Inspired by the lights and driven by the people’s passion, I’ve always been particularly drawn to the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg. Shopping trips and urban night life are the norm, but this time around I got to experience the Gauteng Province in a way that I have never experienced before; with amazing company from my Batswana colleagues, new friends from countries such as Mozambique, Brazil, Spain, the United States of America and Denmark.
Besides its dominant urban lifestyle, there are a lot of other places to explore in and arround the city of Lights. I had the privilege of attending the prestigious music festival, Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, which attracted thousands of spectators to witness performances by musical legends such as Abdullah Ibrahim, The Temptations, Carmen Lundy, Stimela and Sipho Mabuse. As a young person, I got to enjoy the best of jazz; something I didn’t know I had in me, and I also enjoyed the best of what the City of Gold treasures.
With a bunch of other eager foreign explorers, this is what we encountered during our six-day stay in Gauteng.
Vaal River boat cruise
The Vaal is a 45-minute drive out of Johannesburg. Although untapped as a destination, the Vaal River is Johannesburg’s main attractio, offering water activities such as water skiing, water hydraulics, picnic sites along the river banks, speed boats and a lazy Sunday afternoon boat cruise of which we got to unwind after the jazz festival. A buffet was served during the course of the cruise while enjoying a glass of Chardonnay on the roof top deck. This is a weekend destination one can escape to; to refresh and recharge.
This is definitely the highlight of my stay in SA because I love food and good company. After a morning of exploring SA’s rich history at Lilies Farm in Rivonia, we drove to Taste Buds cook club for lunch, where we made ourselves traditional SA dishes from scratch. This activity was so much fun, not only because the food was so delectable, but because we all got to interact closely while getting to know each other over some good laughs and humourous recipes. On the menu there was a tomato bredie and bobotjie, uniquely Capetonian dishes, pumpkin fritters and chakalaka. These were completed by a delictable dessert of milk tart and koek sisters. Johannesburg has a big eating out culture and experiencing the culture in such a way is a sure way to fully immerse yourself in the SA people’s roots.
Soweto Quad Biking
Courtesy of Soweto Outdoor Adventures, while some bungee jumped at the Orlando towers, we got to explore the famous Soweto township on quad bikes, riding through residential streets and interacting with the residents while taking in some historical monuments, such as former SA president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela’s house located in Soweto’s Vilikazi Street. The street is now a popular tourist destination lined with restaurants and a souvenir market. After the long day, the group enjoyed a proudly South African hearty meal at Next Door, one of the eateries located along this famous main street.