I wrote a feature about Joburg walking tours for the February 2015 issue of BA High Life magazine. I’m really excited about the article but you’ll only be able to read the full feature if you’re flying on British Airways in Southern Africa this month.
Here’s a screen shot of the first page of the article.
I posted screenshots of the article on Facebook and it garnered so much interest that I’ve decided to do a shortened version for the blog. And since five walking tours were featured in the article it provides a perfect excuse to revive my “Jozi Top Fives” series from last year.
So here are my five favorite Joburg walking tours, in no particular order.
1) JoburgPlaces: Regenerated Inner City Tour
I’ve written about Gerald Garner’s JoburgPlaces tours many times before: See here and here and here. I like his Regenerated Inner City tour the best because it provides a great overview of how Joburg was born and how it became the city that it is today. Gerald has a special way of telling Joburg’s story and he also has access to many of the best rooftops in town.
A feral cat outside the Anglo American building on Main Street, spotted during a JoburgPlaces evening walking tour.
2) Dlala Nje: Taste of Yeoville Tour
I love Dlala Nje, first and foremost because they are based in Ponte City, my favorite building in Joburg. Also Dlala Nje is one of the only companies doing tours in Hillbrow and Yeoville. Read some of my posts about Dlala Nje here and here and here. Their Taste of Yeoville tour is my favorite because it revolves around food but you can’t go wrong with any of Dlala Nje’s tours.
Yeoville by night.
3) Past Experiences: Inner City Graffiti Tour
Past Experiences leads all kinds of interesting walking tours in downtown Joburg — shopping tours and historical tours and public art tours. But as far as I know they are the only company in town doing graffiti tours. I have a soft spot for Past Experiences’ Inner City Graffiti tour in Newtown, as I met my boyfriend on that tour. (He works as a part-time guide for Past Experiences.)
The best thing about a graffiti tour, in my opinion, is that you can do the tour over and over again. The walls are always changing.
The first photo I ever shot of Ray’s graffiti.
4) Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centre: Heritage Tour
I featured the Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centre in my Jozi Top Five post about museums and galleries, but the affiliated Sophiatown Heritage walking tour also deserves a mention. I first did this tour a few years ago and then again late last year. I loved it both times. This tour is the only way to fully comprehend what happened during Sophiatown’s brutal forced removals of the 1950s.
The mielie lady of Sophiatown.
5) MainStreetWalks: Underground Pub Crawl
I blogged about the MainStreetWalks Underground Pub Crawl recently so many of you might remember it. If you want to experience Jozi nightlife from a totally new perspective, take this tour. MainStreetWalks also does unique daytime tours of downtown Joburg, including picnics at the top of the Carlton Centre, and partners with Dlala Nje on the weekend-long Jozi immersion tour.
Pool player at the Fairview Inn, a stop of the Underground Pub Tour.
There are many other great walking tours in Joburg, including tours by Ancient Secrets and the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. And there are probably more that I don’t know about yet. Suggestions are welcome.