Cycle Joburg With Kennedy

by | Feb 11, 2019 | Arts and Culture, Johannesburg, Johannesburg City Centre, Tours | 6 comments

Over the past couple of months I’ve participated in two Joburg tours with Kennedy Tembo of Micro-adventure Tours. Kennedy offers all kinds of innovative, outdoorsy tours in Joburg and surrounding areas — from Gauteng all the way to the Drakensberg. I am so excited to try them all.

I was planning to write about both the tours I’ve done with Kennedy in this post, but actually there is too much to say so I’m taking them one at a time. First up: Kennedy’s coffee and cycling tour through downtown Joburg.

Kennedy with his bike in front of a public art piece by R1 on Fox Street.

I’ve explored downtown Joburg countless times by car, on foot, on a bus, and even on a skateboard. I’ve done cycling tours in Soweto, Alexandra, and Diepsloot. But I’d never done a cycling tour though the middle of the city before, much less a cycling tour focused on coffee.

Cycling Downtown Joburg

I know what you might be thinking: Riding a bicycle through the frenetic Joburg central business district (what locals call the CBD) is only for cyclists with a death wish. Trust me though — it works.

Kennedy and Marie-Lais in front of the Standard Bank Building on Commissioner Street.

First of all, Kennedy is a great cycling guide. He is calm (in fact he has nerves of steel), navigates the streets with ease, and makes sure each intersection is clear before his cyclists ride through.

Second, traffic tends to move quite slowly downtown and Joburg’s infamous taxi drivers are surprisingly accommodating to cyclists. Also the CBD is mercifully flat.

Third, the city looks totally different from a bicycle than it does on foot or from a vehicle. I recommend every Joburg enthusiast give it a try, even if you’re a little scared. (You do have to be comfortable riding a bicycle.)

Joburg cycling tour with Kennedy
Kennedy and Marie-Lais cycle through Gandhi Square.

Our tour started and ended in Maboneng in front of Uncle Merv’s coffee shop. We cycled straight through the heart of the city, from east to west and back again, stopping at four coffee shops in the western/central CBD and Newtown.

Goat Coffee on Simmonds Street, near the Standard Bank building on the west side of the CBD. It was my first time visiting this fun coffee shop.
Ornate Coffee, formerly Capital Cafe, in Corner House on Commissioner Street. This is one of my favorite secret coffee shops in town, mainly because of the stunning stained glass ceiling.
Craft Coffee in Newtown — another one of my favorites.

My tour with Kennedy took place just before Christmas, when several of his normal coffee stops were closed. Expect even more interesting and secret coffee shops if you do the tour now.

My favorite part of the tour was cycling for a long stretch down Henry Nxumalo Street, which runs directly under the M1 Highway. It was cool and shady under the highway as we peddled slightly downhill. I loved watching the cement bridge stretch out above me, narrowing to a point in the distance.

At the end of the bridge, a perfect Craft Coffee flat white awaited.

Under the M1 Highway.
Newtown sights.
Photo by Kennedy Tembo.

Exciting Announcement About Kennedy (and Me)

Next Thursday, 21 February, I’m holding a second launch event for the 2Summers #Gauteng52 Challenge book. The launch will take place at the Jesuit Institute in Auckland Park, which I’m super excited about, and Kennedy has agreed to co-host the event with me. Yay!

Kennedy, like me, is a Joburg transplant — he is originally from Malawi, one of my favorite countries — who has made a living out of exploring this city and its surrounds. He’s also just a really fun guy. I’m looking forward to chatting with him about all things Joburg and Gauteng. Please join us for the launch.

My Micro-adventure cycling and coffee tour was complimentary. Opinions expressed are mine. Follow Micro-adventure Tours on Facebook for more information about upcoming tours.


  1. dizzylexa

    Kennedy is one of the most interesting, nice guys I’ve met in a long time. I haven’t done any of his tours yet but hopefully soon.

    • 2summers

      You’ll love them!

  2. autumnashbough

    Nerves of steel indeed. I don’t like to bicycle anywhere, thanks to texting and distracted drivers. Maybe it would be less terrifying in a city built for cyclists.

    • 2summers

      This city is definitely not built for cyclists. I’m
      not sure it’s safer anyway though because I saw plenty of texting cyclists in Amsterdam ????

  3. Lani

    Cycle tours can be fun. I fondly remember the one we went on in Battambang, Cambodia. Love the street art in Joburg!

    • 2summers

      It is the best.


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