Maboneng

A long weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa

“Come hungry” – advice I was given before I headed to Johannesburg. With the amount of food I consumed over the three-day break, I now pass this advice on to you. There is much to discover, taste, and feast on here; and that’s without the ridiculously good wine. With overnight flights from London, and the same timezone as GMT, it’s easy to fit a jaunt to Jozi in to a long weekend. I went with some preconceptions that made me hesitant as what to expect, and came away wanting to return and urge others to visit. It’s certainly not without it’s problems, but as a tourist, I didn’t experience anything that would deter a revisit.

Go, and be sure to head to these while you’re there:

  • Neighbourgoods Market: a disused factory-turned-industrial chic multi-story space in Braamfontein. The go to for fresh supplies and Saturday brunch (9am-3pm), with everything from homemade fudge and freshly cracked coconuts (Malibu shot optional), to artisan cheese, organic wine and biltong; the must-try flame-grilled Balkan cheeseburger, and the all chanting entertainers at Sumting Fresh, serving up a mean chicken sandwich, with homemade spicy sauce. Upstairs a bar serving craft beers, and a buzzy terrace to while away an afternoon looks over to a building-sized mural of Nelson Mandela
  • 44 Stanley: My favourite Joburg discovery, this place reminded me so much of Toronto‘s cool Distillery District. In this courtyard, there’s a beer yard serving up live music, local craft beers on tap and spicy prego rolls under the shelter of trees; vintage home shops selling far more covetable items than my weekend case would allow, and the Bean There Coffee Company roastery specialising in single origin Fair Trade beans, which does a mean cup of freshly roasted and ground Ethiopian coffee.
  • Market on Main: In the arty Maboneng district, east of CBD, there’s another foodie paradise surrounded by clothing boutiques and art galleries, where I found a comfortable, people-watching spot in the courtyard, supped on a cool Bavarian-esque, South African Swagga Weiss beer, tucked into a pulled pork sandwich from Jozi’s Smokehouse and ate my first Koek Sister, one of the most delicious, warm, cinnamon-spiced, coconut coated, churros-cross-donuts I’ve ever had.
  • Maboneng: The streets surrounding Market on Main, Art on Main, are filled with art galleries, independent coffee shops, fashion boutiques and stalls selling various handmade crafts, and plastered with graffiti. I’m not talking lazy tags, the work here is impressive and by well known South African artists. From pieces carved into burnt wood, to the thought-provoking, Before I Die.

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