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Jo’burg: An Insider’s Guide

By Bidvest Bank
For many tourists visiting South Africa, Johannesburg is nothing more than a necessary pit stop on the way to fairer climbs – whether it’s Cape Town, a private game reserve, or a road trip along the Garden Route. And while there’s no disputing that these places have lots to offer, more and more tourists are realising that Johannesburg – or Jozi as it’s affectionately known – has a magnetism all of its own. 

Contrary to its concrete jungle reputation, Jo’burg is actually the largest man made forest in the world. Add to this a population of dynamic, multi-cultural go-getters – not to mention an impeccable climate, and you have a city that’s buzzing with creativity, entrepreneurship, and a surprising amount of things to do. 

Here are our favourite picks of how to soak up the best the city has to offer: 

  • Delta Café. Situated on the edge of the Delta green belt running either side of the Braamfontein Spruit, this laid back café grows its own fresh produce and offers a simple menu including pancakes, fish cakes and chicken pregos. 20 Marlborough Road, Craighall Park, 084 509 8084. 
  • Cube Tasting Kitchen. With a focus on using fresh, sustainable produce, the menu changes regularly depending on what’s available. Prepare to set aside a minimum of three hours for a production of many courses – each one served in tasting size and carefully paired with delicious wine. www.cubekitchen.co.za, 17 4th Avenue, Parktown North, 082 422 8158.

  • The Living Room. Located in the hip Maboneng precinct, this rooftop venue offers spectacular views of the Johannesburg city skyline. Enjoy a meal and a drink while you sit back and relax in a lounge setting surrounded by plants and greenery. Perfect for a weekend brunch, weekday sundowners or a Sunday soirée.  http://www.livingroomjozi.co.za/, 20 Kruger Street, Main Change Building, Maboneng Precinct, 082 370 9284.
  • The Radium Beer Hall. The oldest bar and grill in Johannesburg, the historic ambience here is the perfect backdrop to live music four nights a week. http://www.theradium.co.za/contact.html, 282 Louis Botha Ave, Orange Grove, 011 728-3866. 

  • The Orbit. Situated in happening Braamfontein, The Orbit Live Music venue and Bistro offers a creative expression platform for jazz musicians. The bistro/bar type menu means you can either order small plates or a full meal, or simply sip a stiff drink while listening to the best musicians Jo’burg has to offer. http://www.theorbit.co.za
  • The Bioscope. The Bioscope is an independent cinema showing a diverse range of new foreign and local art house films. Adjoining the cinema is the Chalkboard restaurant and craft beer bar where you can enjoy pizzas, coffees and bagels while doodling on chalkboard walls and tables. http://www.thebioscope.co.za, 286 Fox Street, Maboneng. 011 039 7306

  • Westcliff Stairs. Forget the gym and walk through one of Joburg’s most opulent suburbs among leafy tree-lined streets. Park your car on Westcliff’s Crescent Drive and walk up the steep, crooked stone staircase. You’ll be rewarded with a gorgeous view of the city at the top. 
  • Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. A welcome green space in the middle of the northern suburbs, the gardens are a haven of indigenous trees, succulents, terraced ponds and fountains – as well as a large dam popular with canoeists and kayakers. Open from sunrise to sunset. Olifants Road, Emmarentia, 011 782 7064

Thinking of travelling to Johannesburg? Order your forex through Bidvest Bank and take advantage of our established presence in South Africa with our network of branches nationwide. For even more convenience and added safety, our South African Rand Currency Card lets you preload funds onto your card that you can draw as cash from an VISA ATM, or pay with a simple swipe at any VISA merchant.