I was slated to be in Johannesburg last year but after all that travel urge and excitement, it did not happen. Maybe now when I am sitting here in my hotel apartment in Sandton, I know the reason why. I was not meant to settle for less because this time I am here for good four weeks. I was supposed to do this trip in collaboration with South Africa Tourism and more so Jozi was not supposed to be my first touchdown on African continent. So you see, its all karmic. I have come to believe that travel destinations definitely have something to do with our stars. If you do not believe me, listen this. While I was all set to come to South Africa and there were only ten days left to the most awaited trip of the year, I got an invite to cover Republic of Mauritius, an archipelago in Southern Africa in the Indian Ocean. Of course, I was ecstatic and since 12th June, I have been on a roll. After spending 7 days of luxury around the pristine beaches of Mauritius, I went back to Delhi and three days later flew down to this city of gold.
Johannesburg, Jo’burg, Jozi- its got many interesting names but I find Jozi really cute. It is my fourth day in this commercial capital and I have lots to talk about it already. Well, I wouldn’t say I have got the pulse of the city yet but yes amidst the words of caution I tried to do both local and touristy this weekend.
The local time was 9 when I landed at O.R. Tambo International Airport on Thursday. The immigration was quick and the lady who checked my documents gave me a lovely welcome smile when I told her that it was my first time here. Next, I located my luggage in a jiffy and headed out to look for my husband. He has been in the city for the last 5 weeks and I was eagerly looking forward to meet him. I looked around patiently but did not locate him for the first fifteen minutes, unknown to the fact that he was struggling to find his way in the parking arena. After turning down offers from number of porters and taxi drivers who rushed to offer help, I decided to stand at one corner and look for him. The new place and the unknown atmosphere was intimidating for sure but as soon as I saw one recognizable face in the crowd, I was back to my cheerful self. The drive from the airport to Sandton was a long stretch of 37 kilometers. While hubby drove, I talked non-stop, navigated and curiously looked around to take my first impression of the city.
On Friday, I did nothing except sleeping like a log. But yes I must mention, I quite liked my luxury apartment in Sandton. It is neatly done in white and grey. Well, people do find it gloomy but I quite like these subtle shades. They go well with the winter season here. That afternoon, the lady who came to clean my room was chirpy and I had fun interacting with her. Saturday was a lazy one but I was excited because husband had promised to take me out to show the city. We couldn’t start early because he had work to attend to but I was glad that I started the exploration from Sandton city. Johannesburg is famously called a shopaholic’s destination and I was right there at one of the leading and most prestigious shopping centres of Jozi where its hard to ignore the buzz around the Nelson Mandela Square. Its equally tough to find the statue without visitors taking photographs around it. I found this kiddo really cute and I chose to go for the below click.
The Sandton Library is situated just opposite to the famous leader’s statue. Right there, to one side of the statue it read ‘The Michelangelo’. I must tell you it is one luxurious hotel of the capital which is known for its connect and splendor of the Renaissance architecture. I had read about it and I was delighted to see it right there. In fact, I would love to go and stay inside someday. We proceeded to the shopping center and I quite liked the vibes about it. There were a lot of familiar clothing brands and the young brigade was busy shopping. Interesting most of the shops had sale going on and I was quick to go around and pick my favorites too. The shopping center is made in good taste. We walked around the mall for close to an hour until hubby decided to take me to his favorite one these days- Woolworths Supermarkets. He is extremely fond of picking fresh fruits, vegetables, cakes, ice-creams and more. I wouldn’t exaggerate if I told you that he says its stress-busting for him to pick his favorite food. Honestly, I am not very fond of cooking but I like it too in his company.
When we returned, it was already 8 p.m. We were really not worried about the dinner because our Indian friends had invited us to their place. I was definitely happy about the first outing in Johannesburg. For Sunday, Fourways Farmers Market, Monte Casino Bird Park and Joziburg Lane Festival were on my agenda. My husband was cool with the idea and very soon his colleagues/friends also decided to join us. We were eight people-one kiddo in two cars and we really had a great day together. I quite liked the concept of Farmers Market because it was a good way of enjoying Sunday beyond the mundane. There were interesting food choices and I could see almost everyone eating and chilling out in great company. It was a bright and sunny day and we had options to sit in the open as well in the barns. For now I will not reveal more because I promise to you around it through photo-blog.
It was already 2 in the afternoon when we made our way to the Monte Casino Bird Park. Some members of our group chose to spend time in the casino, while others joined us in exploring one -of-its kind bird park of the African continent. Montecasino is a huge casino complex and the bird park is its next door neighbor. The MC complex is beautifully designed like a Italian village, housing a casino, 2 theaters, cinemas and a mall. I found it a fun place and have plans to return there soon. The visit to Monte Casino Bird Gardens was definitely worth our time and money. There were beautiful feathered friends and I thoroughly enjoyed clicking their multi-colored beaks and colorful wings. The bird show was a nice treat for the kids and bird-lovers. Trust me, I can’t wait to share some amazing pictures from there.
And finally we called it a day at Saravana Bhavan at Rivonia. I am sure all my friends who are fond of South Indian food will love me for sharing this. So you see, its just been three wholesome days in this interesting city and I am already buzzing with travel stories. There is definitely lots more to do and I will take it one by one. Keep following.
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