Johannesburg Travel Guide

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Where to Learn About Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg

May 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM | by | ()

When we think of the country South Africa, the name Nelson Mandela is without doubt one of the first things to come to mind. We all know the Cliffs Notes: He spent 27 years as a political prisoner, and four years after his 1990 release he became the country's president, subsequently ending nearly 50 years of apartheid in South Africa.

While Cape Town remains the shining star of South Africa's tourism industry, Johannesburg is ground-zero for all things historical when it comes to Mandela and his battle against the apartheid government. It's where you'll find the Apartheid Museum, a must-visit for international tourists looking for perspective on the racism that plagued South Africa from the 1950s until Mandela's rise to power.

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With Only Four More Days Until the World Cup, Teams Arrive in Style

June 7, 2010 at 11:35 AM | by | ()

Are you ready for some football?! Oops—wrong sport, unless you're into calling soccer by the better-known name of "football," and then you better be ready, because the World Cup 2010 hype is reaching a peak as teams arrive to Johannesburg, South Africa. They're getting kitted-up for the start of the games on June 11. That's only four days away!

Arriving in style this morning was Germany's team, as they flew in on Lufthansa's first A380, a super group onboard a superjumbo. Of course a double-decker plane has more than enough room for the players, and so their mighty entourage included everyone from their currywurst-loving top chef Holger Stromberg to the player's family members and airline top brass.

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Discovering South Africa's Apartheid History Through 'District 9'

August 14, 2009 at 4:19 PM | by | ()

District 9, in theaters now, is a sci-fi extravaganza that has thrilled critics and geeks alike. The movie centers around a group of refugee aliens that arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa, and are segregated into an area called District 9.

The film's title is a direct reference to District 6, the area where thousands of South Africans were relocated during the years of apartheid. Unlike most Sci-Fi fare today, the film addresses issues like segregation head on and actually creates a real social commentary. That's not to say it doesn't have cool special effects; it still has plenty of "how'd they do that?" moments too.

Here's a look at how to get into the spirit of District 9 while visiting South Africa.

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What's A Little Bandwidth Among Neighbors?

March 24, 2009 at 11:32 AM | by | ()

Welcome, friends! South Africa recently announced it would be relaxing its immigration policies to allow political refugees from Zimbabwe to live and work legally in the country. Despite the ascension of Morgan Tsvangirai to the country's highest office, food shortages are running as rampant as inflation on the legal currency and cholera is rearing its ugly head -- with no evidence that the situation will change any time soon.

Should these Zimbabweans choose to come by plane to Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport, they'll be getting a better deal on their Internet access than native South Africans, but only just: 50 minutes is 50 rand ($4.77) in the domestic terminal through Mweb but the same amount gets you 60 minutes in the international terminal on the airport's network. And in these troubled times, every cent counts.

Let us know you're safely plugging in all over the world -- send us your Airport WiFi stories.

Related Stories:
· SAfrica to ease immigration rules for Zimbabweans [International Herald Tribune]
· The Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg: Opulence in a High-Security Prison [HC]
· Airport WiFi Map [Jaunted]

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Recession Dining Goes Global

Where: 122 Pretoria Avenue, Johannesburg, South Africa
February 17, 2009 at 2:42 PM | by | ()

Finally, the US exports a food trend that doesn't suck.

Just about every high-end French resto in the States now has a "recession menu" or "permanent restaurant week" that aims to make foodie-friendly eats accessible to the poors and newly-poors.

As the financial crisis spreads far and wide, we're now seeing the idea of high-end recession menus show up further and further around the globe. Exhibit One is Auberge Micael, one of South Africa's only five-star restaurants. Set in Johannesburg's tony Sandtown neighborhood, this swank French resto is one of the country's best-reviewed eateries and a must-stop for any dedicated foodie passing through Jo'burg.

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World's Greatest Train Travel: Olde Africa, Bathtubs Optional

September 10, 2008 at 2:30 PM | by | ()

This week, we're mapping some of the world's greatest train trips.

Desk jockeys may find the route traveled by the Pride of Africa to be prohibitively long, not to mention impractical: The classic Cape to Cairo track may have been an innovation back in the days of "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?"

But on a continent known for being unknowable, the Pride of Africa, making tracks through Zimbabwe and Tanzania aboard the self-described "World's Most Luxurious Train," this route attracts because, even with its airplane attachments, it's the kind of journey no one takes any more.

Between the classic train cars (some dating from the 19-teens) to the built-in balconies, there's only one word for it: audacious. We can't help picturing some kind of adventure along the lines of "Strangers on a Train" meets "The Constant Gardener," or a dry "African Queen," that envelops everyone on board.

Related Stories:
· Cape to Cairo [Rovos Rail]
· Cape to Cairo, Mostly by Train []
· A Bunch of South Africans Who Took the Trip in 2007 [Our Cape to Cairo]
· Transsiberian Is An Ice-Cold Thriller [Jaunted]

[Photo: Old Fogey 1942]

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Labor Day Travel: Join the Joy of Jazz

August 12, 2008 at 2:00 PM | by | ()

This Labor Day, jazz lovers won't be gassing up the family SUV or "staycationing" on their couches with a sack of Cheetos and "Kind of Blue" on repeat. They'll be at the Joy of Jazz Festival, a relatively new South African concert series taking place in Johannesburg August 28-30.

The location of the festival makes it a promising spot to host artists from both East and West, from Japanese pianist Keiko Matsui to Spanish-Afro-Cuban outfit Seda Jazz. If you've never heard Xhosa-language songs, the August 30 concert by local talent Camagwini is a must--and a relative steal at R250 (about $32).

If you can arrive and shake off the jet lag by the 28, you can even sit in on a performance workshop hosted by one of the featured musicians!

Related Stories:
· Joy of Jazz [Official Site]
· Vanity Fair's Boutique South Africa [HC]
· Google Earth Travel: South Africa Tourism Goes Virtual [Jaunted]

[Photo of George Duke and Stanley Clarke at last year's festival: begapixel]

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Johannesburg Airport is a 'Den of Thieves'

November 1, 2006 at 5:19 PM | by | ()

Richard Chanters runs a small 10-bedroom B&B in the Livingstone part of Zambia called Chanters Lodge. As HotelChatter reported earlier today, Richard writes about life at the lodge on his Chanters Lodge blog, but he also does a lot of blogging on things to do in the area as well as about his personal travels.

Recently he took a trip to the UK and on his return to the Johannesburg International Airport, (soon to be OR Tambo) he experienced a bit of airport hell.

The place is a den of thieves as far as one can tell. When my luggage arrived at Livingstone, everything looked quite normal. The lock was undamaged. Then, on opening it, a cell phone and a dvd were missing, and inexplicably, a watch that I had taken to UK to have a new strap put on, had had the strap ripped off....The watch and the damaged strap were still there. How odd. Almost as if saying, we'll show you!

Richard then puts up a little poll asking if you have had thing stolen at Johannesburg Airport. Answers range from Yes to No to At Another Airport, so help the man out and vote. Although, we doubt it will bring his new watch strap back.

[Photo: Rusnova]


Tony Blair's Jet in Near-Accident

February 14, 2006 at 8:16 AM | by | ()

Tony Blair had what sounds like a very close shave yesterday, when an engine on his chartered DC8 failed immediately before takeoff. The chartered plane, which was nearly 40 years old, had reached a speed of 90 mph when the failure occurred; the flight from South Africa back to London was then cancelled. Because the takeoff was at 11 pm, no other flights were available until the morning. Blair missed a major vote back in London and had to stay overnight with the British High Commissioner. A Downing Street spokesman played things cool, saying that "In the technical jargon, this is termed a minor incident." Stiff upper lip, we suppose.

Related Stories:
·   Blair has brush with disaster [London Times]
·   Blair's Plane Is Halted [Guardian]