Like lots of places all over the world you sometimes only hear the bad.
Rio – you will get robbed, New York – rude people, London – expensive and Jo’burg – seriously dangerous.
But I can confirm that I went to Jo’burg and I actually really liked it. I liked the bars, restaurants, cafes and after spending weeks and weeks in a tent in the middle of nowhere I loved being in a big city again.
I caught the Gautrain from Pretoria into Central Jo’burg, the train was really very nice. It was clean, fast and there was plenty of security both in the stations and on the train. Two of Dan’s friends live in Jo’burg so we got picked up by them from the station and headed to their house in the trendy neighbourhood of Melville.
That evening we went out for drinks and dinner in Melville, it is a small strip filled with second hand shops, bars, cafes and cute little shops. I took an instant liking to the place! We shared some wine and ate at a Mexican restaurant.
The following day in Jo’burg we went to a fantastic brunch spot called ‘Pablo Eggs Go Bar’ where I got myself an awesome brunch! The food was excellent and the staff were super friendly. We found ourselves back in Jo’burg two weeks later to catch a flight out of South Africa and we just had to go back here.
On my first visit I opted for french toast with an iced coffee
Dan got eggs with soldiers and asparagus wrapped in bacon with a fresh juice.
Second time around I got my go to brunch dish of avocado, eggs and bacon
Dan went for something a little different with flat bread, hummus and eggs.
We spent three hours at the apartheid museum and I can honestly say it is without doubt the best museum I’ve ever been to in my life (and I’ve been to many over the years all over the world).
I had just finished Nelson Mandela’s book ‘The Long Walk to Freedom’ so I was prepared what I was going to see but it was still a very very emotional experience and I had tears at the end.
The museum was very comprehensive, hard hitting and emotional.
It’s hard to put into words just how they show what life was like for people during apartheid but there was a variety of mediums to convey what happened. The video footage was tough to watch, the stories from real people made it easy to understand what normal people went through and there was even real signs and I.D cards from apartheid plastered all over the museum.
At the end of the museum there was another huge section dedicated just to Nelson Mandela, it had the car that he rode in on his first day of freedom, many many videos and photographs and other memorabilia. I think that was the room that really made me feel so emotional. What he and so many other people went through during this time in South Africa was demonstrated so well in this museum.
Jo’burg was a real surprise for me and I’m glad that I got to spend time here exploring this city with such a dark past.
Of course, you do need to keep your wits about you like any big city but I never felt threatened in any way. There is plenty of security around and I used uber a lot there to get around which is super safe.