Johannesburg is an African city of note. Johannesburg is characterised by contradiction and an apparent seamless combination of irreconcilable differences. The largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg is also the wealthiest and, without doubt, the economic powerhouse of Africa.
It’s a booming, happening city and the emphasis is on making money – whether in business or on the streets – and has been since its beginnings when the world’s richest gold fields were discovered in Johannesburg during the 1880s. To the first-time visitor Johannesburg, or Jozi as it’s more commonly known, can be a little daunting, more so because of the misrepresentation by the media of Johannesburg as something of a war zone. There is crime; you do need to keep your wits about you, but once bitten by the vibe of Jozi, you’re going to want to come back again.
The area close to City Hall and Newtown Cultural Precinct, which has completely transformed the Market Theatre and surrounds, now forms the heart of urban revival, and the Johannesburg inner city remains the largest employment centre in South Africa.
But it’s the sprawl of the leafy northern suburbs – there are over six million trees in Johannesburg – that draws the visitor: buzzing, trendy suburbs like Parktown and Norwood, with their restaurant-lined avenues that cater for the dining and décor set; the high street of Greenside that so easily dons the mantle of hip chic; fashionable Melville (forget venturing a little further to Yeoville – Jozi’s Greenwich Village), and the sprawling malls of Sandton, which most are within a walking distance from Johannesburg Hotels– especially from the Don Suite Hotels, all combine to make the city a great place to be.
Though not touted as an outdoor city, there are, nevertheless, a number of parks and nature reserves, like Emmarentia Dam and the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, that are worth a visit. The Magaliesberg is just on your doorstep, and you’re extremely well placed for adventures a little further afield, like the Kruger National Park and the game parks of the Lowveld.
Bruma is situated in east of Johannesburg, and it is just 18 kilometres from Sandton city and 15 minutes drive from OR Tambo Airport, is also close to the major arterial routes of the R24, N12 and N3 Eastern bypass. Closer to Bruma, you have Edenvale area and the garden suburb of Bedfordview is one of the closest suburbs of Johannesburg to the OR Tambo Airport, so for business people dipping into the city only briefly, Bedfordview, which is only 15 minutes from the Johannesburg vibrant CBC, is an ideal location.
Aside from that, this part of Johannesburg, east of the city centre is a quiet and leafy place to stay for anyone, the upmarket neighbourhood almost park-like due to the tree-lined streets and lush gardens with prolific bird life. The leafy suburb of Bedfordview is close to a number of shopping malls, including the epic Eastgate with its myriad shops, entertainment venues and excellent restaurants; and Bruma Lake flea market. Bedfordview also has its own shopping centers in the village and several major businesses have established their headquarters in Bedfordview’s corporate business parks. The village is home to several sports clubs and a popular gymnasium and the St Benedict’s College, a private high school. Bedfordview is well placed for Johannesburg International Airport and adjacent to all major highway links.
Bruma Lake Flea Market, very close to Don Eastgate, is one of the biggest flea markets in South Africa, and you’ll find almost anything you can think of here. It is also close to the Eastgate shopping mall in the southern suburbs. Eastgate Shopping Mall has its many top boutiques, restaurants, cinemas and well-known department stores. The shopping mall has a large covered parking area and offers free parking. Bruma Lake Flea Market has an array of West African wood crafts, designer clothing, wire art, homemade toys, plastic gadgets, arts and crafts, curios, funky second-hand clothing, one-off fashions, furniture, textiles, and antiques from over 630 traders. The Bruma flea market is a great place to browse for bargains.
Bruma Lake mall is a string of restaurants and shops around a body of water, resembling a waterside village and the Don Eastgate is part of the string that is overlooking the Bruma Lake. Apart from the flea market, some of the attractions around Don Eastgate are the Gillooly’s farm, set in the heart of Bedfordview. It’s virtually a farm in the middle of the city and the tranquil atmosphere is very popular amongst locals for picnics along the lake under the trees. There is also a driving range at Gillooly’s Farm. There are some wonderful views over the Kensington valley and the northern suburbs from here.
Kempton Park is a large town situated on the East Rand in Gauteng, South Africa. Kempton Park was established in 1903 when Karl Wolff sub-divided a portion of his Zuurfontein farm into residential stands and named the new village Kempten after the Bavarian town of his birth. Soon after, the name was anglicized into Kempton Park. In 1952 the Jan Smuts Airport was built on the land next to the town. The airport’s name was changed to Johannesburg International Airport in the late 1990s and to OR Tambo International Airport in 2006.
Kempton Park boasts over 5 Major High-schools, numerous entertainment and sporting facilities and is just minutes away from large shopping malls as well as many other amenities. Accommodation facilities here are superb and ideally situated as it is very close to the international airport. Kempton Park includes within its boundaries the industrial suburbs of Isando and Spartan, making it one of the largest industrial centers in Africa.
Kempton Park is next to one of the largest townships in South Africa known as Tembisa. It also boasts a large industrial zone known as Spartan which holds many chemical manufacturing and other industrial sites. The town of Kempton Park owes its growth and development to its proximity to the Johannesburg International Airport. The Airport is South Africa’s main point of entry, and from it extends a network of highways that link to all the major cities of the country.
Close to the airport is situated the World Trade Centre, famous as the venue for the negotiations that led to South Africa’s new Constitution. Tourists can choose from a large selection of restaurants in the area and there is plenty of hotel accommodation at and near to the Airport. The Don International Airport is about 2km from the ORTIA.
Just outside Kempton Park is the Swartspruit Recreational Area, where there is a beautiful dam with picnic and braai facilities. The area is a must for birdwatchers with its prolific bird life. Bird lovers can also visit the nearby Terenure Bird Farm.
Situated in Johannesburg, South Africa, Rosebank is a vibrant multi-cultural district, business node and tourist attraction. Rosebank is one of a kind in that it has effectively combined a successful commercial node within a pleasant working, shopping and entertainment environment. Due to its compact size, visitors, residents and workers are able to walk the area, enjoying the outdoors atmosphere, en route to their destination. Rosebank is conveniently situated just 35 minutes from OR Tambo Airport, and is close to all the major centres of Johannesburg.
Although Rosebank is home to many head offices, the district also provides an abundance of entertainment to its residents and visitors at a variety of superb shopping malls, pavement cafes, world class restaurants, markets, luxurious hotels, cinemas, art galleries as well as night clubs. The Zone@Rosebank, which is about 0.2km from Don Rosebank, has become one of the more prestigious shopping areas of the city. It is a rather large shopping mall and one of the most exclusive shopping centres in the city. It boasts many high-end stores and a large movie theatre. Whether it’s enjoying a cup of coffee under an acacia tree, a visit to one of the country’s finest art galleries, watching an art house movie, shopping at top designer boutiques or taking a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood, Rosebank has something to offer everyone. It is always alive with entertainment and fun.
Rosebank boasts spectacular art deco architecture with beautifully designed facades and buildings. Why not take a tour exploring this exquisite architecture? About 3.5 kilometres from Don Rosebank you will find the Johannesburg Zoo. In the same vicinity is the Zoo Lake, which is popular for picnics.
Despite Johannesburg’s city centre doing its utmost to change perceptions about its capacity to function as the heart of the city, Sandton continues to reign as the most important financial and business district in South Africa, and arguably sub-Saharan Africa. Sandton is the home to the top investment banks, financial consultants, the Johannesburg stock exchange, and one of the biggest convention centres on the continent, it is known as one of the most opulent areas in Johannesburg.
Known as ‘Africa’s richest square mile’, Sandton has headed upward with a barrage of Manhattan-style skyscrapers that function as landmarks throughout Johannesburg, particularly Sandton City’s pyramid-style rooftop. Visit Nelson Mandela Square, various art galleries, or go on a personal walking tour that takes in 29 Sandton landmarks and stops off at various restaurants. Don Sandton III & Don Sandton IV are situated in approximately 5 km from the square.
Illovo is a prestigious suburb of Sandton in Johannesburg, South Africa. It borders Hyde Park, Sandhurst and Craighall Park.
Illovo is home to the famous Wanderers Stadium, which is home to the Highveld Strikers, (Johannesburg’s cricket team) as well as The Wanderers Golf Course. The Test, One Day and First class cricket matches are all played at The Wanderers Stadium. This beautiful stadium has a seating capacity of over 34 000, and was built in 1956 to replace the Old Wanderers Stadium. It was completely overhauled following South Africa’s readmission to international cricket in 1991. It is nicknamed ‘The Bullring’ due to its design and intimidating atmosphere. Don Sandton I is situated in a walking distance from the Wanderers Stadium.
Lying alongside the famous Wanderers Cricket Stadium, is the scenic Wanderers Golf Course. This spectacular 18 hole course is centrally located and plays 6 274m long, with a par of 72. These undulating grounds has hosted many top events thereby providing ample proof of its outstanding condition. The beautiful scenery and lush foliage is what makes this exquisite golf course one of the best in the country!
Illovo is also home to some of the finest and beautifully designed restaurants. It is a rather upmarket area where residents enjoy trendy malls, entertainment facilities as well as restaurants. Illovo is home to a large amount of sporting enthusiasts. When visiting Illovo you will find yourself being torn between watching Ernie Els burn up the golf course and walking across to the cricket stadium to see the cricketers in full cry.
The residential areas and accommodation here is superb all situated in spectacular surroundings. After a days sporting adventure, one can dine in any one of their superb restaurants offering world class meals and enjoy a restful sleep at Don Sandton I.
• Sandown/ Sandton Central
One of a number of suburbs in the northern reaches of Johannesburg with ‘san’ prefixed to its name as an indication of its association with Sandton, Sandown lies virtually between Morningside and the Sandton CBD, a prime position in Johannesburg.
The neighbourhood of Sandown is dominated by business that has spread from the inner reaches of Sandton to claim former residences, large sprawling properties and a number of cluster developments, although these mainly hug the eastern reaches of the suburb.
Sandown is really only a stone’s throw away from Sandton Square, and Sandton City, the dominating malls of Sandton, and the Sandton Convention Centre. Hard to believe that this part of Johannesburg was a wide expanse of highveld just over 20 years ago, Sandton’s obvious sophistication, expensive shops and world-class hotels and restaurants make Sandown a sought-after address and an ideal location when in the city, particularly if business is high on your agenda.
In the heart of Sandton’s business district, is a hub identified as the vibrant, high energy cluster of global trade and thought. This hub, known as the Sandton Central Management District, is this commercial centre of South Africa and is home to three improvement districts, namely the Sandton City and Convention Centre Improvement District (SCMD), the Sandton Business Improvement District (SBID), and the Wierda Valley Management District.
The Sandton Central Management District operates within the boundaries of Sandton Drive, Katherine Street into Wierda Road East and West, up West Street, along Rivoinia Road and including the Grayston Drive boundary. Don Sandton III and Don Sandton IV are both situated on Pretoria Avenue, which is a road linking both Katherine Street and Rivonia Road.
There is a number of attractions in Sandton. Some of those include art galleries, Sandton’s Art Galleries exhibit traditional South African Art as well as international art work.
The Liberty Life Theatre on the Square is a 200-seater theatre that produces and shows an array of outstanding productions that cover a huge spectrum of genre. In this last eight years, it has put on well over 100 productions – all with resounding success.
Situated outside the Village Walk Shopping Centre on Maude Street, is the Village Walk African Culture Market, this African culture market brings authentic African goods to locals and visitors of Sandton. Take a five minute walk from the Village Walk Shopping Centre and you will be arriving at Don Sandton III.
Sandton Central has 20 movie houses in two cinema complexes. Nu-Metro and Nedbank Cinema Prive are located at Upper level Village Walk Shopping Centre and you will find Ster-Kinekor on the Lower level at Sandton City. Sandton Central offers an impressive assortment of 90+ restaurants, bars and cafés. From formal indoor dining and cocktails to fast food snacks and sidewalk coffee shops and sandwiches, you will be spoilt for choice.
Golfers are spoilt for choice with a range of excellent golf courses located in surrounding areas including The Bryanston Country Club Golf Course, The Country Club Johannesburg, Riverclub Golf Course and Houghton Golf Club.
Shopping is key in Sandton and the reason many visit Sandton. With four world-class shopping centres offering over 450 shops, there is no shortage of place to take in hours of retail therapy. Shop till you drop at the ultra modern Michelangelo Towers Mall, Sandton City Shopping Centre which has over 290 shops and includes the Food Court, Banking Mall with bureau de change facilities, Medical Mews and multiple cinemas.
You also have the Village Walk which is stepped and angled like an old European city, but offering all the modern conveniences, Village Walk has over 70 retail, leisure and entertainment venues.
Nelson Mandela Square offers 85 boutiques, shops and salons, offering the sophistication of designer labels, curios and culture, art, African couture, jewellery and books.