It almost always happens without fail. At the beginning of October every year, the start of summer in South Africa, the itch for travelling starts. The hibernating slumber of winter wears off and new beginnings, novel adventures await with the early chirping of birds in our budding Johannesburg gardens.
But what to do if the year’s economic slump has taken its toll on the available money notes in one’s purse and travelling to far away exotic places is at best a pleasing daydream? It is then when one calls on creativity and take inspiration from Jalaluddin Rumi, the Essential Rumi, who said: “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” Movement and myth making is easy in Jozi if one journeys the yellow brick road, or more appropriately, the golden route.
Travelling at 160 kilometres per hour, the Gautrain will take less than 40 minutes to travel between Pretoria Station and Johannesburg Park Station. On its route, this golden bullet stops at the Centurion, Midrand, Marlboro, Sandton and Rosebank stations. Not wanting to hang around in stations doing people watching all day, one can catch a Gautrain bus to some exceptional local attractions: In Pretoria the bus will take you to an extraordinary “jungle” experience at the Pretoria Zoo.
In Midrand, the bus takes you to the Mall of Africa, the largest single phase shopping mall to be built in Africa. This Mall’s designs, which will rival any mall in Dubai, is inspired by Africa’s geological features. The Crystal Court represents Southern Africa’s mineral wealth with sharp geometric patterns. The Great Lakes Court represents the Great Lakes of East Africa. The Desert Court represents the Sahara Desert of North Africa. The Oleum Court represents West Africa’s oil wealth and the Forest Walk Court is in the center of the shopping mall, representing Central Africa and its rain forests.
Having a particular affinity for Jozi’s northern suburbs and wanting to go out on the town for the evening, this intrepid blogger took the Gautrain bus from Rosebank Station to Melrose. The bus stops in Melrose Boulevard, right at the centre of vibrant Melrose Arch. Wanting to experience urban Africa, Moyo was chosen as the place to have dinner.
One does not have to travel to England to experience an English pub. Churchills is the quintessential English bar. Their cocktails are top notch and they have one of the largest selections of single Malts, Premium Whisky’s and Champagnes. Over weekends their pub transforms into a club for the young at heart.
Even Dorothy had to take some sleeping refuge. Melrose Place Guest Lodge, 10 minutes’ walk from Rosebank and a short drive from Melrose Arch, has lushly treed gardens filled with birdsong and the smell of jasmine that will rival the Wizard of Oz’s famous poppy fields. Their spacious white-linened beds, fully renovated bathrooms with modern baths and large glass enclosed showers and sparkling swimming pool all adds to a luxurious country house feeling. It may be noted that the golden Gautrain bus stops directly outside of their front gate!
They say “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings”. Well, this lady has not starting singing yet and still has many adventures to pursue right in the heartland of Gauteng.