This is a guest post by Michal Kniec. Michal is a travel blogger and automotive news writer who I still somehow finds the time to study law. Apart from his love of anything historic, he enjoys writing, cooking, and traveling as much as possible on this pale blue dot.
Travelling down a beaten dirty road in South Africa I was staring out the window taking in as much as I could. With so much to exotic nature and animals, simply peering through the smeared glass was enough to take anyone aback. The bus rushed past a direction sign that caused a large gust of wind to burst in, cooling all of us. 23 more kilometers to Johannesburg and I was already eagerly waiting to explore an amazing destination. Being the largest city in South Africa, I knew that I had to plan in order to save both money and time, allowing me to enjoy the destination as much as I could.
My first task was to find a suitable hotel. Aimed with a crude map and a mobile phone I decided to make a few calls and found that the Formula 1 Benoni Hotel was the best choice. Johannesburg, being such a large city, offered quite a deal of choices at various costs. I personally found the Formula 1 Hotel to be brilliantly suited for a budget traveller looking to simply use it as a layover on their destination to discover the world.
I immediately wanted to understand the culture and heritage of this new area and went to the Apartheid Museum in the city center. Costing around £5, it allows one to reflect upon perhaps the most gruesome time in South Africa’s history. The exhibit was very well but together; the sections on Mandela were particularly enlightened as visuals and auditory senses were bombarded with various facts. Certainly not to be missed, it was a life changing experiences.
Famished from the exploration I wanted to try some true African food with a familiar taste. With so many places to eat, Johannesburg restaurants are some of the liveliest in the world. Moyo’s at Melrose Arches, usually priced between £7 and £20, has a welcoming vibe as rhythmic music is pared with local art. The “sanose platter” came recommended by the waiter and the four dishes that followed were completely to die for. With great value for the sheer amount of food available, I had to waddle back to my hotel that night.
The next day I wanted to do some shopping and I saw a leaflet directing me to perhaps the most well-known center: Montecasino. This complex had everything that you heart may desire: casinos, cinemas, shopping and even a bird garden. You could potentially spend a week doing all the activities offered and still not accomplish everything. It is quite an experience shopping for a shirt with birds flying overhead.
Making a few friends while playing at the blackjack table, I took our winnings and decided to invest them in the Gold Reef City. A great amusement part on the outskirts of the city, Gold Free caters to boys and girls of all ages. It is divided into two areas: the amusement park and the gold mine tour. With both tickets coming to around £12 you can expect to have as much fun as Disneyland without having to travel all the way to America.
As the day came to a close so did my time in Johannesburg. While I spend a relatively short time discovering the city, I felt like there was so much more to do and see. Whatever your heart may desire the city will most certainly deliver. Go out and explore Johannesburg, you’ll most certainly find exactly what you’re looking for.
Flickr Photo: traceyman
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