Exploring the Local Culture of Johannesburg, South Africa
Louise Trainor is a travel adviser. She believes that “going local” is the best way truly experience any travel destination. Need more information about where to stay when visiting Johannesburg?
Johannesburg is the economic and cultural heart of South Africa. It is a buzzing, cosmopolitan city with a work hard, play hard attitude that fills it with life and vibrancy. Affectionately known as Jozi or Jo’burg, the city will satisfy any kind of tourist. Whether you are looking for fine cuisine, history, culture or a hectic night out, Jozi has it all.
Retail therapy: Bruma Lake Flea Market and Irene Village Market
Bruma Lake Flea Market is the largest market of its kind in Jozi. It is open everyday except Mondays come rain or shine. Like most flea markets, is has the usual dodgy sunglasses and watches for sale, but it is also a fantastic place to pick up local crafts, textiles and accessories. There are plenty of food stalls selling traditional fare as well as fast food. There is also an arena, which really ramps up the atmosphere as the sounds of local dancers and musicians flood out. Bruma Lake Flea Market is located in Bruma opposite the East Gate Shopping Mall, so if you fancy even more retail therapy, then you can head to the mall afterwards.
If art is your thing, then the Irene Village Market is the place for you. Located about 40km north of Jo’burg in the Smuts House Museum, the Irene Village Market is a well-established art market with over 300 stalls ranging from fine art to antiques and clothing. Set within the grounds of the house, it is very child-friendly and there are plenty of food stalls and a licensed tearoom to keep you going.
Culture: Lesedi Cultural Village
If you want to immerse yourself in the melting pot that is South African culture, a trip to Lesedi is a must. This cultural village is not only a popular tourist attraction, but it also serves to keep the traditions of some of South Africa’s tribes alive. There are five homesteads in the village where people from the Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele tribes live and work. Visitors are invited to see the tribesmen’s lives as they have lived them for centuries. Entertainment is also provided in the form of dancing and music, and there is luxury accommodation if you would like to stay. However, Lesedi is not a theme park; it offers a unique insight into the lives of the five tribes and their people and is an important educational tool that helps remind people of South Africa’s rich heritage.
Natural beauty: Kingfishers
Situated in Magaliesburg, within easy reach of Jo’burg, is Kingfishers. This beautiful retreat is perfect for families or individuals wanting to get away from the heat of the city and take some time out to relax. The farm provides the perfect place for braai-ing (barbequeing), picnicking and chilling by the pool. There are excellent facilities for cooking, washing and changing. Three dams have been specially designed for trout fishing, and there are natural wetlands and bush for bird watching. If one day is not enough, there are chalets to stay in too.
For those wanting to sample the highs of a night out in Jozi, there are plenty of clubs and bars to choose from, catering to all tastes and moods. Make like the locals and party into the small hours after a long day. In the Sandton area, Taboo is the most popular club offering up-to-the-minute tunes. The Bassline club in Newton has a bluesy-jazz vibe, which plays host to local and international performers. The Liquid Chefs cocktail lounge is the perfect place to go for a relaxing, yet decadent drink selected from an extremely enviable cocktail menu.
So whatever you are looking for, Jozi has it. Come and party, chill or soak up some culture in this diverse and thriving city. Ready to book your hotel?