Johannesburg is the largest city by population in South Africa. It encompasses a diverse mix of cultures while being one of the most modern and prosperous cities in Africa. From captivating sights to art galleries and museums, thrilling experiences to sidewalk cafes and jazz clubs, this vibrant South African city is bound to leave a lasting impression. It is best to visit during the spring months from August to September, as you can take advantage of the cool and sunny days while you enjoy the abundant offerings this cosmopolitan city has to offer.
06:30am: Have your hotel concierge arrange a private car, and enjoy a 45- minute scenic drive from Johannesburg to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Here, you can explore some of the world’s oldest fossils, which date back three and a half million years.
To enjoy a breath taking view of the South African landscape, opt for a 45-minute hot air balloon flight, and sip on a cold drink as you ascend into the open skies and enjoy 360 degree views of the heritage site and sweeping landscape. After landing, indulge in a full English breakfast to fuel for the rest of the day’s activities. If you are celebrating a special romantic occasion, be sure to arrange for an exclusive balloon ride for two, so you can enjoy your own private tour.
11:00am: After a serene morning of sightseeing, it is time for some action and adventure. Take a 90-minute drive to Mount Mayhem in Boksburg to try one of the most exciting sports in South Africa, Sandboarding. Both equipment and lessons are included at the cost of ZAR 250 (USD 25) per person and tickets can be purchased at the concierge of the hotel. Although the highest dune can reach up to two kilometres, there will be dunes to accommodate all levels of experience. It is advisable to wear comfortable clothing and sports shoes, and you might want to ask our team to pack some refreshments for you as well.
1:00pm: A quick 30-minute drive will lead you back to Johannesburg’s Juta Street – a collection of creative boutique stores as well as bistros and coffee shops where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch. All stores surround a central courtyard, which locals call their “inner city beach”.
Every Saturday, the courtyard is transformed into a semi-outdoor Neighbourhood’s Market. Market-goers can expect to find an assortment of goods from local artisan producers,
gourmet merchants, specialty cooks, regional farmers, as well as a clothes made by local designers.
Must-tries include oysters from Namibia and specialty craft beer from South Africa.
If you need a dose of caffeine for that mid-day pick-me-up, try the ‘Big Bomber’ from local coffee shop, Post. The unique coffee concoction adds a strong shot of espresso to a thick layer of condensed milk.
3:00pm: A trip to South Africa would be incomplete without an up close encounter with wildlife. Take a short stroll or a six minute car ride to Johannesburg Zoo and meet the white lions and the Siberian tigers, one of the rarest species in the world. Bring your picnic baskets, packed with some cheese and wine as you sit amidst the beautifully manicured flora and fauna and gaze at the animals. Be sure to say hello to Wang, the only polar bear in Africa, who is now 30 years old.
5:30pm: After a long day of fun and sightseeing, head back to your hotel to recharge and enjoy fantastic views of the beautiful city. Pamper yourself with a spa treatment, or perhaps an evening swim in the outdoor pool. You can also reward yourself with some retail therapy at Sandton City Shopping Centre.
8:00pm: To sample authentically African cuisine, visit Moyo Restaurant, a five-storey establishment situated at Melrose Arch. This fine-dining venue showcases warm African hospitality and serves a variety of meat, poultry and seafood dishes. Some of our recommendations include Lamb Tagine, Oxtail Amos, Ostrich Berbe and Beef Fillets. The restaurant also hosts a variety of local entertainment like storytelling, live jazz bands, West African folk musicians and country artists.
10:30pm: After dinner, take a 15-minute drive to Sophiatown Bar Lounge. The retro-chic bar is named after the Johannesburg Township where renowned local musicians Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba honed their craft. The bar invites jazz performers to play for a lively crowd to jive to every Thursday and Saturday.
About The Guest Blogger
Kathleen Hedges, Head Concierge of InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers, shares this comprehensive 24-hour Insider Itinerary for visitors to get the most out of this dynamic metropolis.
For more information on suggested activities such as visiting Soweto and Gold Reef City, as well as things to do in Johannesburg, please visit the InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers Concierge Guide.
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here.