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Sunday, 01 September 2013

Johannesburg: More than Meets the Eye - Page 4

Written by Isabel Buettner
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If it gets too much with the Sunday market crowd, head to Newtown. Originally, the place to go on a Sunday, it’s now feeling the competition. I suggest trying the night market instead and if possible seeing a play at the Market Theatre. Founded in 1976, it has a great tradition and is one of the institutions that challenged the apartheid regime. At least take a look inside and check out the picture gallery to see what types of play have been staged here and who the actors were. 

 

Last but not least the African market on the rooftop of Rosebank’s shopping mall. Now, here you can do all you souvenir shopping. All kitshch and traditional cheesey items family and friends would expect you to bring home from Africa. You get everything from the fake lion and shark tooth to African masks, pottery, glass pearl jewellery and wooden frogs. 

 

ROAD TRIP! By now we have explored the inner city pretty well and I am starting to feel a little claustrophobic. London to Jo’burg, all I have done is replacing one big city with another. No matter how good the company there are only so many 1970s high rise and forgotten art deco buildings I can take. Where is the Africa of my imagination? The wilderness can’t be gone for good can it?  “JJ, I am not feeling the ‘Out of Africa’ vibe yet”, I complain. Truth be told he doesn’t know what to do with me either so we decide it’s time for a road trip or two or three...

 

Thanks to Sponge Bob, our little yellow KIA Picanto, we venture out to explore. Starting with Pretoria and its European replica architecture. It’s a pick and mix of different styles an eras. In some parts you have a strong Italian look and feel and then suddenly you hear the familiar sound of Big Ben. Pretoria is the least African place in Africa. 

 

Whilst JJ is driving I am reading out the current news headlines, which are plastered to every tree and robot in town. Yes, there are robots everywhere. No panic they are not taking over the world just regulating the traffic. For some reason, South African’s call their traffic lights robots, probably to enjoy the dumb expression on tourists faces (aka my face) when asking for directions and being told turn right after the third robot. 

 

If you don’t have a car, book a tour. Most guesthouses have deals with tour operators, including door to door pickup service so you don’t have to worry about much except the price.

 

I finally fell in love with the place when we went out to Magalisberg and the Cradle of Humankind. Get out of the cities and all of a sudden you see the landscape you heard of in travel guides. Wide planes and grass growing tall above your head. The sky seems so much closer and the clouds through gigantic shadows over the land. At first I thought the sun scorched large patches of grass until JJ pointed out its shadows. Classic dumb city girl mistake. Anyway, I couldn’t get enough of it and would have been happy staring at the landscape for hours. You start imagining what it was like when lions and cheetahs still roamed freely. I am glad I can enjoy this without ending up as cat lunch but it makes me feel sad at the same time.

 Cradel Of Humankind High Grass

Cradle Of Humnakind2

(Page 4 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 01 September 2013

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