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Sunday, 01 September 2013

Johannesburg: More than Meets the Eye - Page 3

Written by Isabel Buettner
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What not to try?, I’d say part-time prawn. This only ever happens to tourist but on my first day, I had a salad wrap which included a part-time prawn. Now I am not big on seafood but I don’t think anyone would like to have this specimen in their food. Part-time prawn is a rather cute way of saying cockroach. This was the only time I had a food scare during my visit and I only mention it because I like the expression ‘part-time prawn’. 


Refreshed and fed we are heading out to explore the city. It’s Sunday which means market day. There is a great choice of weekend markets and you should find something to your taste. For my first one we are heading to Maboneng, located on the east side of Jo’burg’s CBD (Central Business District). It’s the first of a new wave of urban regeneration projects stretching through the city with the aim to revive old neighbourhoods by bringing back residents and small local business. So far Jo’burg was spared the Starbucks culture and I really hope it stays that way. In Maboneng you can browse through local boutiques and art shops or try the areas little independent cinema. The Market on Main over the weekend offers local produce of food and wine and pop up art galleries. If art isn’t your thing simply relax in one of the rooftop bars, which have become very popular and are popping up everywhere in town. We went to ‘Living room’ where I got my first Johannesburg panorama view. You pay an entrance fee but it’s worth popping up for the view. If you want to get a feeling of how vast this city really is you need to head up to floor 50 in the Carlton Center. Also know as Top of Africa and indeed for 39 year it was the tallest skyscraper in Africa. But they are building something even bigger at the moment so the title is going very soon.


When you have enough with the view leave the Living room and head for Canteen’s rooftop, it’s free and you can try your first local beer but more important just chill.


A friendly piece of advice, be aware of the traffic wardens in the area. Although the neighborhood is laid out for tourists and Sunday dwellers, inviting photo opportunities with graffiti art and other installations, try not to take one when the police are around. Bad press has made them nervous and being snapped is not in their interest. I took an accidental picture of one and got into trouble. Again, it only ever happens to tourists on their first day. Police are to be avoided at all costs, you never know if you’ll get a doggy one and we thought he was probably up to no good. I lied my way out and made sure to leave before he could take my camera. 

Maboneng Police

Crossing Nelson Mandela Bridge 

Another market you should try, if possible, is Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein. I actually prefer this one. It’s located over several floors of what looks like an old parking house and located literally right beside Nelson Mandela Bridge, you can’t miss it. The market offers mainly food. Incredible yummy food I have to say and so much choice you don’t know where to start. I recommend to skip breakfast and head straight there. What’s nice is that the whole area, which is a rather average part of town during the week, comes to life on the weekend. Pop up bars and local shops open their doors on a Sunday. You get up-cycled pubs, second hand shops, bars and more important people who wouldn’t set foot near the area during the week come and mingle with the residents on a Sunday. In fact, venture out and explore the area a little ‘by foot’ - try to find the Eland. South African’s really don’t like to walk. They drive to where they need to be and then drive back home. I made JJ walk through Braamfontein, which was a whole new experience for him and made him see this part of town in an a new light. Nervous at first, he actually had fun. So much so that we crossed Nelson Mandela bridge on foot the next weekend taking a friend. You get a brilliant look at the Joburg’s 42 train lines. I call them the rainbow fleet as the carriages are painted in bright colors. And you can see the abandoned Victorian train station, which stands alone reminding one of times long gone.

Bramfontein Pop Up Bar 

Bramfontein Street Art

(Page 3 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 01 September 2013

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