Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Johannesburg, a city of gold

Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:02am EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters Life!) - Pairing a gold rush legacy with a metropolitan vibe, Joburg or Jozi, as South Africa's economic hub is known to many of its residents, is rugged and chaotic yet strangely irresistible at the same time.

A city of migrants and a host for the 2010 soccer World Cup, Johannesburg boasts a mix of African and European cultures that tempt the senses and have led to the emergence of South Africa's "Afropolitan" style.

Poor townships border grey skyscrapers and glitzy shopping malls. Streets are jammed with hectic taxi drivers ignoring all traffic signs and lanes. People are everywhere, bringing the rugged jewel to life.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help you to get the most out of a stay in this dangerous, daring yet fascinating city, a witness to South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle, home to some of the country's most diverse cultural life and some of its best restaurants and nightlife.

Most places are safe to walk around during the day. But you should rely on taxis when touring by dark and watch your wallet!


1 p.m. - Start with a late lunch at the small restaurant at Arts on Main (, a unique blend of shops and galleries tucked away in a converted warehouse in the heart of the city. The century-old building is home to local bohemians and pays tribute to the city's efforts to regenerate old historic sites and attract residents back to the center of the metropolis.

2:30 p.m. - Take a stroll through downtown Joburg. Start with the farmhouses of local Boer landowners, the Guildhall Pub (probably the city's oldest drinking spot), then off to the Rissik Street Post Office, one of Joburg's grand landmarks, and the old Park Station. Walk around the city's original center in Ferreirasdorp and Marshalltown and take in its impressive mix of architecture, including art deco buildings and more modernist styles. Take a ride across the Nelson Mandela Bridge and tour Constitution Hill, a former prison and now home to the country's Constitutional Court.   Continued...

<p>A worker runs with the South African flag inside the Soccer City stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg June 10, 2010. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya</p>