Most people did not recommend coming here, but...
01.08.2013 - 01.10.2013 80 °F
We had mixed feelings about going to Johannesburg (or Jo-burg as the locals call it). Everything we read online and everyone we met advised against it because of crime and nothing much to do there. We decided to give it a shot and found a great deal for renting a flat in Standton. The Standton mall at Nelson Mandela Square was reminiscent of LA with its flashy people and shops. It would have been completely awkward a year ago to be walking around in such a fancy place with our backpacking packs, but apparently we’ve gained some courage since being on this trip.
On the bus ride from Botswana we drove past a few townships and shanty towns outside of Johannesburg. It was comforting to be heading to a nicer part of town but there was an eerie feel to the whole city. There wasn’t a house without bars on the windows and big walls around the property topped with rows of electric fencing. The apartment complex we stayed in had a really big park like backyard and over our first bottle of S.African wine, it made us wonder how all the neighborhood cats and birds survived without getting electrocuted on the daily!
When it comes to tourism, Jo-burg could use an overhaul. We kept our itinerary short, visiting the Apartheid Museum for some history and the Carlton Center for a 360 degree view of the city. The views were nice, but it was a shame that they neglected washing the windows or adding any up to date information regarding the skylines that you could see.