Johannesburg has for a long time been a bit of a dark horse of the tourism industry. Its never-ending sprawl of buildings and busy rush has put many a laid-back-coastal-visitor off.
But the heart of our country has been undergoing a dramatic transformation and it is quickly becoming a popular and trendy destination, with areas like Soweto now receiving more visitors per year than the Kruger National Park.
We take a look at what you can do inside 24 hours in this town of gold.
To view the different restaurants listed below you can go to WiningAndDining.
Lanseria vs OR Tambo
That's a good question. And it all depends on where you're laying your head that evening. If you're staying in the north or west then Lanseria is the best option. If you're in the east or south, then head to OR Tambo. Lanseria offers less hassle than OR Tambo, and flight prices are relatively equal between the two.
There are many hotels and guesthouses in Joburg, from suburban bed and breakfasts, to penthouse suites in town.
For the most central of options, staying in the north would be best. If you're wanting a more upmarket experience look at staying in Sandton , for a more trendy experience head to Melville, or try something different and head to Soweto.
Brunch in Sunnyside
For a good brunch before hitting Joburg head to 44 on Stanley for a unique experience of the rejuvenated Johannesburg. A series of industrial buildings have been overhauled to offer 25 boutiques, design studios and restaurants. There is a wide variety of shops selling everything from clothing to organic foods and from furnishings to toys. The buildings are built with a 1930s architecture, and make for a trendy and creative environment in which to enjoy breakfast and light shopping before the day begins.
Enjoy a Spot of Shopping
Shopping in Joburg is very popular and there are many great places to spend your money.
A popular stop is the Rosebank Mall which has an attractive piazza lined with restaurants. A highlight is the Rooftop Market happening every Sunday with over 600 stalls to browse.
Monte Casino is a themed Italian casino with many boutique stores and restaurants. Do some shopping or play some cards, then head to the Monte Casino Bird Gardens where you can enjoy bird shows and wander along enchanted walkways within magnificent gardens. Marvel at a variety of colourful birds, mammals, reptiles and unusual animals from around the world.
Sandton City is one of the largest shopping centres in the Southern Hemisphere with 144 000 square metres of shopping space and 290 stores. The centre is located in the financial capital of South Africa, with the JSE a short distance away. Linked to Sandton City is the Nelson Mandela Square which boasts a 6 metre bronze statue of the former South African president. In the square are many fine dining restaurants and The Old Mutual Theatre on the Square, a 200-seater theatre that has shown over 100 performances since it opened eight years prior.
Grab Lunch in Melville
Next head to lunch in the trendy suburb of Melville with its famous 7th Street, lined with restaurants, pubs, and boutique stores. There are all sorts of creative and interesting restaurants offering a variety of foods. Try out the Lucky Bean at the bottom of Seventh Street. The restaurant has a local cosmopolitan feel with fresh and contemporary meals.
Visit Constitution Hill
Moving further into the city centre is the Constitution Hill, the previous site of the Old Fort Prison and the current site of the Constitutional Court. Nowhere in South Africa were more people jailed for the liberation struggle than at the Old Fort Prison. The prison, commonly known as 'Number Four', held many liberation leaders including Nelson Mandela and Mahondas Gandhi.
The Court is open to the general public, where you are able to watch the eleven justices deliberating or view the beautiful architecture and artwork inside the court. Guided tours of the prison include a visit to Nelson Mandela's cell, the women's jail, and the 'We the People' wall where you are able to view messages from people all across South Africa and write a message yourself.
Browse the Halls of the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG)
A short distance from Constiutional Hill is the Johannesburg Art Gallery. The gallery showcases a collection of 17th, 18th and 19th century British and European art, 19th century South African works, and a large contemporary collection of 20th century local and international art. Recently JAG has sought to aquire more art works from local contemporary artists, giving the gallery a uniquely South African feel.
The building was designed by Edward Lutyens and with 15 exhibition halls and sculpture gardens there is plenty to browse. The gallery forms part of the inner city rejuvenation programs, specifically the Joubert Park Public Art Project.
Explore the Newtown Cultural Precinct
Nearby is the Newtown Cultural Precinct, an area steeped in cultural history that had until recently become neglected and run-down. The Johannesburg City Council decided to rejuvenate the area and Newtown is once again the creative capital of Johannesburg.
A large Victorian building, which houses the well known Market Theatre and the Museum Africa, is one of the main attractions in Newtown. The Theatre features three theatre halls, a bar, restaurant and art gallery.
Watch a show and eat some dinner
Watch a show and then head next door to the famed Gramadoelas restaurant to grab something to eat. The restaurant is full of South African culture with its welcoming atmosphere, food and people.
Wind down at Kippies
After dinner head to Kippies, a jazz club on the doorstep of the Market Theatre. Kippies has played host to many South African jazz greats, and provides the perfect spot to end of a night in the City of Gold.
Joburg is a fast paced metropolitan city, with too much to do and experience within just 24 hours. After your day-on-the-go sit back and enjoy this wonderful city filled with history and culture. This is the heart of our country and well worth the visit.