Go for a Game Drive. We went...
Go for a Game Drive. We went up to Pilansberg national park. I've never seen Elephants this close even in a zoo! We must have been within 6 feet of these huge animals as they crosses the road in front of us. They guy I went with had relatives that lived in Pretoria. We stayed up there the night before our game drive. We drove up the night before, it was so dry, the grass on the mountains was alight. There were even fires raging on the side of the highway, we had to swirve several times to avoid it!
The first thing I noticed about Pretoria was that the air there is so fresh in the morning. We went for a walk down to the lake and saw wild monkeys roaming the streets, just like you'd see squirrels in the UK.
Sun City was also a great place to visit, although if you're not into slot machines, I can't see there being a great deal to do there in the winter.
The financial capital of South Africa
Many people call South Africa ‘The America of Africa’.
It represents only a small 3% of the continent’s total surface area, yet it accounts for 40% of all African industrial output, (Johannesburg 'Gauteng' accounting for 60% of South Africa's 40%).
There are many malls here of world class standards (5 star). It has more malls than other provinces, this is due to there being more money here.
Where I used to live (Randburg), there were about 10 BIG malls within half an hour from me. All top quality and greta to visit.
SOuth WEstern TOwnship... a sprawling just outside of Johannesburg.
Much of what occurred in South Africa's political history dealing with Apartheid took place here which has over 3,000,000 inhabitants.
There are still squatter homes, which are basically corrugated tin dwellings. No windows. Roofs have heavy rocks to keep it on when the wind blows.
There is electricity and fresh water now available to the community. Long overdue but there now thankfully.
There is still much to do, millions of people needing aid takes a while, but I think the government has, since 1994, made huge strides in helping the people’s lifestyles here.
There are also very nice looking homes in Soweto. You get the poorest of the poor living here, as well as some very wealthy people in other areas within Soweto.
Definately worth a day visit, you can stay overnight here too (in an organised tour group... I wouldnt just drive here and look out for B&B signs..)
My Soweto page has more information
There is a trend to renewing the buses on the network at the moment.
It is however neither convenient or extensive at this stage.
Almost all go via the centre of JHB to suburbs.
No metro system exists. Nor ever likely (the bedrock too hard therefore too expensive)
Train: dangerous on the train but especially in and around the stations
An unusual dining event
Elsabe Zietsman is a well-known character (entertainer) around Johannesburg. She owns a guesthouse, Zietsies, on the Brixton hill, just next to the Kingston Frost Park. It is here that she hosts some wonderful artistic parties, probably best described as “klein konsertjies met kos” (“little concerts with food). Her apron proclaims her “actress, songstress, chefstress” and her keen eye spots new arrivals to whom she (unnecessarily, but unpretentiously modestly) introduces herself. She offers me a drink and I head out to the balcony which has the most amazing view of Johannesburg, the SABC, the Brixton Tower and the building renovations still in progress. The sun sinks into the west and the guests head into the dining room for dinner.
Between courses she regales her guests with tales of her work on the rehabilitation of the Kingston Frost Park which had sadly deteriorated into an abandoned, isolated and dangerous open space and her “project” child, Clinton, a music student at the National School of the Arts. She clearly believes in making a difference to both individuals and her community.
Zietsman invites us to join her club, a doillie club. Why a doillie? Because somewhere in our backgrounds, all South Africans of every description have a doilie. Those little crotched (or plastic) cloths on the table with a pot on top of them are part of our shared culture. I smirk. I grew up with them. They are distinctly part of my heritage. The club’s stated mission centres around this culture and people are invited to host their book club meetings, or enjoy guided wine tastings, or simply to phone up and make arrangements to drop by for dinner. Membership of the club is a modest R25 per year.
A seasonal watermelon and feta salad is followed by babotie prepared from Kook en Geniet (a well known Afrikaans cook book the title of which simply means cook and enjoy). And then, as if the guests may not have had enough fun, on to the evening’s entertainment. Usually, on a Sunday. Elsabe entertains her guests herself, but on the Thursday evening I visited, Bruce Little, accompanied on piano by Cathrine Hopkins, presented a revue, “Little Poof”. It was hysterically funny, predictably aimed at a niche gay audience.
After the show there is dessert, vanilla ice cream and berries, and coffee and more drinks.
This is truly a wonderful way of spending an evening. Note that the cost is for dinner and the entertainment.
To join the Doillie Club or be invited to dinner and the show, simply contact Elsabe on 082 774 4902 or mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. I've only eaten there once. It is a set menu for the day. Babotie is South Africa's national dish.