Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Photo of the Week (28th November- 4th December)

A huge apology for not updating in a while. Working full time and doing my Masters doesn't leave me much time. That said I really should try and update more. So here is a quick photo!

Cafe Riche in the Pretora Inner City
OK so I know this isn't about Joburg but Past Experiences has recently extended into the Pretoria CBD. This is one of the oldest Cafe's in PTA and very unique as it has some Art Nouveau finishes. Rare for Gauteng.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Photo of the Week (26th September to 2 October 2011)

Graffiti in Newtown
 I have chosen this image as I love the Graffiti in Newtown, it is like walking through an art gallery. It is just so stunning and I chose this one as I love the skull. Our guide Tania did a Public Art Tour that included this over the weekend.

Training the Southpoint Cool Kids

Owning the Westcliff Hotel

In the last few weeks we have trained 8 Southpoint students to help us with our tours. Southpoint own over 20 buildings in the Braamfontein District of the inner city, majority of which are student housing.

They have thousands of students in the area, which has really changed (for the better) the vibe and feel of Braamfontein. They also own bars, restaurants, a hotel and venues in the area.

We decided to train some students as we needed help with bigger events and corporate groups. Their role is to look after guests and help the guides out on the day.

Southpoint recommended 8 students to us, who are absolutely top notch varsity students. Responsible and with a huge amount of energy, enthusiasm and personality...they are the perfect fit for Past Experiences!

Lunch after our corporate event

If anyone is looking for students to help with events etc, let us know...these guys are awesome!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Photo of the week (19th to the 25th September 2011)

A view of Newtown looking into the city, including the Diamond Building.

This weeks photo is of Newtown. I just love the Diamond Building and the Banner of Hope Artwork (the twisted SA Flag) . I great and a little different view of the city!

Event: JOBURG FLASH! 1 hour flash tours of the Inner City and Fundraiser

JOBURG FLASH! 1 hour flash tours of the inner city, our new website launch and Greenhouse Project, Joubert Park Fundraiser....yay!

Past Experiences LOVES the Jozi Inner City!

And we would like to get as many people as possible into the city on Saturday the 24th September (Heritage Day) experiencing and using their inner city!

We have organised a morning of fun tours aimed at locals (budget friendly) to get you out and about and into the inner city! We are also launching our new fab and interactive website. We decided that the best way to launch our website was to involve you the public who have been so awesome over the last 2,5 years and to give back to the city we love.

We are going to do this by donating R10 of every ticket sold to the wonderful inner city Greenhouse Project that is based in Joubert Park!

Tours on the day!

We will be doing 4 1 hour tours on the day!

They are perfect for those who love the city or for those who have not ventured into the city for decades.

All the tours are 1 hour and the idea is for you to come on one or as many of these tours as possible! Each tour will focus on a particular area or theme or person.

At 9h30-10h30 you can choose between 2 tours:

Mandela's Joburg (Guide: Jo)

... A look at the Joburg that Mandela would have experienced in the 1950's. We will also make a stop at his newly refurbished offices. A really fab experience!


A Mini Public Art Tour of Newtown (Guide: Tania)

This area has some of the most stunning art in the inner city and on this tour we will look at what the area has to offer.

At 11h00-12h00 you can choose between 2 tours:

Old Chinatown (Guide: Jo)

Join us on a mini tour of Joburg's original Chinatown. See some public art, learn about the history and bring some cash as we will be making a stop at the best Chinese Supermarket around.


Diagonal Street-A Real African City (Guide: Tania)

Come and explore one of the most unique area's in Jozi. Diagonal Street is home to a largely Indian Community but is also a traditional African area. Come learn more about its history!

Date: 24th September 2011 (Heritage Day...wooohoo!)

Time: 9h30 until 12h00

Price: Each tour is R40 (R10 goes to the Greenhouse Project)

Meeting Point: Market Theatre Parking Lot

For more details email us on or phone on 011 678 3905

We will also be doing a collection of any gardening equipment/ gardening stuff that you dont want or need for the project!

More details on the project:

"IN the heart of the inner city is a green project that combines community involvement and education with environmentally friendly building principles - all in a small corner of Joubert Park in Johannesburg."

The project has three main focus areas:

•To demonstrate development practices which will sustain people and the environment;

•To support organisations working to improve the urban environment, particularly community-based organisations (CBOs); and

•To disseminate information that will enable individuals to improve the quality of life in their community in a sustainable manner.

Read more:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Upcoming Event: I Love Braamies -Walking Tour of Braamfontein (17th September 2011)

If you have visited Braamfontein lately, you will know how absolutely fantastic it is looking. From its stunning new hotel and student accommodation, to its fantastic new restaurants, galleries, shops and the 70 Juta district.

Join us this Saturday the 17th, for a relaxed but concise walking tour looking at the history, present and future of this special inner city area.

The Tour will begin with tea/ coffee at the Grove of the Lamunu Hotel, from their we will discover and learn about the area. The tour will end at the stunning new Neighbourhood Goods Market where you can have a delicious breakfast (yum!), browse the stalls or even have a refreshing beer!

The perfect way to spend a Saturday morning in your city.

Cameras welcome.


Date: 17th September 2011

Time: Meet at 8h30 and end at 10h00

Meeting Place: The Grove at the Lamunu Hotel (GPS coordinates: 26.19375, 28.0364) (Corner of Juta and Melle Street)

Price: R50 (includes tea or coffee at the beginning of the tour)

Parking: Public Parking on the Corner of Melle and Juta

For more details or to book phone 011 678 3905 or email us


Friday, September 9, 2011

Photo of the week (5th-11th September 2011)

A Young Nelson Mandela- Photo of an image at Liliesleaf Farm
Photo by Justin Du Piesanie (My other half)

This weeks "Photo of the Week" is one taken at one of my top sites- Liliesleaf Farm. I absolutely love Liliesleaf and the period of history it portrays. I also think that Nelson Mandela was extremely stylish when he was younger! So my photo of the week is a "photo of a photo"!

Fab Image!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dialogue in the Dark: Sci-Bono, Newtown’s New Must “See” Exhibition

If you are looking for something interesting and fun to do in Jozi, you have to get down to Sci-Bono in Newtown for "Dialogue in the Dark". It is awesome.

Read my review on Travelstart:

Dialogue in the Dark on Travelstart

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Event: Creative Jozi-Public Art Walking Tour of the Joburg Inner City

Saturday 10th September 2011

9h300 till 11h30 (times are estimates)

Price: R90

Join Past Experiences for a leisurely walking tour of the inner city. This fantastic tour will focus on the wonderful array of public art that can be found in the Joburg CBD. Public Art is so great as it is art created for public space- as opposed to art created for an private or public art gallery. Public art is for everyone and can be seen anytime. Joburg has awesome public art- both old and new and on this tour we are going to see as much of it as possible. We will also look at the history, present and rejuvenation of the inner city as we journey through town.

A great idea would be to join us on the walk and then go to the new "Neighbourhood Goods Market" Opening in Braamfontein on the 10th for lunch and a walk around...a fab way to spend a Saturday in the City! Yay

Meeting and parking : Miriam Makeba Street Newtown- Market Theatre Parking (map can be provided)

For more details and to book, please phone us on 011 678 3905 or email us on

Dont forget to follow this blog, Twitter: PastExperiences and Facebook: Past Experiences

Monday, September 5, 2011

Photo of the Week (29th August to 4 September 2011)

Bungee Jumping at the Orlando Cooloing Towers, Soweto

I know I am posting this a day late but I have had a busy few days. This weeks photo of the week was taken by the Orlando Towers Team when I took my boyfriend Bungee Jumping for his birthday a few months ago.

The pic is of my boyfriend Justin during his jump and I love the angle and view of the tower. Loads of fun! The towers were the old cooling towers of the Orlando Power Station. Its a great afternoon out as the site has a great bar and you can just take a look at the towers or take part in the adrenalin activities!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fab Joburg Links

Just thought I would do a quick post on some great Jozi links that you should take a look at: some great pics and info on Jozi! -Stylish site with great posts! Cool photo blog looking at Joburg through an expats eyes an old favourite! -another cool Jozi Blog…my boyfriend Justin’s. great Travel website -another old favourite..but totally worth a look! some nice pics best jewellery in Jozi!!!  -very cool blog -Fab photo blog -My friend Brian’s blog -Fab food blog!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Photo of the Week (22nd to 28th of August)

Wits Choir on the Gautrain
By the Fab Tania Olsson
THis weeks photo of the week is taken by Tania Olsson. Tania is a member of the Wits Choir, who if you have not heard them sing... are fab.

I wrote about them on Travelstart so please check it out:  The hills of Joburg are alive…with the Sound of the Wits Choir

This photo was taken a few months ago when the Choir was setting off on a tour to North America and Canada. I love it because I think its a great image and it is also of two awesome things that I love about Joburg: The Gautrain and the Wits Choir.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Photo of the week (15th-21st August 2011)

If you know me at all, you know that I absolutely love Mary Sibande's work. I am also a huge fan of Public Art and this was one of my favourites. If anyone didn't see it, they basically wrapped 18 buildings with huge images of Mary's character Sophie. It was so beautiful and really bought some colour to the city.

The chosen image was up on Miriam Makeba Street.

This image was taken by Justin Du Piesanie (my other half) who is an avid photographer of the city and often sell his images to magazines and newspapers.

Mary Sibande's Sophie
Long Live the Dead Queen

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Photo of the week (8th- 14th August 2011)

House and Leisure's Mad Men Photo Shoot at
His Majestys Building. The model
sits in front of a wood panelled wall with a
map of Africa on it.

 The His Majestys Building is one of my absolute favorite buildings in the inner city. This stunning Art Deco building based on the architecture of New York (particularly the Rockefeller Centre) was built in 1944. It was originally a theatre and law offices. Although the outside looks great most of the interior floors are occupied by dreary prefab walls and an array of random companies.

That said the top floor is AWESOME. The building was home to numerous law firms but the "penthouse" was something special. Totally wood panelled and two storeys high, it is awesome. I was lucky enough to get in and take a look as House and Leisure magazine were doing a "Mad Men" photo shoot. It was better than I even expected.  A sweeping staircase leads up to offices and a large boardroom where a map of Africa takes pride of place on the panelled walls. Although the space is empty, the shelves are still lined with the files and law books. I wish I had the funding to do something with this space.

I will hopefully do a more lengthy blog on the space and show you more pics within the next few weeks.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Getting to Joburg- Guest Blog by Travelstarts Russell Jarvis

Here is some great info for anyone planning to visit Jozi!

Johannesburg is easily accessible by road and air and you can rent cars in all major cities around South Africa. Get to Joburg via the N1 if you’re driving from Cape Town and Bloemfontein; and by the N3 national road if you’re coming from Durban. Remember national road toll fees when budgeting for a self-drive trip to Johannesburg. Pay attention to speed limits and beware of animals and pedestrians crossing the roads in certain areas along your route. Stop regularly (especially if you’re driving with children) and if you can, rent a GPS (satnav) as it’ll go a long way in helping you drive around Johannesburg.

Approximate Driving Times & Road Distances

• Durban to Johannesburg – Approximately 587km and 7 hours by road (1 hour by air)

• Cape Town to Johannesburg – Approximately 1473km and 17 hours by road (2 hours by air)

Fly to Johannesburg

While all the roads leading to Johannesburg are in perfect condition, some of you may prefer the comforts of flying to the City of Gold. If you’re not keen on taking the scenic route then daily flights are available from all major South African Airports. Budget travellers can search for flights on South Africa’s domestic low cost carriers like Kulula, 1 Time and Mango. British Airways (operated by Comair) and SAA have full service daily flights to Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport from other airports in South African including King Shaka (Durban), Cape Town International Airport and Port Elizabeth Airport.

When searching for flights to Johannesburg, make sure you look at options that fly to Lanseria. It’s often cheaper and more convenient to fly into Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs.

Book Flights to Johannesburg Online

Get to Joburg easily with Travelstart. As South Africa’s leading flight comparison site, Travelstart makes it easy to find the cheapest tickets for domestic flights in South Africa as well as international flights.

Click to book cheap flights to Joburg and catch up on my posts on the Travelstart blog.

Please check out: for great deals, travel info and to make a booking!

Who is Russell Jarvis:
Russell blogs for Travelstart and is a fountain of knowledge on travel tips, Visa information, destination reviews and much more.

What the Joburg Tour Guide has to say:
I am a huge fan of Travelstart. They always have great blog posts (I write one too) but I actually meant the other ones. Its also a great way to find the best flight prices. I have booked many flights via them including my holiday to Europe as well as many local flights. CHECK IT OUT!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pic #2 (1-7 August)

So this one was taken by my friend Tania Olsson who spends most of her spare time taking photos in town. As this is women's month in South Africa I thought to give you this one as a kick-off to August..

"Girl Children of all ages will probably understand how this image reminds me so much of going to fabric stores as a kid and playing around under the counters and over the rolls of fabric, sweet memories! :) The boys were usually left at home to fend for themselves, heehee"
 - Tania Olsson

It seems like these shops haven't changed for generations and in fact, this shop is still owned by the original family that opened it. It's in Ferreirasdorp, kinda next to Newtown and unfortunately they only sell these beautiful ShweShwe fabrics by the roll. Although, whether you're buying or not, the shop is amazing to thrift through as they stock so many different designs that we don't usually see in all the normal material stores around Johannesburg.

Shopping in town is amazing!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Picture of the Week (25th to 31st July)

So I have decided that every week I am going to pick an image of something that I love in Joburg. It can be anything at all! A place, a person, an artwork...anything! It can be taken with a fancy camera or a long as the subject matter is positive and very Jozi then its perfect.

You are also more than welcome to send in a pic that you like and if it goes with the ethos of the blog, it might make its way onto the blog...crediting you of course.

Pic of the Week
Kids playing outside their parents shop in Diagonal Street. I am always really
interested in the life of  Jozi inner city kids. Also this pic proves that you don't need fancy
toys to have fun...just an old box and a friend.

A Week in the Kruger...yes I know not very "I Love Joburg" but AWESOME anyway

Its a real life Bambi. A fantastic Bush Buck

I know I have not written in a while...but I am now officially back and will make sure to post every week without fail.

I went to the Kruger 2 weeks ago for a huge family holiday (25 of us!) which was awesome and super relaxing. I also got some fab pics so here are a few of my best.

xx The Joburg Tour Guide

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Selling Jozi and a Weekend in the City

I was lucky enough to go to Tourism Indaba in Durban last week. Southpoint one of my absolute fav Inner city rejuvenation companies (they are responsible for a huge amount of fantastic work in Braamfontein) took me along to be part of their stand. Southpoint owns over 20 buildings in Braamfontein and houses over 4000 students in the area. On top of that they also have quite a few student bars in the area as well as 2 roof top bar venues: Sky Bar and Randlords. The view is to die for!

Why they were at Indaba is because they also have a stunning 60 bed hotel in Braamfontein called Hotel Lamunu (BTW- a great place to have an after work drink). We are working together to sell the inner city as a leisure destination. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s got loads to see and do and you can do it all using public transport. My suggestion is that if you are looking for something a little different to do over the weekend, why not book a night or two at an inner city hotel and really experience what city life is all about!

People (both local and international) had such a good response to our inner city product. It’s really exciting and I can’t wait to show them around and help make Jozi a tourist destination.

The Carnivore Resturant team- really friendly
It was also great to meet other Joburg products, organisations and establishments at Indaba. It is funny how we have to go to another city to meet. I met some great people from the GTA and Carnivore Restaurant (weird since im a vegeterian) who I hope to meet up with soon.

Kieliepensie Day Care on a Gautrain Visit
After Indaba I was on the Gautrain on my way home and I saw a really lovely site that made me fall in love with Jozi just a little bit more. A day care called Kieliepensie Dagsag from the East Rand were going on a school trip on the train. All the toddlers, babies and kids were dressed in their bright yellow tshirts, loaded into prams or walking. It was so great to see locals so excited to be using the public transport. What also got me really excited is that the Gautrain will be in the city soon! It will open up the city to a whole new group of people...I can’t wait!

We also did a lovely little tour last Saturday morning. Our guide Tania lead us on an adventure through the Mining District ending off with tea at the Rand Club. I have recently become a member of the Rand Club and I am so excited. I love its history and its building and I plan to spend many an afternoon reading in its library and many an evening drinking in the bar!

We have some great events coming up over the next few weeks so keep in touch

The Joburg Tour Guide xx

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Inner City Adventure Continues: Jozi to Cape Town, the Jetsons and Chancellor House

The last few weeks have been absolutely crazy and so I begin this blog with a huge apology for not posting sooner! I was in Cape town for a week and then hit the ground running once back in Jozi with loads of tours, meetings and adventures in the city!

Here is what I have been up to:

A week in Cape Town
Fab building in Cape town

As i have mentioned before, Im doing my Masters at UCT in Conservation of the Built Environment. This means that I get to spend four weeks every year in Cape Town. I have just come back from one of these weeks. I had a fab time staying with friends and experiencing the city. Cape town has some great people, buildings and history (so different to Jozi's history). I went to the Milnerton Market while I was their which was AWESOME! I bought some great stuff at bargain prices including an art deco chrome coffee pot...swoon!

Since I have been back in Jozi, I have also had some awesome inner city adventures:

An Amazing Rea Vaya Experience

The original picture- with a young Edwin in the centre
Edwin Siwedi today
As many of you already know, on most of our tours we try to walk or use public transport. Our most common mode of transport is therefore the Rea Vaya bus system. I was doing a tour on the system a few days ago and had the most amazing experience. We were lucky enough to meet a gentleman called Edwin Siwedi. Edwin who is now a grandfather in his 50's was 18 years old in 1976 and played an important role in the student uprising. He was actually one of the young man in a famous photo of the event. It was an absolute honor to meet him!

A visit to the little that remains of the Top Star Drive-In

Me standing in front of all that is left of the Top Star Drive-In today

A Scene from the Jetsons. The Top Star Drive-in entrance

 could easily fit in well here

I was exploring the city the other day, with a friend and we ended up at what was once the Top Star Drive-In. Opened in the 1960's Top Star was a popular place for Joburgers to watch a film, and offered an unbeatable view of the city. Unfortunately it closed down in 2006 and since then the mine dump that the Drive-In was situated on has be re-mined for gold. It is a tragedy that such an awesome spot in Jozi has been lost. The only part of the Drive-In still there is the arch over the entrance! But it is fab- very 1960's and it really reminds me of the Jetsons Cartoon and its space like design.

An update on Chancellor House
Chancellor House- refurbishment nearly finished

Probably one of the most exciting projects happening in the inner city right now is the refurbishment of Chancellor House. Once the offices of Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo's Law firm it has been pretty much an inner city slum for decades that is, until last year when it's refurbishment began. I will keep you updated and write properly on it, when it is completed in the very near future...cant wait!

I am off to Durban next week and Tourism Indaba but will try squeeze a quick blog in before then!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Party at the Old Park Station-you have to see this!

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to my cousin's husbands 40th birthday at the Old Park Station concourse.

If I had to describe the party and the building is one word, it would definitely be WOW!

My cousin Margie's husband Eric is Lebanese so the party had a "Lebanese theme" which this building is perfect for! Think Arabian nights, with smoke machines, low tables, red velvet and stunning mood lighting. The food was also great- humus, flat bread, couscous...all my favourites. The alcohol flowed freely and the DJ was awesome. In my opinion a successful party needs a few things: great music, fab food, lots of booze and fun people, and this party had all those things in abundance.

I have heard about how fab this building is before but no pictures or stories, did it justice! You walk in and its like you have stepped back in time. The old shop fronts are still their are look like they have just closed up for the night.

Designed by Gordon Leith and originally decorated with 32 J.H Pierneef murals, Clive Chipkin describes the station beautifully in Johannesburg Style (1993)

"behind the main exterior of Park station is the great sunken station concourse-magnificent, like vast Roman thermae. The floor is three and a half metres below street level, but the stunning intersecting barrel vaults and lantern clerestories rise up nearly 15 metres above the floor level in a controlled explosion of public space".

Chipkin also says that at the time, the concourse was so popular that it often appeared in short stories and novels:

"Jill Westcott ran down the marble steps of the Johannesburg Railway Station into the blue-dome vault with the sunken goldfish ponds and the murals. The clock said she had 15 minutes to catch her train, and she slowed to a sedate walk. She told herself she had nothing to fear. He hadn't rung up and after last night he certainly wouldn't have the nerve to come to the station" Fell Purpose by A. Campbell

What is so great about the station, is that it looks like someone just closed it up one day and never went back. This is not entirely true as it is an event space and I have heard was a really popular spot for raves in the 90's. We explored all the surrounding rooms (they were once restaurants or bars) which was fantastic!
 Even the bathrooms are stunning and totally old school! One of the most remarkable rooms is the "Blue Room" which is a completely tiled in "delft" style tiles each with a completely different South African Image on them from Rock Art, to the Castle in Cape Town.

But believe me we weren't only looking at the architecture...this was a party of note! We danced and drank and were maybe a little to merry! Justin (AKA Monkey) passed out on a police car (the police were not around at the time) afterwards! Good Times.

A huge thanks goes out to Margie and Eric for such a fab party!

Ill write again soon xxx

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Inner City Capers -including an expedition to the fabulous London House

I had the most awesome of adventures with Tania on Saturday afternoon. We decided to spend a few hours aimlessly wandering through the inner city taking photo's and doing research.

We found some great places and saw some great city scenes:

Retro Dinner
While walking down Jeppe Street (near Newtown), we found the most awesome looking old Diner. Really fab! It is now some sort of tavern/ bar but the old diner fixtures are all their. We went in and took some pics of the super friendly patrons! It seems to have been next to an old movie theatre. I can just imagine going to see a movie and then having a milkshake and burger at the Diner! Swoon.

Lionel Richie Time Machine
Just outside the Diner, Tania spotted one of the coolest and craziest cars I have ever seen. I love how it looks like a faded Lionel is sitting in the back!

Aegis House
We then ended up near the Rand Club, where we took some stunning pics of the Aegis Building which was home to an insurance company originally but now has some fab shop space on the ground floor. My favourite is the retro shoe shop and the "Sense and Sensibility" Coffee shop.

London House
We were then walking past London House (an absolutely stunning Art Deco building) when the security guard said that we should go inside and take a look! is so stunning. I am not sure what it was originally but it is now full of traditional African dress makers and designers and was still buzzing on Saturday afternoon. It has such stunning original features which is great to see! It also has at least one large "walk in type" safe on each floor! We are totally in love with the building! It also has a great view which we were lucky enough to see from a 13th floor veranda. What is surprising is that although the building does look a bit rundownn from the outside, it is actually looking pretty good inside! I also love how it has such a vibrant, sustainable community working inside it!

We discovered a few more great buildings but I am going to do some research and then will blog about them!

Ill blog again next week! X X