The best tips for Johannesburg – according to me

For a conference, I once had to go to Johannesburg and had the pleasure to spend the larger part of a week there. So here are the best tips for Johannesburg – according to me.

Why you’ll love Johannesburg

I am still not sure what to think of Johannesburg. The hotel where I stayed had multiple armed guards at the entrance and even a guy with a machine gun would patrol my floor in the hotel. The conference organisers stressed I could not leave the hotel alone and I could only go to the nearby shopping centre and the other shopping centres that were connected on the same metro. So, enjoy the city, but be aware of the different safety tips you can find online and the tips you’ll get from hotel staff.

My best omakase experience in Johannesburg

The Japanese habit of omakase (お任せ) when you’re ordering at a restaurant pretty much means, “I’ll leave it up to you”, inviting the chef to be innovative and surprising in the selection of dishes. I try to do it in every city I visit, and apply the idea behind to everything between how I pick my runshow I pick my foodhow I plan activities with my kidshow I explore cities and how I travel in general. So, I tried this in Johannesburg as well.

My best omakase experience in Johannesburg was when I was lucky enough to be invited for a Braai, a local-style barbeque in one of the gated communities in the city by someone who I had just met during the day. That in itself was quite the experience (I coul never imagine living in a gated community myself). But apart from that, the hospitality and sheer quality of food and barbeque was amazing. I am super gratefull to have experienced this.

The best things to do in Johannesburg – according to me

  • When you’re visiting Johannesburg, be sure to visit the Apartheid museum. It made a lasting impression, pretty much like the Holocaust museums in Warsaw or other World War II related museums in Europe. It gives a breathtaking and shocking insight on the details, depth and width of what happened during the Apartheid regime.

The best hotels in Johannesburg – according to me

  • I spent some time in the Johannesburg Intercontinental Sandton Towers which was totally fine, but in line with what you would expect from an Intercontinental (good service, but slightly outdated and typically hotel experience).
  • I spent a day at the Saxon Hotel Johannesburg, Mandela’s residence after his 27-year incarceration. Waaay above my budget, but amazing to spend the day.

The best place to go out for a run in Johannesburg – according to me

I hardly ever saw frontdesk staff freak out as much as when I turned up in my running gear at the reception asking where I could go out for a run near my hotel. They would definately not let me run outside of the hotel because it was just too dangerous (more on running safety in my separate post).

So the best place to go out for a run – in your hotel fitness center.

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