The December exodus is almost upon us and soon Johannesburg is going to be pleasurably quiet. It’s a great time to be in the city – there’s very little traffic, tons of parking, no queues for movies and the boutiques all have Christmas sales.
There is still space available at some of our Johannesburg Guesthouses if you have visitors over the Christmas / New Year period. As I type, Amanzi Guest House, Hands on Retreat, Leighwood Guest Lodge and Liz at Lancaster all have rooms available. Actually, there is space at most of our guesthouses, at different times, so check out the website. All properties are well positioned in the northern suburbs, with gorgeous gardens and in this heat, welcome swimming pools.
And if you’re looking for things for your guests to do over the holidays, here are a couple of ideas:-
Open roof bus tour: You can join an open roof bus tour with Johannesburg City Sightseeing and explore Johannesburg and Soweto. Stops are made at Constitution Hill, the SAB World of Beer, the Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City, Vilikazi Street, and the Hector Peterson Museum amongst others. It’s a fab way to spend a day, inexpensive and you can get an all round view of Jozi.
Art Museums: There are so many excellent art museums in Jozi. In Rosebank visit Everard Read, Circa, the Goodman Gallery and Kim Sacks. Have lunch at The Parks, then head to Braamfontein, spend time at the Wits Art Museum and maybe pop in to Consitutional Hill too. Take your wallet if you’re in a shopping mood, there are lots of lovely quirky shops in the areas.
Rhino and Lion Game Reserve: This is about an hour out of Johannesburg and wonderful for an out of town visitor. You’ll be taken on a game drive to see the animals, which include not just rhino and lion but also wild dog, hippo and plains game. The Sterkfontein Caves are in the area, home to hominid and animal fossils, and Maropeng and the Nirox Sculpture Gardens are nearby. The Cradle is a brilliant place for lunch, just make sure you book in advance.
Bird Gardens at Montecasino: There’s a magnificent walk-in-aviary with over 60 species of birds and a ‘Flight of Fantasy’ show, three times a day over the weekend, twice a day midweek. Combine this visit with time at Montecasino, with lots of restaurants and shops, a casino, and there are two theatres so check what’s showing. There’s a kiddies play area too.
Walk the Westcliff Steps: Ask your Jozi Guesthouse for directions, or ask them to drop you at the bottom of the steps. You can walk up (there are three flights on various streets) and then wander around the beautiful neighbourhood of Westcliff. Head down and have coffee in Parkview. The Perfect Cup, Bread and Butter and Croft are all open sporadically over the Christmas period. Roscommon Cottages and At The Zoo are in the Parkview area. Walk around Zoo Lake, feed the ducks and have a cocktail at Moyo. You may want to visit the Johannesburg Zoo too.
And then there are movies in Hyde Park, Rosebank or Sandton, fabulous book stores to explore (Exclusive Books is in all three shopping centres) walk along 4th Avenue Parkhurst, and see the Christmas lights, walk at Emmarentia Dam or Delta Park or hang out at 44 Stanley or Maboneng.
Johannesburg is an exciting city and a really wonderful city over December when it’s all yours! Remember to check when everything is open though as these places all have different opening / trading hours over the Christmas period.