regular prices or if we would be better to hire a taxi (it says 10min to town)
and go on our own. What is your thought on this from what I sent so far.
We love biking and have done bike tours so the bike idea I will look into. I haven't read any of your sites yet. The other tours offered are Lesedi Cultural Village, Pretoria City, Gold Reef City, adn animal parks which we are saving for later. The golf sounded totally outside the box for us and cheaper than any of these tours by far. Will be reading your sites and waiting for your response. We will be in your town Nov. 9th and 10th Sunday and Monday. We arrive on Saturday.
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Oct 29th, 2014, 07:04 PM
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kellyee21,
Forgot to answer your question on MIT. Remembered it wrong. The museum is WIT or WAM on the campus downtown. Read great reviews on this art museum. If we are doing a city tour of Johannesburg would we get close to this area?
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Oct 29th, 2014, 09:11 PM
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Hi cherylbr,

Are those tour prices the price of a private or group tour ? In any case, it is quite expensive by South African standards, but that may be the going rate for an all-inclusive tour. I really can't say as I have never done one like that here, as we just drive ourselves. To give you just a guideline, the Ancient Secrets tours are 140 ZAR per person for a 3-4 hour tour but of course that doesn't include transport and it is also a group tour.

Your hotel is no way 10 minutes from the city centre if that is what they are referring to (where most of the things are that you are looking at doing). You are possibly 10 minutes from Montecasino (about 7 km from you) if there is absolutely no traffic (I live very close to there). WAM is 35-40 km from your hotel, and yes it is pretty much the city centre though I can't say if this is included in the tour you are looking at. I have heard great things about it and it is on my to-do list for sure. Under ideal conditions this would take about 35 minutes and it could be possibly double that in rush hour traffic.

The thing with the taxis here in Joburg is that it is not recommended to just jump in any one on the street, you really will have to arrange this in advance. Uber has recently come to Joburg and that you could do safely but I am not sure if it would really save you much from arranging a private transfer. Just a guess but I am thinking it would be around 400-500 ZAR each way from your hotel to the city center with a private transfer. The only one I have used is Guardian Travel and from my home to the airport I pay 430 ZAR one way. I am about a little bit closer than your hotel, about 6-7 km closer, and that would be a similiar distance for you to go to the city centre. I know they do other transfers as well so you could try and contact them and see what they can offer. Their website is :

http://www.guardiantravel.co.za/

I think the best thing to do is figure out what you really want to see, get some quotes for just the transfers and then do the math and decide what is better for you.

Your trip is coming soon, you are lucky that the beautiful jacarandas are in full bloom now (still should be when you arrive). I am flying back into Tambo on the same day as you from Paris on Air France, we aren't by any chance on the same flight?

Hope this helps. I am leaving for a business trip this weekend but I will try and check back on this thread when I can.

Kelly
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Oct 31st, 2014, 05:22 AM
  #6
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Kellyee21,
Not on same flight. Or I would have had to stand up and ask for you. Ha,
We fly in from London.
I asked the Estate if golf was possible since I found a groupon for 2 or 1 at this one course.
She inquired and gave me a price for what they could do to make it happen and now I see what each tour includes. Yes it looks like we are a private tour. With food in the car and we pay for them to wait to return us. The golf got much more expensive than I thought, too. We travel a lot in a cheaper method usually, and have seen markets, the London Walking tours, and such.
So my husband is thinking the diamond mine tour and I am thinking the UNESCO caves. Will choose one and then maybe stay on the grounds and feel like we are in South Africa natural.
Would this be a total waste. Our lodgings only has 8 rooms so thinking it could be very quaint. Tell me really your first reaction to this.
They are doing a outdoor fire diner for us Sunday night with another guest couple. Otherwise the Cullinan Diamond Mine is 5 hours, Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng is 8 hours. Do we do both and forgot how much it costs or choose one.
Safe travels to you this weekend. Cheryl
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Oct 31st, 2014, 07:51 AM
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Hi Cheryl,

That's too bad we aren't on the same flight, it would have been fun to meet you.

You ask if I think it would be a total waste... well, if it was me, and I had allocated 3 days of my valuable vacation time to Joburg, I would want to see Joburg. Granted, it is not for everyone and many people pass it up when coming to South Africa. To be honest, before moving here, I had spent over 10 weeks of holiday time in South Africa on 3 separate trips. When I stepped off the plane to move here (exactly one year ago today ) it was the very first time I had gotten further than Tambo. But, since you are already going to be here, why not go ahead and see Joburg? The history and culture is very rich here, and what I find makes it even more so is knowing a good deal of the history is pretty recent and was taking place during my lifetime. I think it is amazing to see how far things have come in the past 20 years.

We may have different interests so the Diamond Mine or Caves would not be at the top of my list of things to do here, but that's just my opinion. I hope whatever you do decide you will have a wonderful trip.

If you have any other questions, just ask and please let me know how everything works for you. Safe travels to you too !
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Nov 1st, 2014, 11:43 AM
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bookmarking, thanks
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Nov 1st, 2014, 11:53 PM
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I agree with kellyee21. Having been to Joburg for the past 3 Christmases and couple times before that, we always enjoyed staying in Sandton City for a night or two, there are many hotels for all budgets, lots of restaurants where you can walk to from your hotel, a large shopping mall. You can easily rent a car from OR Tambo or take the skytrain to Sandton City. Or you can pick up a rental car in Sandton City itself. We prefer to stay closer to Joburg and go places from there.

Having said that, you are close to some nice spots from where you are staying eg the lake/dam at Hartbeespoort where you can take a hot air balloon trip at Magaliesburg or go to the Elephant Sanctuary. You can also reach Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves. The tours to the Diamond Mines or downtown JNB have never appealed to us. Renting a car with GPS will give you the freedom to explore without expensive tour groups. There are golf courses near and in Sun City but that is about 2 hours away from where you are staying or closer ones at Magaliesburg.

I know you said you are leaving animal parks for elsewhere, it would be a pity not to see the Lion Park which is very close to the Estate.

As already mentioned above, taxis are not something you should take without it being prearranged, even then I don't particularly like using them. Much prefer rental car although that is not entirely risk free either, I still think it is safer.
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Nov 3rd, 2014, 04:58 AM
  #10
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Monday morning and still pondering all our options. Before I read you two replies this morning my husband and I said maybe forget the mines and caves and go with the cheaper tour of Joh.
since we are there. Like when in Rome do what the Romans do. But said I will wait and read my newest comments and then decide.
So......very good that your responses matched our latest thoughts. These are the tour options we have. Soweto 4 hours // Apartheid Mu 4 hours // Sow and Aparth. 8 hours // Johan. City 4 hours // Johan. and Apar Mu 8 hours // Rhino and Lion Park ( includes Wonder caves) 6 hours //or Sterkfontein Caves, Rhino and Lion Park 8hours.

This long list left out other cities and the hot air ballon safari. Hope your travels are going well.
4 more days til we start our adventure. Oh. Where will I look for jacarandas and how would you describe them. Going to look them up. Had to cut and paste the word. Lots of a's and only a's.
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Nov 3rd, 2014, 05:06 AM
  #11
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Wow, I just saw what a Jacaranda Tree is. They are beautiful!! The city that gets most talk with them is Pretoria, which is one of the tours (5 hours) we could choose. Sounds like it has lots of history also. Thoughts???? Just when we were getting close to deciding.
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