24 hours in Johannesburg: Sleep, shop, eat & mingle

Johannesburg. Some six years ago, when I was first visiting the South African capital city, I honestly did not make much of a connection. This time though, it was all different. Despite the little time we had for “Jo’burg” during our South African adventure trip, I did finally feel some more of the vibe of Johannesburg. Met & mingled with the locals, ate from their plates, felt the goosebumps from looking at Nelson Mandela’s original, handwritten letters. Wow. Honestly, taking this walk into the “inner sanctuary” of Nelson Mandela’s house of late .. It still humbles me deeply, to remember the privilege of that experience.

 

So let me take you by the hand, and give you an idea of what is possible in Jo’burg – even if you only have little time to visit.

Vom Flughafen lautet es dann auch sogleich: Eintauchen & tatsächlich auf Tuchfühlung gehen! Im typisch afrikanischen Lokal wird mit den Händen gegessen, wie ich es auch schon von Nepal kenne ...

Arrive, revive, and feel the vibe (and colours!) of South Africa! At the African restaurant “Little Addis”, we eat with our hands, just as I know it from having visited Nepal two years ago.

 

Das Taxi bringt uns in den farbenfrohen, hippen & sehr "hipster-lastigen" Maboneng-Bezirk im Herzen der Stadt Johannesburg ...

Our taxi takes us straight from the airport into the cultural (and hipster!) district of Jo’burg’s Maboneng …

 

... wo sich schrille Vibes ...

… where eccentric vibes …

 

... mit köstlichen Markthallen & Speiseangeboten aller Art ergänzen ...

… mix with the colours of the locals, both in terms of skin as well as of the variety of food we find inside the district’s market halls.

 

Dazu kommt, dass unsere südafrikanische Reise-Organisatorin Aletta "endlich" ihren Mann wiedergesehen hat: Rührend (und wunderschön) die beiden!

Lovely, too, to witness a reunion of a kind: Our wonderful South African host Aletta, who has been working at the South African Embassy in Vienna for the past few years, has finally made it to be with her husband again, both of them originally from Jo’burg!

 

Wer es luxuriös mag, erholt sich nachher im Four Seasons Westkliff Hotel ...

If you like a little luxury, consider staying (or dining) at the Four Seasons Westcliff Hotel, a perfect place to relax from a long overseas trip. Plus, the views from the rooftop terrace cover the entire city beyond!

 

Besides culture, food & some first South African vibes, do not miss a visit to Nelson Mandela’s house, and “his hood” Soweto!

The story of Nelson Mandela’s life is touching for sure, and even more so when you visit the place where he lived for so long. Talking about his house of late, now home to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, we met with Sello Hatang, the foundation’s present CEO, and immediately take to his charismatic way of being: Likely, an inspiration felt from the very spirit of Nelson Mandela himself. After a short session of Q & A, Sello offers to lead us right down into the cellars, opening up several books full of handwritten notes and letters Nelson Mandela wrote in his lifetime (in some of the eleven languages he is credited to have mastered). Amazing. Given the fact that he spent almost thirty years of his life behind bars, it is completely humbling to think of the conciliatory, peaceful, and utterly humble spirit he managed to maintain throughout his life, serving as an inspiration for so many. Check this out.

Vom Apartheid-Museum, welches zu einem großen Teil dem Wirken & Werden von Nelson Mandela gewidmet ist ...

Right up close to the Apartheid museum, which is dedicated in great part to Nelson Mandela …

 

... ist es nur ein Katzensprung "hinüber" in das vormalige Haus von Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, das heute als umfassendes Museum über sein Leben dient.

… we find ourselves visiting the former house of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, which now serves as the headquarters of the foundation in his name, also housing a small museum.

 

Hier führt uns Sello Hatang ...

Sello Hatang leads the way …

 

... direkt hinein in die Notizen Nelson Mandela's: Von selbigen hier bin ich wirklich berührt ...

… sharing some of the original notes Nelson Mandela wrote in his lifetime with us (take this one from 1969!) …

 

... auch Geschenke haben "Mahiba", wie Nelson Mandela von seinen Stammesleuten gerne genannt wird, Zeit seines Lebens erreicht.

… including many presents dedicated to him, from friends & presidents the world over.

 

Vielen Dank für diesen unvergesslichen Besuch, lieber Sello Hatang & Team der Nelson Mandela Stiftung!

Thank you so much, dear Sello Hatang & team, for receiving and welcoming us at the Nelson Mandela Foundation & Museum!

 

Last but not least, do plan a visit to Soweto, the original home of Nelson Mandela & some true, South African vibes.

Right here, inside the largest “city district of Johannesburg” (which prefers to claim a city status of its own, having outgrown even the town of Johannesburg itself), life as we know it is in full swing. Music on the streets, Zulu dancers perform in front of us, souvenir markets line the streets, and people of all ages (and colours) are around. Next thing we know, we are invited to take a seat “Chez Alina” (at Alina’s restaurant): The lady of the house uses charm & education to fight youth poverty & unemployment in her neighbourhood. She employs local teenagers and adults as waiters and chefs, much in line with Nelson Mandela’s motto “Education is the most powerful tool you have to change the world”. The food being delicious, we love to support her with our visit, and I am delighted to learn that she is planning on hosting cooking courses in the near future, too!

Guess I’ll have to come back soon again, then … Creative Travel in South Africa, here I come 😀

Einkehr "Chez Alina" ...

Arriving “Chez Alina” …

 

... sofort schließe ich die liebe Dame beim Gespräch ins Herz ...

… I take to this wonderful local lady from Soweto immediately …

 

... eine wahrlich spannende Adresse für Euren nächsten kulinarisch-kulturellen Besuch in Soweto ...

… hers a story of having made a difference to life in Soweto, through culture, education, and food …

 

... einer Stadt, die vor Leben nur so sprüht ...

… a city that is alive with the most vibrant of cultures …

 

... auch die Medienhäuser ...

… and even the way some of the local media present themselves …

 

... "Medien-Häuser"! tragen einiges dazu bei, das kulturelle Feuer aufrecht zu erhalten ...

… pays tribute to a people of a kind (I mean, from what I gather, this bus is home to a mobile TV station ..?) …

 

Ciao Südafrika, Johannesburg, Soweto ...

Ciao South Africa, Johannesburg, Soweto …

 

... wir sehen uns bestimmt bald wieder!

… we’ll likely be back soon!

 

Check out more pictures from my trip around South Africa, the Rainbow Country:

 

If like me, you can’t get enough, check out the amazing safari we did prior to our visit in Johannesburg. The video, too, is beautiful as it is:

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by the South African Embassy, Tourism Board & Qatar Airways on this trip to South Africa. All opinions are my own.

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