Gimme Hope Jo’anna!

Posted on November 25, 2011

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This is Johannesburg!

Look at it! It’s beautiful! Now when someone suggests a holiday in the sun, the first thought in a lot of Europeans mind is Spain. For Americans is either good old California or the sandy beaches of Florida. But I’m here to tell you that if you to expand your horizons. Africa isn’t all doom and gloom like they show on the news. There isn’t wars erupting every other day. Ok, that’s not strictly true, there is a lot of bad things happening, but Jo’anna isn’t one of them.

South Africans have a lot of bad memory when it comes to this city, it was the seat of power during the years of Apartheid, but since then the cities gone into a crusade to reinvent itself. As Konrad Raubenheimer put it, ‘Johannesburg is the city most African cities want to be when they grow up.’ And I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been there a few times and I love it. From the moment you step out of the fantastically enormous OR Tambo airport you will be in awe of this city. Not the way that New York or Tokyo will take your breath away, no, Johannesburg has a different effect. It’s the astonishment you feel at the fact that you’ve never heard people raving about it as much as they do about the other great cities of the world.

    

Money, especially the foreign currency you will be carrying is a highly sought after commodity in South Africa, and so with a moderate amount of cash you can enjoy the cities incredible hotels and spas, and most importantly, its food! I am a huge food enthusiast so it was amazing for me, but even if you’re not, trust me, Joburg has a lot of surprises up its sleeve. In the western world we say that we have the culinary expertise of every culture at the dial of our phones, but one culture we are yet to fully immerse ourselves in, atleast in the culinary sense, is African. Skip the sushi and pizza, you can have that next time you go to NYC, try the native African dishes. They have flavours that will confuse and entice your taste buds at the same time.

Now if your anything like me I can tell you that it’s gonna take you some severe motivation to get up from the table at the restaurant and go outside. But after you have done what seemed impossible check out some of the cities museums before you start shopping. I would start at the Apartheid Museum, it’s quite sad, but it will inspire and sadden you the same way the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech or the WWII graves  in France do. You will be in awe of what we can do in the face of true injustice. After that check out the Museum Africa, in addition to the building being incredibly beautiful, the main exhibitions are unlike anything you will have ever seen before. If you thought Westerners were not used to African cuisine, you will be blown away by how little we know about African culture in general.

So there you have it! Johannesburg, one of the hidden gems of the world. So the next time you decide to go on holiday, you should give this city some serious thought.

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Posted in: Travel