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Johannesburg: A Vibrant Metropolis of Culture and Culinary Delights




Johannesburg, a relatively young city with a complex history of colonialism and apartheid, has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. Emerging as a destination for those seeking historical insights, artistic inspiration, and culinary adventures, this charming metropolis of contradictions has reclaimed its place on the world stage as reported by Yahoo News.

From the vibrant arts district of Rosebank to the once forbidden realm of Soweto, Johannesburg now teems with café culture, art galleries, and trendy hangout spots where music and dance fill the air. As you explore it is evolving neighbourhoods, you’ll uncover hidden barbecue joints adorned with vibrant graffiti and encounter echoes of the city’s tumultuous past etched into the prison brick walls.

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Notable Attractions in Johannesburg

Take an afternoon to delve into South Africa’s complex history at the Apartheid Museum. Through its exhibits, which vividly illustrate the racial segregation endured from 1948 until the early 1990s, you’ll discover stories of incredible courage and resilience in the face of atrocities. For an iconic experience, visit Constitution Hill, the site of former prisons such as Old Fort, Number Four, and the Women’s Jail. This hallowed ground once housed luminaries like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. As you explore the prison buildings, wander through chilling corridors, and engage with exhibitions depicting the lives of those incarcerated there, you’ll gain a profound understanding of their struggles.


Rosebank boasts Joburg’s highest concentration of art galleries within walking distance of each other. These galleries reflect diverse cultural heritages and serve as platforms for artists to express their unique perspectives. Keyes Art Mile stands out as a creative hub housing several contemporary galleries and design studios. Don’t miss the TMRW Gallery and Banele Khoza’s Bkhz space, where works by local artists captivate visitors. Additionally, the Everard Read Gallery, one of South Africa’s oldest commercial art galleries, established in 1913, showcases a wide range of contemporary and modern art from esteemed painters, sculptors, and photographers.

No visit to Johannesburg is complete without immersing yourself in the townships of Soweto. Once considered off-limits, Soweto has blossomed into a vibrant tourist hotspot, offering an array of restaurants, bars, theatres, and a thriving music scene. Vilakazi Street, the highlight of Soweto, is the only street in the world to have been home to two Nobel Prize laureates, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Visit the Mandela House Museum, Mandela’s former residence, to gain insight into his personal life and the history of the anti-apartheid movement. Just a stone’s throw away lies the Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial, commemorating the pivotal 1976 Soweto Uprising, which played a significant role in the struggle against apartheid.

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Culinary Delights in Johannesburg

Mamasamba, nestled among towering glass-clad buildings in Rosebank, offers a sensory oasis. Adorned with vine-wrapped walls, LED screens, and vibrant decor, this two-storey restaurant immerses you in an enchanting ambience. Indulge in freshly prepared sushi paired with cocktails from Gorilla Bar, delighting your palate with a symphony of flavours.


A short stroll away, Marble Restaurant embraces two of South Africa’s culinary obsessions: open-fire cooking and meat. Under the skilful guidance of Chef David Higgs, this establishment celebrates local produce sourced from respected farmers, complemented by an impressive selection of wines.

Given Johannesburg’s vast expanse, maximising your time in each area is wise, especially if you’re short on time. Explore the diverse culinary offerings in Soweto, from indulging in traditional Sunday feasts at Sakhumzi Restaurant to savouring a refined dining experience at 1947 on Vilakazi Street. The townships are also renowned for their vibrant nightlife, with popular bars like Konka attracting A-list celebrities, influencers, and socialites.

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Accommodations in Johannesburg

For those seeking a vibrant nightlife, the newly opened Voco hotel perfectly caters to their needs. Located within The Bank in Rosebank, this Art Deco property boasts 131 exquisitely decorated rooms in pink, blue, and grey hues. Inspired by the era, the interiors feature double-height floor-to-ceiling windows, leather furnishings, and brass table lamps. Each room showcases four and five original local artworks commissioned exclusively for the hotel.


Around Voco, you’ll find a plethora of dining and drinking options. However, the true gem awaits right at your doorstep. Proud Mary, an all-day eatery on the ground floor, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Its opulent mid-century wine bar, reminiscent of the Great Gatsby era, captivates with its wood and brass accents, adorned with wine bottles colour-coded by white, red, and rosé. The menu, a fusion of world cuisine crafted from fine cuts of meat and fresh seafood, promises a memorable dining experience.

In the upscale neighbourhood of Sandhurst, The Saxon stands as Johannesburg’s ultimate luxury destination. This iconic property has welcomed numerous actors, prime ministers, and politicians. However, it is Nelson Mandela’s enduring legacy that pervades the corridors of this opulent historic hotel. Madiba spent months completing his acclaimed book, “Long Walk to Freedom,” within these walls. The Nelson Mandela Platinum Suite, the two-bedroom accommodation where he resided, can now be rented, immersing guests in a world adorned with memorabilia, eclectic artwork, and a slice of literary history.

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The Saxon offers spacious rooms surrounded by lush green spaces and towering trees, providing a tranquil sanctuary amidst the bustling city. Each luxury suite features a four-poster bed, a living area, a bathtub, a separate shower room, and a fully stocked bar. A short stroll through a futuristic tunnel transports you to the family villas with a private pool and concierge service.

The ground floor beckons with two swimming pools, meticulously manicured gardens, an open terrace, and a bar—perfect settings for socialising. For an elegant dining experience, Qunu restaurant combines African ingredients with international flavours, presenting beautifully plated contemporary dishes that are as visually appealing as they are delicious. Pair your chosen fish or meat with a fine selection of wines carefully curated from The Saxon’s cellar.


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Photo: Facebook / @Rosebank Joburg

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