Johannesburg On the Road

Johannesburg, South Africa
Never Johannesburg, but always Jo’burg, Jozi, Egoli or simply, the City of Gold, this city of many names and many contrasts has one huge reputation preceding it. When you think Johannesburg, you wouldn’t necessarily think vibrant, colourful … exciting. If you aren’t, you may just be thinking too far in the past - ten years too far to be exact.

The past ten years have seen a huge cultural regeneration project undertaken in Jo’burg – giving the city a much needed makeover. Now, Jo’burg is undeniably the most hip and happening city in South Africa.

Jo’burg does, admittedly still echo its history for violence and crime … but, like any other major metropolis, it has its pros and cons, its light and dark areas. Maybe, like all metropolises, Johannesburg simply needs some more time and understanding, to really appreciate each and quirk.

Founded in 1886, during the era of gold rushes, Jo’burg grew up fast. From a mining town built of tents, in ten years the city became mortar and brick. And the city grew with an influx of diverse immigrants from all over the world. So began the sharp divide in a town that was later plagued by political struggles.

The political troubles of the 1980’s are sharply marked by apartheid. But its collapse in the early 90’s has meant that now, rather than segregated communities, you’re more likely to see a growing bourgeois African community and fast changing social structures.

What can you expect from Jo’burg today? In Jo’burg, you’re confronted with a huge contrasts … of wealth and poverty, of brash buildings and beautiful climates. But if you look beyond Joburg’s grimy surface, you’ll find a wealth of intrigues. Friendly people, hypnotic energy and a lively atmosphere bubbles just beneath her dark exterior. Make the effort to explore her museums and shops, many eating choices that extend from around the world, and some outrageous and lively nightlife destinations.

You’ll soon find that Jo’burg isn’t just a modern crime hub… she’s brash, but tastes of an exotic mix of Africa, Europe, with a bit of brash California thrown in.