Here's how Jo'burg charms the socks off its visitors

Anje Rautenbach
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 NOT JUST A CONCRETE JUNGLE: Johannesburg is home to some of South Africa's best tourist attractions. ~ iStock

For out-of-towners Johannesburg can feel quite like wild modern machine, but if you give this bustling city a chance she’ll open her heart and show you that she is human after all and that her heart’s chambers house more than just traffic, malls and fast lanes. Johannesburg and its surrounding areas is an explorer’s paradise, an oyster of opportunities – some peaceful, some not – so get moving, get going and get out there.

Stay Active

Go Caving with Wild Cave Adventures, which is situated in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage area where you can abseil and crawl your way through small crevices; who knows, you might even spot Homo Naledi’s sister? If you are looking for something to do that’s a bit more in the open air, visit Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve and be surrounded by nature. As the largest proclaimed nature reserve in the Jozi Metro, Klipriviersberg is popular for hiking, birding and there is also a great diversity of larger game.

Something Else

For something completely different and out of the ordinary, go to Kromdraai mine, tried and tested by Joburg blogger 2summers. The Kromdraai mine was discovered in 1881 as one of the first Gold Mines in South Africa, five years before the start of the gold rush. Visitors can have a peek at old toys in the museum and go on a mine tour with a guide.

For the Foodies

Take the road to Muldersdrift for three restaurant experiences that will suit everyone’s taste buds; from the meat lovers to the vegans. Casalinga is an Italian restaurant luring people away from the city with their rustic atmosphere and Italian cuisine while Leafy Greens is a heaven for vegetarians with healthy, organically and locally grown food. There is also a coffee shop, Green Bean, selling single-origin African beans.

Art and a Dash of Culture

Parys is just over an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and it is a mecca of quirky shops and cafes; stroll the lengths of Breë Street for antiques, art and strange finds at place like Vintage Secrets, Pine’s Antiques and the Ben Van Wyk Art Gallery. You can also have your photo taken – old school style - at Kiki’s Vintage Photo Studio. If you feel that all the arts and antiques might lead to bored children (or spouses) there are also golf facilities, quad biking and rafting adventures to keep the peace.

Visit a Market

Johannesburg has no shortage of markets, but why not head out to the Jacaranda city and stop at

Irene@SMUTS market on the outskirts of Pretoria where not only a deli, farm fresh products and food will wait, but also stalls with handmade products and even a zip-line for kids.

Soak in Serenity

There is something calming about train rides; the rhythmic sounds, the clickety-clack, the effortless floating across the railway line and the landscapes views slowly going by. It all makes for an unforgettable trip. The Magaliesburg Express and the Cullinan Train are two steam locomotive train trips ready to sooth your spirit, serenade your soul and sedate your senses. All aboard?

For the Wine Lovers

Let’s face it, you are not in the Western Cape where you are surrounded by wine farms, but luckily you do have options. Visit Delalmar Wine Estate, a wine farm that started out in Stellenbosch but moved to Pretoria or, indulge in the craft beer of Brauhaus am Damm that’s situated between Rustenburg and Johannesburg and overlooking the Olifantsnek Dam.  

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