I’ll be honest with you. I had feared the worst when I was invited to visit Johannesburg.
I have a friend from Durban. When I first found that I was visiting South Africa, I naturally reached out to him.
He was excited to hear about my impending visit to his homeland. However he did raise an eyebrow when I mentioned to him that I was spending a few days in Johannesburg. ( only 1 day in Durban )
He painted the picture of Jo’burg being a post-apocalyptic city where criminals roam the streets.
However he did admit that it had been a few years since he had visited the city.
Maybe it was a Durban-Joburg thing. Just like the Edinburgh-Glasgow thing.
So in reality what was Johannesburg like?
There are still pockets of crime in the city and a few no-go areas. Everywhere you go you have to be on your guard and be self-aware. This rule applies to any city you visit in the world.
After spending 2 days in the city, I wasn’t a witness to any sort of crime.
I really enjoyed my time here.
Jo’burg felt like a city keen to welcome tourists and meet the rest of the world.
It’s still rough on the edges and getting back on it’s feet.
It reminded me a bit of Berlin and Glasgow.
Jo’burg is a city that is being shaped in front of your eyes. You can see change everywhere -flush of new bars, cafes, refurbished apartments, cool hostels popping up for business.
I had the privilege of meeting so many talented , creative people- artists, film makers, photographers, designers during my brief stay here. End of the day, it’s the people that make the city. Which is what makes Jozi special.
Hopefully the pictures I took, will convey some of the amazing energy and creative zest this city possesses. I’ve also created a Spotify playlist which is partly inspired by my trip and also pays tribute to musicians who have their roots in this city. ( Jozi people- Love to hear your feedback about my choice of songs )
Press play and enjoy this virtual trip through this exciting city.
This is Casper, talented filmmaker ( @StoryTravelers ) savouring his gourmet beef burger at the Wolfpack-situated on Parkhurst’s 4th avenue , this bar draws in a nice mix of locals and tourists with their winning combo of craft beer and gourmet burgers.
The farmhouse at Liliesleaf Farm- once a secret hideout for ANC activists, the farm today functions as a museum, powerfully recreating the life of Mandela and fellow ANC members leading upto the dramatic events of the police raid. This is a beautiful memorial within the complex dedicated to the people who sacrificed their lives to liberate South Africa from apartheid.
Orlando Towers- formerly a decommissioned coal fired power station in Soweto, South Africa,the twin water cooling towers are now home to the largest mural painting in South Africa and also serves as a bungee +base jump platform.
Walking through the streets of Soweto…
Ngiawabonga! Charles Zulu -one of Soweto’s friendly ambassadors showing me his Zulu combat pose
This is Phefeni Senior Secondary school in Soweto. On June 16th, 1976 the students of this school initiated a protest march for the removal of Afrikaans language teaching in schools of Soweto, marching from Naledi High towards the Orlando Police Station, when on the way they clashed with the Police. Hundreds of youths lost their lives during this protest. 16th June is now Youth Day in South Africa to commemorate the turning point in the struggle against the Apartheid system.
Now I can say….
The contortionist. One of the many unique characters you will meet in Soweto..
Welcome to the hipster’s republic of Maboneng
Little Addis on Fox Street is a must try food experience. Serving their famous meat and veggie combo injera platters as well as several traditional ethiopian delicacies, Kassa’s kitchen serves up delicious and hearty meals from Tuesday – Sunday.
Sundays in Maboneng Precinct: place is buzzing with characters…
Sundays at Market on Main in Maboneng Precinct are amazing. You have salsa dancing on the rooftop bar, arts and crafts fair in an old warehouse and….chance to have a tasty lunch at tons of excellent food stalls spread throughout the complex. Great place.
Arts on Main
‘I was shot in Joburg’ Cool tee is from a cool Joburg project that gets kids off the street , teaching them photography skills & also giving them an income
Perfect place to end the day in Maboneng is high up on the rooftop of Main Change – Living Room, an eco bar/cafe which offers tasty snacks, drinks and stunning panoramic views of Jozi.
Next day went for a walk around Maboneng and downtown JHB with a few local instagrammers. First stop was this epic Mandela mural – ‘Shadow boxer’ by graffiti artist Ricky Lee Gordon.
Meet the instagrammers of Johannesburg.
Instgramming the instagrammer- Roy Wrench, one of the top Instagrammers of South Africa instagramming the lovely AfricanRedHead
Yellow, black and blue
This is keen instagrammer and film student, Miklas Manneke. His honours film project, Kanyekanye was selected as a finalist at The Student Academy awards, won The Audience Choice Award at The Chicago International Film Festival and has recently gone on to screen and win at many festivals around the world.
Need a break from the artsy scene of Maboneng? Pop into the macabre and eerie Trophy Room at Zebra Inn -( 252 Market Street) where you can expect animal heads, red faced drinkers and cheap beers…
Where to stay- This is the cool Hideout Bar situated in the cool trendy Curiosity backpackers – a brand new affordable hostel for curious urbanites from all over the world to explore Joburg’s hidden treasures,
My trip Johannesburg was courtesy of South Africa Tourism office and part of the #MeetSouthAfrica campaign which is supported and managed by iambassador. As always, I maintain full editorial control of the content published on this site.
Hi I am Kash aka the BudgetTraveller
I'm the Luxury Hostels guy and for the last 11 years are sharing ways of how you can travel in style on a budget. Say hello to me here or on Instagram/Twitter. Lets connect!
Some nice pix, but Maboneng does not really represent what the inner city is all about – If you have a chance look at this Flickr album of mine. I’ve trawled this amazing city on my own for years with expensive camera gear and NOT ONCE had I been accosted, murdered or robbed https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157623313116530/
Great pictures Derek. True. I feel Maboneng was the tip of the iceberg. Still so much of the city to discover….I have to revisit Jozi soon
I love the idea of I got shot in Joburg! I have always been meaning to make it to South Africa especially as my sister went there a few years back and my parents used to work in Zimbabwe and travelled there many times. The photos are a great insight to life there, I love the colours and how even in one city there are so many different sides to it.
Great project. As Derek’s pictures show ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157623313116530/ ) still so much of the city that I have to explore. Hope you do revisit and #meetsouthafrica soon. Great country and amazing people.
I was sceptical about visiting Joburg too and then I enjoyed it a lot! I spent only one full day there and it really felt like not enough. your pictures just proved I have to go back there to explore more of the city! despite its bad reputation it really is a great destination that people shouldn’t be afraid of!
Definitely deserves more than a day. I still did not see many other parts of the city so am planning a revisit soon. Funny when you expect less…how you end up getting more out of something 🙂
Great Pics indeed, it actually help me with my navigation through the city as I have few projects lined up before going back to my city of Mahikeng. Atleast I’m going to spend a year in Jozi & that means I’ll have more to see & learn. Thank u very much.
Glad to hear my pictures were of some inspiration. Enjoy your year in Jozi.
loving it but if you’d got to the Afrikan Freedom Station in Westdene you would know where the heart is; check it out next time.
Thanks for the tip -will be sure to check it out on my next trip Jo’burg!
Very cool post Kash! I’m so looking forward to heading to South Africa next month for my 3 month research stay in Cape Town. I’ll be sure to trot over to Joburg for a visit…love the I was shot in Joburg campaign concept as well. Cheers!
You are in for a treat. Was barely 24 hours in Cape Town but saw enough to want to come back. You should get in touch with Simon Lewis and Dawn , locals who would love to meet you for a beer or cup of tea. Joburg is a very cool city….