I am Joburg’s most passionate advocate and its fiercest defender. But I am also first to admit that Joburg is not an easy city to get to know. Jozi is sprawling and overwhelming. Public transport is spotty and difficult to figure out, and getting behind the wheel is daunting. Newcomers are bombarded with warnings about things they shouldn’t do and places they can’t go. And although there are dozens of fun things to do here on any given weekend, those things can be hard to find if you don’t “know someone”.

I have good news. There’s something new floating around — a tiny, magazine-like thing, the size of a large pocket — that has just made it 100 times easier to know and love Jozi.

IYP guide smallerJoburg in your pocket. Actually it’s on my coffee table.

The In Your Pocket guides are nothing new. They’ve been around in Europe since 1991, found mostly in obscure, eastern- and central-European cities like Minsk and Gelsenkirchen and Simferopol. (Don’t ask me where those cities are. I have no clue.) The point of the In Your Pocket (IYP) guides is to help adventurous travelers find their way around cities that the rest of the world doesn’t know about or has deemed not-worth-visiting. (Sound familiar?)

The IYP guides are not guide books, but rather small, disposable magazines published every three months, which include all the travel basics for a city as well as up-to-date listings about what’s happening around town in the current quarter.

The Johannesburg In Your Pocket guide is brand-new, having hit the shelves of Joburg bookstores, shops, and hotels earlier this month. It’s the first IYP guide to be published outside Europe.

I knew the Joburg IYP guide was coming. I know the publisher and her main contributor quite well, and I’ll be contributing to the guide myself in the coming months. But even though I was prepared for the IYP’s publication, I wasn’t prepared for how excited I would feel when I flipped through it for the first time. Within five minutes, I had learned at least 10 things about Jozi that I didn’t before. The people who created this magazine love Joburg every bit as much as I do, and it shows.

If you are a Jozi addict, or suspect that you might be, don’t despair. There is help. Proceed to your nearest book shop or hotel (listings here) and purchase a copy of Johannesburg In Your Pocket for the nominal fee of R30 (less than $3).

If you are visiting Joburg or moving here in the near future, buy a copy of Johannesburg In Your Pocket the moment you arrive. Don’t ask questions. Just buy it.

You can thank me later.

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