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Johannesburg this week - weather, must sees etc?

(30 Posts)
Blu Sun 04-Feb-07 16:15:35

I'm off on a work trip this week. I won't have much free time, but on the off chance that I have a couple of hours, what should I do? And what should i buy? I might have some time on Sunday.
And how warm will it feel?

Blu Mon 05-Feb-07 09:28:50


prettybird Mon 05-Feb-07 09:42:10

It'll be very warm - but may be cooler at night (you are at altitude).

Go the Market Square - lots of stalls and very vibrant. Just look after your bag and don't be too ostentatious with any jewellery, cameras etc.

In terms of souvinirs: African sculpures - wooden or stone, are good. Also try some of the wine!

Sorry I can't be of more help with Jo'burg - we tend to arrive at the airport and drive north to where my aunt lives.

dejags Mon 05-Feb-07 09:42:24

Very warm Blu (expect 25C-30C)

Whereabouts in JHB will you be staying? Will you have a car?

dejags Mon 05-Feb-07 09:43:24

Where is Market Sq PB?

Blu Mon 05-Feb-07 09:51:48

No car - will tell you the hotel later!
I would guess not madly humid, then, because of teh altitude?
The temperature sounds lovely!

foxinsocks Mon 05-Feb-07 09:53:21

where are you staying?

it depends what you like really - there's an apartheid museum (think it's near gold reef city) - a Lion Park a little further out - some fantastic local markets. Depends how far you want to travel and where you're staying.

Have you been before (to Jhb)? You do need to be security aware when you are there (I lived/worked there for several years).

foxinsocks Mon 05-Feb-07 09:55:03

also watch out for afternoon storms - fantastic tropical storms (often electric) that can be very quick (not always though) and then the sun comes back and you'd swear it had never been raining!

Blu Mon 05-Feb-07 09:58:09

I'll find out which area I will be staying / meeting in a bit later today, and let you know. I will be visiting the Market Theatre on one day- and in the company of some S Africans who are young adults - so they will clue me in about security, etc. I suppose. I won't be carrying a laptop or significant cash, anyway.

foxinsocks Mon 05-Feb-07 09:58:36

it's not humid in Jhb - it's like a dry heat (much more comfortable). Only gets humid right before it rains. Should be early thirties/late twenties. I've got a fair few friends and family out there if you get stuck for something to do (can ask them where some of the nicer drinking spots are if you like).

It'll be hard without a car. You may want to hire one.

Blu Mon 05-Feb-07 09:58:48

That's helpful - i'll take a little fold-up brolly!

foxinsocks Mon 05-Feb-07 10:02:45

Very exciting! You'll be fine if you're meeting people out there. The Market theatre is fabulous - played a role in the anti-apartheid movement.

Blu Mon 05-Feb-07 10:07:48

I'd be interested to see the apartheid museum.
I'd LOVE to go to the lion park, but it sounds as if that would take a whole day, and I think any spare time will be of a couple of hours rather than a whole day.
It's a project comnnected with young people / arts / education...I don't think I will be in a swish hotel. Are things like drinks / snacks / taxis very exensive compared to london? Could I leap in a cab anywhere in the city and say 'the apartheid museum please' and not have to re-mortgage my house?

foxinsocks Mon 05-Feb-07 10:10:58

Unfortunately, you REALLY don't want to be leaping into cabs anywhere - especially if you are staying in downtown Joburg (most visitors are now put up in Sandton or Rosebank way) and don't go on public transport. Hopefully the people you are meeting will ferry you around. You really have to jack up your security levels.

The Lion Park isn't that far out, nor is the Apartheid Museum but it depends where you are staying. Joburg is a VAST city with wide spread suburbs - it's very easy to travel around though because there are lots of highways and what we'd consider a long distance in this country, doesn't take much time over there iyswim.

foxinsocks Mon 05-Feb-07 10:19:53

normally the hotels will organise sight seeing ventures - otherwise, get them to organise someone to take you to these places. Have just checked and both the Lion Park and the Apartheid Museum (which does look like it's right next to Gold Reef City which is a sort of theme park based on the theme of Gold mining, went there a few times for work (drinking!) events and school trips!) are within easy reach of wherever you'll be staying.

Here's a good site

prettybird Mon 05-Feb-07 11:07:00

Market Square is beside Market Theatre. I have to admit though that it is years since I went there.

Don't know about taxis (have always had a hire car) but drinks and snacks are not expensive compared to London. You can eat very well and still be suprised at how cheap it is. The exchange rate helps!

Blu Mon 05-Feb-07 11:45:31

Ok - You are right, I am staying in Rosebank, the hotel looks v nice, and says that the Lion park is close hopefully I could fit in that and the museum on the day before I leave.

The organisers have now put together a whole itinerary for visiting the Market Theatre, a performance etc, all beginning 'Our driver will pick you up in your hotel...' so that takes care of security and my reckless habit of getting on buses all over the world!

I'm looking forward to the market square, too.

I will report back!

Thank you everyone for your help.

foxinsocks Mon 05-Feb-07 11:48:27

oooh I'm excited for you Blu.

There is a FABULOUS roof top flea market in Rosebank - think it is on a Sunday (just checked and it is - Sundays and bank holiday). It's on top of Rosebank Mall. Really worth a visit. Used to go there myself a fair bit when I lived there.

Blu Mon 05-Feb-07 11:57:49

Yes, I'm all excited too, now. I had imagined that I would be stuck in a city centre amongst office buildings and seeing nothing, but there's going to be lots, right on my doorstep! ! I have just printed out the 'flea market' page from the site you linked - I will be able to go to that early on Sunday, and then I'm quite interested in the Walter Sisulu Gardens. And there will be an afternoon in the meetings schedule which should enable a trip to the apartheid museum. Or something!

foxinsocks Mon 05-Feb-07 12:01:52

you'll have to report back - would love to here how you get on. They make lovely children's clothes in SA. V light cotton - great for our summers (I can never find that light cotton over here).

foxinsocks Mon 05-Feb-07 12:02:06


Blu Thu 15-Feb-07 11:59:10

OK, I'm back - so an update especially for FoxInSocks and others who gave such good advice!
I had a great time - and re`ally enjoyed the sense of a young country which is definitley on the change. I know they just opened parliament with lots of speeches about the terrifying crime rate, but many peope I spoke to said that the bad old days of the city centre have passed - and certainly I walked (with someone else) around the area near the university, Newtown and the Market Theatre and another business district I'm not sure of the name of. But mostly they engaged drivers for us - who all added thier own 'take' on life in RSA. I visited Soweto and the Hector Pieterson Museum, and met lots of locals - all extremely friendly. Ditto in a fantastic project that I visited in Alexandra. Great shows at the Market Theatre, and I went to the Walter Sisulu Park and saw rare Black Eagles flying, and went on the 4km 'geological walk' which gave a tiny tiny glimpse into the s African countryside. Also made it to the Sunday morning craft market at rosebank - brilliant atmosphere, not crowded or claustrophobic...but not particularly cheap, even after some bargaining!
Everyone was just so friendly! And even though market traders do a reasonable hard sell, they don't put on unpleasant pressure, and remain warm and cheery in the face of a friendly and polite 'not today, thanks'.

I did manage to spend lots of time in meetings, but the early start to the business day means you can get lots done afterwards.

The only downside is that as soon as I got home I came down with a horrible diarrohea bug which has kept me in bed since Monday...only just finding my strength again.

foxinsocks Fri 16-Feb-07 12:41:45

oh Blu, I'm so pleased you had a good time! Sorry to hear you've been ill - wonder if it was from something you ate. Hope you're better.

Was the weather good for you?

Blu Fri 16-Feb-07 13:26:58

The weather was ideal...lovely and warm / hot - a few quick heavy showers, but I didn't really notice it. The last afternoon in the park was a glorious day, not a wisp of cloud in the sky - I wasn't particularly disciplined with the sunscreen, but didn't burn either.

They do a great range in frozen smoothies, frozen coffes etc - and i enjoyed the fantastic fresh fruit.

I think the bug may have come from the big salad i had on Sunday lunchtime - ill-washed salad is a Usual Suspect, I think! Otherwise airport food.

I'd love to see more of the country one day.

Blu Fri 16-Feb-07 13:28:08

What years were you there, Foxinsocks?

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