This past weekend, I joined 75 journalist/writer/blogger/photographers on 48-hour whirlwind tour of the Joburg inner city, sponsored by the Joburg City Tourism Association. It will come as no surprise that I had an amazing, bad-ass time.

Heather at Corner House

This is me, having a bad-ass time in the Joburg inner city. (Photo: Gareth Pon or Tim Van Rooyen. Not sure which.)

The weekend was a great experience for someone like me, who writes about Joburg for a living but rarely gets to experience the city as a true tourist would. For two days, I pretended I wasn’t a local and imagined I was visiting Jozi for the first time.

I got to stay in a fancy hotel, the Mapungubwe, right in the middle of town. This was so bad-ass — how often does one get to spend a free weekend in a 4-star hotel just a few miles from home?

Mapungubwe

The Faircity Mapungubwe Hotel, at the corner of Marshall and Anderson Streets.

Mapungubwe Hotel room

My suite at the Mapungubwe.

We did so many bad-ass things during the weekend, I can’t possibly tell you about all of them in a single post. So here is a quick recap of the first evening — I’ll get to the rest later.

Our first event on Friday evening was a reception at Corner House: a historic building across from the Johannesburg City Library, owned by Urban Ocean Property Developers. On the top floor of Corner House is an amazing apartment, called the Apprentice Penthouse, where a season of The Apprentice was once filmed.

Urban Ocean champagne

Champagne being served in the lobby of Corner House.

I’ve visited the Apprentice Penthouse once before. I included a photo of the view in this post, but didn’t reveal where the photo was taken.

My first penthouse visit was in the middle of the day though. Shooting photos up there at nightfall was ten times more bad-ass.

City from Corner House

Evening view from the Apprentice Penthouse. Can you tell that Laurice (right) is excited to be up there?

Nightfall from Corner House

Similar view, a bit later as night was falling.

City library from Corner House

View of Beyers Naude Square and the Johannesburg City Library.

City library at nightfall

Same view, different time.

traffic from Corner House

One more nightfall view.

After being wined and dined at Corner House for a couple of hours, we walked around the corner to the Rand Club. (Read my previous post about the Rand Club.) In front of the Rand Club we came upon the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, who put on a surprise performance for us.

JPO at Rand Club

Pop-up performance by the Joburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Bad-ass.

Cellists

Cellists laving fun.

We drank some mulled wine, took a quick tour inside the Rand Club, then continued on our merry way to the Reef Hotel up the street. By the time we arrived at the Reef, the JPO was miraculously waiting for us again.

JPO at Reef

A second orchestral performance outside the Reef Hotel.

We went inside the Reef, listened to a presentation about the city, and ate and drank some more. Then we went up to the roof of the hotel to a new venue called the Gold Bar.

View from Goldbar

Guess what? The view from the Gold Bar is BAD-ASS.

Instagram boys Goldbar

My Instagram guys: @timvanrooyen (left), @garethpon (middle), and @alessiolr (right). We spent a LOT of time together this weekend. I heart them. (By the way, you can check out all of the Instagram photos taken over the weekend by clicking this GramFeed link.)

In case you’re wondering (I’m sure many of you are), the Gold Bar is not yet open to the public. I really hope this changes in the near future. This venue is way too bad-ass to remain a secret.

The party at Gold Bar continued long into the night. I was exhausted though, and took the early shuttle back to my bad-ass suite. We had a long day ahead of us the next day and I wanted to rest up.

To be continued.

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