UPDATE: SandtonPlaces was published in June 2014 and is now available in bookstores around Johannesburg. For more information contact Gerald Garner at gerald@joburgplaces.com.

You know that book about Sandton that I’ve been working on? It’s going to be published. Soon.

I’ve been working on this project for months. At some point along the line, I think I forgot that at the end of it all there would be an actual book with my name on the cover (along with the names of my two co-authors, Gerald Garner and Brian Unsted), and my writing and photos inside.

Then, Gerald sent me this:

Mock Cover

This is a mock-up of the SandtonPlaces cover.

I won’t lie: I’m pretty freaking excited about this. Not only is that my name on the cover, but I took that photo, too. (This won’t necessarily be the final design of the cover — it’s a mockup to be used for marketing purposes.)

Speaking of the photo on the cover, does anyone recognize this dog? I shot the photo at the Sandton Field and Study Centre last June. I had a fairly lengthy conversation with the owner of the dog (a woman), and I mentioned the book and asked her dog’s name. She told me, but I didn’t write it down and now I’ve forgotten.

Anyway, the book will be launching some time in April. I’ll provide more details as I learn them.

In the meantime, every week between now and when the book is published, I’m going to post a snapshot of an interesting place in Sandton. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Joburg, Sandton is an affluent area in Joburg’s northern suburbs. The Joburg Stock Exchange is there.)

Now, I know what the Joburg city folk among you are thinking. You are thinking: “Whatever. There aren’t any interesting places in Sandton.” Don’t lie, I know you’re thinking it.

However, you’re wrong. There are indeed many interesting places in Sandton and its surrounds — I’ve spent the last ten months finding them. So please reserve judgement and read on.

My first Sandton snapshot is Higher Ground.

Higher Ground

The deck at Higher Ground.

Higher Ground is a restaurant on the western edge of Bryanston. It has very good food, a full bar, it’s open late (by Jozi standards), and it has one of the best views in town overlooking the Sandton City skyline. And yet it remains relatively unknown. Strange, right? Joburg suffers from a major shortage of venues with nice skyline views — especially venues that are always open to the public and don’t have ridiculous cover charges. Why has this one remained a secret?

I’ll tell you why. Higher Ground is on the campus of St. Stithians College, a private prep school/high school, and there are no prominent signs for Higher Ground at the school’s entrances. Perhaps the students, parents, and staff at St. Stithians want to keep Higher Ground for themselves? Well, sorry guys. I’m blowing your cover.

Skyline from Higher Ground

A view of Sandton from Higher Ground.

St. Stithians has entrances on both Bram Fischer Drive and Peter Place. Simply drive up to either of the entrances and ask the security guards to direct you to Higher Ground. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.

More Sandton snapshots coming soon.

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