Jo’burg or Jozi, as many call Johannesburg, was established in 1886 following the discovery of gold, rebuilt four times, and is now the largest city in South Africa.
Home to over 4.4 million people, the city is a go-to destination for the art lovers and culture seekers. Its growth in galleries, new-age restaurants and cafes are now at the top of tourist attractions aside from Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill.
So to help you discover a new side of Jozi, here are the city’s best-kept secrets we’re willing to share to make your experience even more memorable.
Rather than heading over to the top of the Carlton Centre, the tallest building in Africa, to get a view of the beautiful city of Jo’burg, we recommend checking out Northcliff Ridge. You won’t find this place in many tour books, but it does offer you a spectacular 360 view of the city.
The area is known as Aasvoëlkop or Vulture Ridge because these birds used to prey around here before the city became urbanized. It’s also been said that hunter and gatherers lived here over 250,000 years ago.
Arts on Main
Arts on Main is full of unique eats and art installations combined with locals that are up for some dancing and drinking. It’s the perfect place to find the best drinks during the day—be it bubbles or beer.
There’s also a small collection of shops offering unique gifts such as South African fashion from Luv Jozi and Black Coffee (good value for your money), home decor, books and art supplies.
Arts on Main is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm, and on Thursdays, it stays open until 8pm.
Lindfield Victorian House Museum
If you’ve already seen the Apartheid Museum, we recommend transporting yourself back into the 1880s by visiting Lindfield Victorian House Museum.
It’s a private museum and does require a reservation in order to get a tour. You can even book a high tea along with the tour, together lasting about two hours. The owner, Katherine, will give you an exceptionally insightful tour and is very knowledgeable about the carefully curated artifacts she has on display. Everything inside has been preserved in a period-style house that makes you feel as though you just stepped into a 1800s dinner party. Some say it’s better than most museums in Europe!
How about some beer tasting with gourmet food? Mad Giant, a renovated and stylish Brewery takes on a completely different and exciting take on dining. You can drink from the finest beers, and taste delicious tapas full of flavor and textures on beautifully presented plates. Food choices range from steamed brioche buns, octopus cured in jalapeño and ginger, or even the rendang-style soft-shredded beef cheeks. Yum!
The owners of Mad Giant have spared no costs in creating a world-class environment with great food and beer. We recommend going on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday in the afternoon.
Museum of Man and Science
This is definitely a quirky supply store for traditional healers or herbalists known as inyanga. You can find items like bones and skins of various animals, and traditional instruments such as gourds, iron knives, and pestles.
Located in the center of Johannesburg’s Central Business District, this shop is surrounded by cell phone shops and clothing stores, so unless you know it’s there, The Museum of Man and Science can be easily missed.
If you’re not an inyanga and instead of looking for a cure for an illness, the shopkeeper will take you to a back room and use a traditional technique to find out what your illness is by rolling bones for you. Depending on how the bones land, the shopkeeper will point to the remedy they have in the shop that will treat whatever is affecting you.
Regardless of what may bring you to the City of Gold, just know that there are hidden gems tucked away, ready to be explored.
If this or any other destinations speak to you, we’d love to help you get there in comfort and put some savings in your pocket. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!