While you may have heard about the regeneration of the inner city, have you had a chance to experience it first-hand? If your answer is no, then you need to block off the last week of August in your calendar as inner city Joburg is set to come alive with the inaugural Joburg City festival from 25 – 31 August.
Once infamous now cool, bringing the locals back
Tourism, hospitality and creative businesses have come together to present a host of activities – from street soccer and night-time cycling to foodie experiences, walking tours, rooftop parties and ballet performances. If you’re coming from out of town, why not make a weekend of it and take in all the urban entertainment on offer.
Joburg boasts some fantastic inner-city hotels with modern rooms, trendy restaurants and designer bars. Choose from EasyHotel, Faircity Mapungubwe Hotel, Parktonian Hotel (Protea Hotels) Reef Hotels (African Sky), StayCity, The Bannister Hotel or Urban Hip Hotels such as Ashanti and 12 Decades hotels.
There’s so much diverse entertainment on offer – but here are my top picks, so go make the most of it…
The Apprentice Food and Wine Experience – Wednesday, 28 August
This is a two-hour walking tour through the corporate mining district, followed by a gastronomic food and wine tasting at one of Joburg’s most exclusive private venues. Urban Ocean’s luxury Penthouse, atop the historic National Bank Building was where the South African version of the Apprentice Apartment was filmed, and offers stunning views of the mining district.
The Forum Company – daily, 28 – 31 August
If you want to capture the cosmopolitan spirit of a thriving inner city while enjoying a Tapas and Cocktail experience, head here. The event, held in a ‘street setting’ outside Turbine Hall in Newtown, celebrates the energy of urban city life in a trendy setting.
The Sky Level rooftop bar – Throughout the festival, 25 – 31 August
Probably one of the best venues for sundowners, this bar at the Parktonian Hotel will be open to the public during the festival. Take in the panoramic 360 degree views of Joburg while feasting on a choice of flame-grilled kebabs, beef fillet, springbok loin or chicken-and-prawn curry combined with gluwein, draft beer or soft drinks. Pre-booking is essential – www.parktonian.co.za
Lamunu Craft Beer Festival – Saturday, 31 August
Beer lovers and hipsters need to head to Braamfontein more regularly to try Lamunu Restaurant and Bar Food and Craft beer pairings. Otherwise the Craft Beer Festival on 31 August.
Apart from many food events, various city restaurants will offer on-going meal specials, coffee tastings and food experiences throughout the festival.
Folk muso Jeremy Loops at Randlords – Sunday, 25 August
Randlords is one of the most upmarket venues in the city with its rooftop providing one the most amazing skyline views. It usually plays host to “Balcony TV Johannesburg” but this weekend’s live music event is a must.
The South African Mzansi Ballet – Throughout the festival, 25 – 31 August
The country’s largest and most prestigious professional ballet company is a must for culture lovers. They are having a host of performances throughout the festival. Otherwise you may also want to checkout daily fun events at the Fashion Kapitol, from fashion exhibitions to storytelling and cultural dance.
Past Experiences – Sunday 25 August and Thursday, 29 August
Joburg city, formerly a pariah in the tourism industry is now teeming with exciting inner city walking tours. I love street art and find this is probably one of the best ways to experience it. The original Joburg city waking tour company – is offering some fun, short tours of the city. Join them for a Graffiti Walk at 10am on the Sunday or The Phuza Braamfontein Pub Crawl on the Thursday evening.
Gandhi to Mandela Tour held – Throughout the festival, 25 – 31 August
Gerald Garner, the author of Joburg Places, the go to guide on the city, offers excellent city tours. This two-hour will explore sites in the city relevant to both icon’s time there. Its conveniently held during lunch time, especially convenient for people working in the city.
Regenerated Inner-City Walking Tour takes – Saturday, 31 August
This half-day tour will take you on a journey through the regenerated districts of the city, with insights into Jozi’s fascinating history.
Annual Jozi Street Ball Cup Championship – Throughout the festival, 25 – 31 August
The 1st of what is set to be an annual championship will take place on Gandhi Square with several street soccer teams competing for the Jozi Street Ball title.
Critical Mass cycling – Friday, 30 August
An inner city simply is not complete if it’s not bicycle-friendly. This event will also aim to raise awareness of the benefits of a car-free city environment with an en-mass night-time cycle ride through the city.
Participation is free, you obviously are required to bring your own bike and it starts in Braamfontein at 19:00. Even if you don’t ride, head down to one of the fantastic city restaurants – Doubleshot Coffee & Tea, 86 Public Pizzeria, Velo Gallery Café or Lamunu Restaurant – to experience what is sure to be a fantastic urban vibe.
As there is no central booking system, events need to be pre-booked with the individual venues.
For enquiries contact Gerald Garner or Nabeelah Dadabhay on:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for full festival programme.
Cell: 082 894 5216
Enjoy the Jozi’s offering folks!