Monday, April 12, 2010

A Fun Couple Of Weeks In the City Of Gold

Have done some really awesome stuff around Joburg recently so I thought I would just share some of my experiences with everyone. Also apologies for not having written in a while, I have just been soooo busy with tours etc. From now on I am going to write at least once a weak so please check in as much as possible .

First up a couple of weeks ago I was invited to a party in the Joburg CBD (Central Business District). i dint know the person but I super happy I went along. The party turned out to be in the Anstey's building (59 Joubert Street). I have one word to describe the building- WOW. It is now a national monument and is absolutely breathtaking. According to The Joburg Book (Ed Nechama Brodie) it originally housed the Norman Anstay and Company Department Store, which was known for its amazing window displays. Another interesting bit of trivia is that Umkhonto We Sizwe member and actor playwright Cecil Williams (who disguised Nelson Mandela as his chauffeur before his arrest in 1962) once lived there. The building was built in 1937 and is a beautiful example of Art Deco design. Probably the most unique feature is the awesome brass monkey frames in the foyer..again wow. And the party was fun too, met a lot of random people and had two very eventful lift experiences- I love how in South Africa you can meet complete strangers in the list and have a great time.

I also recently visited Lindfield Victorian House Museum in Auckland Park. Totally unique experience and I recommend that if this sort of thing interests you...check it out. The house is owned by Victorian enthusiast Katherine Love who also takes the tour. She dresses up as a Victorian parlour maid and goes through the house describing life in Victorian times. It costs R60 which includes tea afterwards. The house is in desperate need of repairs so please try and visit it if you can or make a donation(Katherine Love- 011 726 2932).

A couple of weeks ago my company received an invite to the Joburg Zoo Snooze-a camp out at the Zoo. What an awesome night. We pitched our tents right near the Lion enclosure and so got to hear them all night. We also got to go on a behind the scenes tour and a night tour. Such an awesome experience camping in the middle of the city and listening to the lions roar.

I have also been spending quite a lot of time in Soweto recently planning and taking tours. I know Soweto relatively well as I have spent time their over the last five year- I tutored English every Saturday for 3 years and also have taken a number of tours. That said I love spending time their and also have a complete passion for South Africa's history and museums. I really recommend visiting the Hector Pieterson Memorial- absolutely amazing and moving. Every school child in Joburg should have to visit it and realise the sacrifices the youth of Soweto made. Also worth a visit is Mandela House-Nelson Mandela's former House. Its only a short tour and worth a visit. There is also a really good and budget friendly restaurant across the road (Mandela Family Restaurant) which serves yummy traditional Soweto food. We will be doing a tour that takes in these sites in May.

Also worth a mention is Diagonal Street in town. I have done quite a few tours recently which take in this famous street.It is definitely one of my favourite places to visit in Joburg. Firstly i love how it runs diagonally (hence the name). You realise how unique this is, if you have been to the top of the Carlton Centre and gazed at the layout of the city. it is so uniform and straight and then you stumble across diagonal Street and the areas around it and it is just so different and special. If you are interested in bargains an unique buys this is definitely an awesome area to visit. The other day I bought three never before worn vintage hats from a little old hat shop for next to nothing. The area is full of small Indian shops, traditional African shops (The Muti Museum is situated here) as well as some really awesome modern buildings. If you are interested we have a CBD shopping tour on the 24th of April which takes in the area.

As you can see it has been a really interesting and full couple of weeks. Their is just so much to do and see in Joburg if you know where to look and I really want people (locals and visitors) to see this. I should have some more interesting finds next week so keep tuned and hopefully we will see you on one of our tours soon.
(The images are of the foyer at the Anstey's Building and of the random people we met in the lift)