The Fast and Scary life in Johannesburg

Johannesburg Travel Blog

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A shanty house in Soweto Township

This was primarily a business trip to attend what is left of the formerly African Travel Market; a tourism initiative to promote tourism on the African continent. It brings together tour operators, destination marketing companies, accomodation providers including hotels, tourism boards, the media and all hospitality service providers. I arrived in Johannesburg aboard a Kenya Airways flight with three of my colleagues in the travel business. I was booked at one of the Sandton hotels, right in the city center and not far from where the symposium was being held. I shall never stay there again.

The one thing I remember so well was the crowds, traffic, everything seemed unusually fast.

Neslon Mandela Bridge
I stayed a week in Johannesburg and I can tell you that I literally went out at night once. Johannesburg's level of violence is quite hight and it is important as a visitor to be aware of your surroundings. Even though Johannesburg is the largest, richest and most populated of South Africa's cities, it has never been the seat of governess. My South African counterparts were helpful in pointing out the places to avoid while recommending places for entertainment and dinning. The most well known and celebrated of South Africa's townships is Soweto, the sprawling mix of shanty town and formal housing estates that lies approximately 30km outside of Johannesburg in Gauteng. Established in 1932, the region was first known as Orlando East. More than 3.5 million people live there and continues to grow on a daily basis. It is a point of interest, tour operators run tours to Soweto daily, please do go on an organized tour if you must visit Soweto.
Downtown Johannesburg

The fast life in Johannesburg can be captivating, but the violence is more real and a good reason to be watchful when visiting Johannesburg. It is not called the city of gold and diamonds for nothing, it has the riches and people kill for it. As I mentioned the city is large and most everything is at a distance, you have to drive from place to place. They however have a great network of highways that connects all areas of the city, this is a first world. Avoid the downtown or city center area is you can unless you come from hard core cities and can contend with the level of crime that has become city center of Johannesburg, too many people waiting to steal froom you, they will literally chop off you hand if it has gold on it, there is a feeling of watchful eyes that I felt the whole while I was there. The outskirts are safer and if you know where to be, Johannesburg is actually a beautiful city. I recommend visiting the Apatheid Museum, Soweto township, Johannesburg Art gallery, Constitutional hill, the Gold mines, and the Humankind craddle.

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A shanty house in Soweto Township
A shanty house in Soweto Township
Neslon Mandela Bridge
Neslon Mandela Bridge
Downtown Johannesburg
Downtown Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela Bridge
Nelson Mandela Bridge
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