Simply Fabulous Adventures In The Inner City

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I’m starting to think I lived several other lives. I’m just so darn fascinated with anything and everything historical that there can’t possibly be any other explanation. I just love hearing about how people lived way back when – you know before we had smart phones, tablets PCs and microwave meals – and history was one of my all time favourite subjects at school. You really don’t need any more evidence than that. What’s shocking is that I’ve been living in Joburg for over a year now and I’ve yet to explore any of the historical sites (I know I’m as flabbergasted as you are). Which is why I was so excited to discover a fab tour group called JoburgPlaces. They’re super passionate about all things Joburg and you simply have to join them for one of their tours around the city.

The brains behind JoburgPlaces is none other than author, publisher, journalist, scriptwriter, landscape architect and tour guide, Gerald Garner. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who knows more about Joburg than him – he’s like a walking encyclopaedia! Gerald is also a passionate ambassador of inner-city regeneration and he is always walking the streets of the city looking for gems. If you think the name sounds familiar you might recognise him from his fabulous book Joburg Spaces and Places – the definitive guide to exploring Jozi.

I got the opportunity to join JoburgPlaces and Gerald on a JoburgPlaces Food and Wine Experience Tour and absolutely loved the experience. The night saw us embark on a 2-hour walking tour of the city starting at Corner House and making our way into the corporate mining district. From there we were whisked up to the super fabulous Apprentice Penthouse (yes as in the reality TV show) for an exclusive wine and food experience. All-in-all it was such a magical night and I highly recommend it to Joburgers, newbies to the city and tourists.

For the tour Gerald took us to some of the key spots in the mining district – including Nelson Mandela and O.R Tambo’s original law offices (now a stunning museum), the amazing Shadow Boxer Nelson Mandela statue of Chancellor House, an ode to the Mapungubwe Rhino, and so much more. Once we’d thoroughly pounded the pavements it was up to the penthouse for a yummy dinner and wine. The food was simply sensational and I couldn’t believe how luxurious the penthouse was – the view from the balcony was also so incredible I didn’t want to leave! I also loved that we were given free reign of the somewhat palatial premises for the night and were encouraged to treat it as our own and just enjoy the space.

This was truly one of the most amazing ways to explore the Joburg city centre and I can’t wait to go back for more of Gerald’s tours. The tour I went on was R750 per person and included the walking tour, dinner, welcome drink and two glasses of wine (the good news is they say two but we were allowed much more than that and got a glass to pair with each course).

Another tour on my radar is their Pubs, Bars and Rooftops Tour which sees you exploring all the best pubs and rooftops in Joburg by mini-shuttle bus. The cost of that tour is R600 per person and includes lunch, four drinks, stopping and a tour of six fantastic inner-city bars – the next one is on 27 July so make sure you book now. Say hello to JoburgPlaces on Facebook.

by Crystal

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