11 ‘New’ Things to Do in Johannesburg this Christmas
Looking for new things to do this Christmas? Give Johannesburg a try. You’ll understand how this urban economic hub has become a destination for every bucket list over the years.
Yay! Jozzi in Christmas. A time of the year when street markets and malls wear new looks. Maboneng Precinct gets a life and there is a new longing in Parktown away from the delicious meals served in trendy restaurants as Linder Auditorium welcome Gauteng Opera’s annual Christmas Concert. Need I say more? You’ll get a run for your money in the vibrant city of Johannesburg.
‘Need Explore Wanderlust:’ ‘NEW’ things to do in Jo’burg
Doubt if you’d expected another long pitch about Gold Reef City, restored Maboneng with finely sprayed walls, Sandton square and quite a few other interesting places with nothing out of the ordinary for fun this Christmas.
You’d brush up on all that knowledge about South Africa’s turbulent emancipation, Jo’burg Art City Project – thought to be amongst the largest public art projects implemented worldwide – later in this article. But, first, let’s look into some of the rare adventures that get you to develop itchy feet while in Johannesburg.
Food and Wine Tour
The less touristy 1Fox area, home of the market sheds, will do for your bear hors d’oeuvre with some tasty eat-out food. You don’t have to be a fan of alcoholic beverages to cherish your weekend in its clean and cosy environment with lots of secure parking space. Urbanologi, the restaurant inside Mad Giant Beer’s do-it-yourself-adapted brewery, serve Asian street food. 1Fox’s hippy and trendy food stalls serve great tasting meal from burgers to tacos, cakes, smoothie, dumplings to milkshake and awesome desserts. There are a fashion shack and a newly expanded exhibition space open throughout the weekend.
Great Nigerian Cuisine
The cultured ambience at award-winning Moyo at Melrose Arch won’t cease to satiate Nigerian travellers. Like Moyo, the homey Hombaze in Sandton has an assortment of Nigerian meal and music. Goat meat, Cow heel, oxtail and stockfish pepper soup, egusi and vegetable soup (with fresh pumpkins) if you ever get homesick. Gramadoelas in Bree street, Newtown and Meliville’s Lucky Bean restaurant also dish Nigerian meals.
Hop-on, Hop-off Jozi City Tour
The sightseeing tour allows you to explore the city of gold in limited time. The bus ride is a safe and comfortable way to acquaint yourself with Johannesburg’s bustling districts. You might want to plan your hop offs for “The Potato Shed” in Newtown or the walking tour of Hector Pieterson’s Museum in Orlando West (amazing!). Take a chill pill on this one because the early part could be upsetting, but it, sure, gets better along the line. You won’t want to miss the additional time spent in Soweto, where you’ll love the black history lecture about apartheid in South Africa.
Here’s a budget Christmas-theme hop-on, hop-off Jozi tour you can’t say No to.
Arts on Main
Soak up the South African culture in Maboneng, . Connect with the good Joburger vibe, bask in the genteel reception of the art-restoration project where good food and music are prime; socialise and indulge. Jozi locals don’t get uneventful weekends with the numbers of galleries, shops and great eating opportunities on offer.
Quick, efficient and comfortable way to get to OR Tambo airport or visit Pretoria. South Africa’s high-speed train is exceptionally clean, organised and will help you skip the heavy Jo’burg-Pretoria traffic. If you happen to get the window seat, look out for the spectacular view of smaller cars moving slowly along on the highway.
Bird’s eye view on top of the city
You wouldn’t mind conquering heights in one of Africa’s most prized cities for structural advancement. Even if it’s only to take in a pure sight of Johannesburg city and a selfie (fine if the weather smiles at you). The breathtaking 360 degrees view of Johannesburg from ‘Top of Africa’ – the 50th and topmost floor of the derelict Carlton Centre – is a unique way to see the city. Better if planned as part of your city tour.
Nature has lots of offers for visitors in Johannesburg. Whether it’s a horse trail, fishing, hiking, climbing, an ultimate air adventure in a balloon, caving, game drives and mountain biking, your encounter with the natural world makes all the difference.
Gaining a historical view on South Africa is a great learning experience for both young and old. You will get emotional about the experience but the tour of Apartheid Museum is worth its shocking revelation. Here you go through the mixed and morally degraded acts carried out in those days and how it’s helped shape the country into what it is today. It’s best you employ the help of a guide to take you on this tour as a standalone instead of mixing it with the city tour as there is much to do and learn, including seeing the Nelson Mandela house.
Loads of fun things to do in Gold Reef City
The kids always enjoy the theme park rides at Gold Reef amusement park. There are restaurants that serve different types of meals and cinemas – in case you’re a fan of the indoor. By night the place becomes a lit-up casino for an enjoyable evening. You can watch a live show if you’re not a casino fan. Travel down a gold mine to Level 5 (about 220m / 785 ft below the surface), see a 12.5 kg gold pour, be entertained by African Dancers.
Jo’burg’s Fort and Prisons
Visit this iconic site in a place once known as Old Fort (prison) where Nobel Prize winners Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi, amongst many, were imprisoned. Gain an insight into the troubled past and the promising future of democracy in the country. Take a tour of the Constitution Court and marvel at the detailed symbolism of the building’s design and its incredible artworks. Another moving experience to garnish your stay in Jo’burg.
Alexandra Heritage Center
You’ll agree it’s a thin line between poverty and riches (or should we just say two main roads?) after seeing Sandton from Alex. Alex is largely an utter mockery of neighbouring Sandton. Ignore the glam and sham divide of the area and immerse yourself in cafes and hotspots you’d excitedly find. Familiarise yourself with the heritage of Alexandra at the museum, where Nelson Mandela lived when he first came to Johannesburg in the early 1940s. Get fascinated by arts, photography, newspaper articles and other archive material.
Now that you’ve seen our selections of awesome experiences in the South African chief city, share with us your idea of new things to do in Johannesburg.
Planning a budget travel to an African city? Try any of these 6 Christmas Holiday Packages.