From High Fashion To Flea Markets
In Johannesburg, there is no shortage of stylish boutiques for the discerning visitor. The city has a huge high fashion scene. Fashion lovers should head to the Eastgate Centre in the Northern suburbs, where international boutiques like Abigail Keats and Stuttafords International store play host to some of the most exclusive international labels at surprisingly affordable prices. Also, don't miss the boutiques that host local designers like Maska or S Couture. These designers blend European inspirations with their African roots, which results in some stylish – and some very colourful – creations.
A stroll around the city’s lively flea markets that can often result in a haul of luxurious goods from all over Africa. As a major urban hub, people come from all over the continent go to Johannesburg to sell their wares here. Burma Market is the largest flea market in the Southern Hemisphere, so it is likely that shoppers will find whatever they were looking for and a few things that they were not. Places like Rosebank Rooftop Market and B&B Hillfox are also some of the best places to find all manner of exotic fabrics – as well as a tailor nearby who can create any design they are given.
Tour operators like Go Safari specialize in taking private parties out to view the native wildlife on their own dream safaris in Kruger Park, Pilanesberg and Madikwe. Stay in a private safari house and only take luxury trains if safari area is a bit far from the city.
For those who are more interested in marine life, check out Timeout Scuba, which takes travellers to Richards Bay, the town where South Africa meets the Indian Ocean. This is considered to be some of the best underwater diving in the world due to the unique blend of vibrant reefs, spooky shipwrecks and the various species of sharks and stingrays that frequent the area. Timeout Scuba provides lessons for beginners and will even accompany the experienced diver who is a bit weary of the sharks in the area. Regardless, everyone who braves the seas off the coast of South Africa is in for one exhilarating dive.
The La Belle Terrasse in the Westcliff Hotel is expertly furnished with 18th century French antiques, which gives this little restaurant a very stylish feel. Signature dishes include crocodile carpaccio, grilled kudu loin and sesame encrusted salmon. The restaurant offers great views of Johannesburg Zoo and the city. Diners should book reservations in advance, as getting a table at this restaurant can be a difficult task.
For a taste of African cuisine, check out one of the hottest restaurants in the city: Moyo. Located by Zoo Lake, diners are sure to notice it from the amazing views. The menu focuses on rich African cooking with signature dishes such as ostrich burgers, lentil bobotie and Moroccan-inspired tagines. It is recommended to take in an early dinner at Moyo, so that you can enjoy a leisurely stroll around the lake or take out a row boat after.
Know Where To Stay
Though not short of lodging options, finding a good luxury hotel in Johannesburg can be a little hit or miss at times. The trick to finding a quality hotel with decent service is to follow the shoppers. The north side of town is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the city.
Located in the exclusive suburb of Sandhurst – and being possibly the most exclusive property in all of Johannesburg – is the legendary Saxton Hotel. This hotel has been showered with awards. Many government officials and visiting celebrities have stayed at the Saxton, including Nelson Mandela after his release from prison. The butlers at the hotel keep extensive records on their guests, right down to their drink order. The rooms are decorated in an elegant modern style and they all have large bay windows overlooking the city.
Built on a steep hill, the Westcliff Hotel provides lovely views of the city and the Johannesburg Zoo. Though the hotel looks big, many of the rooms are multi-story villas with balconies, so there are only about half as many rooms as guests would expect. Staying there feels like you have your own little apartment overlooking the city. Inside, the rooms come equipped with marble vanities and huge soaking tubs.
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