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Stuff To Do In Joburg

By J.F. Kloppers

Ah, my home city Johannesburg. Lots to do, lots to see but if you live here we tend to take most things for granted and the unusual places we don't even notice.

South Africa's Johannesburg is the one city in the world your mother warned you about. She’s pierced, tattooed, laughs too loud, and drinks and smokes too much. While most cities seduce you with their subtle charms, Jozi just knocks you on the head and drags you in.

Here's a few unusual places to explore if you live here and, like me, tend to take her for granted.

Shadow Boxer outdoor museum

Cost: Free
Place: Chancellor House on 25 Fox Street

On a recent walk through the CBD with talented photographer group we briefly visited this incredible, well-thought out outdoor museum. Housed in the windows of the original attorney’s offices of Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo (which they opened in 1952) a time-line has been laid out explaining the story of Apartheid accompanied with photographs and interesting facts. Opposite, is an impressive six-metre tall statue of Mandela in his iconic boxing attire by Marco Cianfanelli.

The Chancellor House was the first black legal practice in the country and is now a National Heritage Site and well worth a visit.

Sheds@1Fox

Cost: Free
Place: 1 Fox Street Ferreirastown

The hippest new market on the block The Sheds at 1Fox is a great new city space. Old storage sheds dating back to the 1920s have been renovated and filled with fabulous food stalls, a musically-orientated bar called the Good Luck Bar, which always hosts an awesome line-up of musical talent.

There are also lekker local crafts and goods available. It also neighbours the original Joburg Chinatown which is a fascinating area to stroll through while you’re there. There are plenty of authentic restaurants to try out.

De Vette Mossel

Cost: R230 a person
Place: Hartbeespoort

I hesitated putting this on the list because I kind of wanted to keep it to myself. There’s not much more to say about this one except SEA FOOD! It’s not exactly on the sea, but Hartbeespoort Dam is probably the closest us Gautengers are gonna get. Book your seat at De Vette Mossel faaaaaar in advance and salivate over the promise of mussels, West Coast snoek, potjiekos and calamari.

It’s BYOB so bring a cooler box and you have a great excuse for a day out exploring the Hartbeespoort area.

Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve

Cost: R25 an adult and R15 a car for entrance and R25 an adult to overnight in the huts. Place: Near Heidelberg

After a successful day hike in Hennops recently I thought it’s time to take it to the next level and try an overnight option. Covering over 11000 hectares, the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is the place to do it. Along the numerous hiking trails ranging from 4- to 17 kilometres you can spot eland, zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and if you’re really lucky, brown hyena.

The overnight huts sound pretty neat with solar lighting and geysers, beds and bar areas at a great price, and it’s just an hour from Jolsburg. Each unit sleeps 10 but you can book an entire hut even if you’re only two people.

Call 011 439 6300 to book an overnight hut at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve.

Random Harvest Nursery

Cost: Free
Place: Plot 57, Kontiki Road, Muldersdrift

I was more or less a teenager the last time I went to Random Harvest Nursery. My gran had asked me to come along on a tree-identification course and I was too keen to be a cool teenager. I remember sprawling land filled with birds, insects, trees and a sweet tea garden. I’m dying to return to see what it’s like these days.

Black Horse Brewery

Cost: About R140
Place: Magaliesberg

An easy and beautiful day trip from Joburg, I last went to Black Horse Brewery for breakfast while on assignment. An artisanal craft brewery and restaurant are located on site underneath lush trees overlooking the lazy Magalies river.

Lunch consists of extraordinarily tasty burgers, wood-fired pizza or a selection of tapas washed down with their craft beer – the ginger berry is on my wanted list. If you have one too many, they also have beautiful accommodation available on the farm.

Be sure to book as tables fill up fast. Meanwhile, use the morning to check out what else the Magalies Meander has to offer.

Sterkfontein Caves

Cost: R194 (combo ticket to Maropeng Visitor Centre bought online).
Place: The Cradle of Humankind

When was the last time you went underground? The Sterkfontein Caves are a World Heritage Site and home to fossils over 4 million years old. That’s ancient. These guys tell us about the precursors to modern humans and the Maropeng Centre offers insight into the development of the world as we know it using world-class interactive displays (my favourites are the boat ride through time, and the meticulous original fossil display).

You’ve got to be relatively fit for the caves tour which requires a bit of climbing, bending and crawling – so be sure to wear comfy shoes and practical clothing.

The Planetarium

Cost: R40
Place: Wits University

Its one of the best places in Joburg to stargaze. The shows are incredible and informative and made me appreciate the huge world above so much more. The speaker was funny and interesting, showing us the current night sky with the impressive projector that’s been in use since 1930.

Make a date in your diary to go one evening during 2015. It’ll ignite a love for the stars above and makes a really great date night.

Magaliesberg Canopy Tour

Cost: R495
Place: Sparkling Water Hotel, Magaliesberg

This is the priciest excursion on the list, but this action-packed eco-adventure is worth saving for.

The Magaliesberg Canopy Tour takes you on an aerial sightseeing journey of the world’s oldest mountain range in a foefie slide fashion. Roughly a three-hour treetop experience, it’s suitable for kids, parents and granny (yes, my grandmother did it in her mid-sixties) and if you’re a little nervous it can be done in tandem so you can just enjoy the ride without worrying about the brakes.

Satyagraha House

Cost: Free
Place: Orchards

The Satyagraha House was once home to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (later known as Mahatma Gandhi) and his Orchards home is now a fascinating living museum-cum-guesthouse. The gorgeous home was named ‘The Kraal’ by Gandhi and his dear friend (who was also the architect) Hermann Kallenbach.

The museum is filled with the intertwining history of these two men and is called the Satyagraha House after the passive-resistance movement of the same name. It is said that Gandhi began working on his principles of Satyagraha in this very house (although this could be more romantic thought than truth), which were later adopted by Nelson Mandela in the form of mass civil protest and passive non-compliance with the South African apartheid government as opposed to violent resistance.

The house is fascinating and the gardens peaceful, it’s well worth an afternoon look.

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