Its amazing to get to know your own city when you only have 36 hours! And that’s what we did. 36 hours in Jozi and our base was the Sandton based Radisson Blu Gautrain hotel.
We checked in to the hotel on a Friday morning and our journey began. The Radisson Blu Gautrain towers over the downtown Sandton area and is directly across the road from the Sandton Gautrain Station. The 12 floors have incredible views of the surrounding area whether its over the commercial buildings surrounding the hotel or across the northern suburbs when relaxing around the pool.
Although primarily a business hotel, the situation is perfect for a relaxing weekend where everything is within reach around you. Whether walking or using the complimentary shuttle to attractions in the area or simply relaxing in your suite, the Radisson Blu Gautrain offers so many different yet exciting experiences.
The Junior Suite is spacious and from the bathroom to the bedroom, it was quite spectacular. Read more about our stay here..
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It was time to hit the road and get to Milpark which was close to our final destination, the Sunnyside Hotel in Parktown for the start of our Mystery Bus Tour. But first it was time to get some fusion food from the new Calexico in 44 Stanley. It was a great visit and a superb start to our evening. Moses took great care of us and the story and photos of our visit is told here.
The Mystery Ghost Bus Tour was next on our itinerary and we met Mark and Kyle at the Sunnyside. There was a good crowd of us and we were prepared to be scared! And its not for the fainthearted. We first learnt about the Parktown and Braamfontein areas and then moved onto Observatory before finding ourselves at Zoo Lake. .From there we hit the highlight – Braamfontein Cemetary at 12 Midnight with our apps. Ghost Hunting App and Sonar App. And that’s when I got scared as the needle went haywire…You have to see the video and read more about this great trip (just a note…there is a really awful review written back in 2012 that keeps popping up on Google. We are trying to have it removed. Mark is fabulous and its a great evening out!)
We got home after midnight and crashed into our wonderful, soft bed! After breakfast in the room the next morning, we headed off to Hartebeespoort to try the Lion and Safari Park. And it was an incredible experience. Our Animal trainer put us into a Mad Max vehicle and we drove into the middle of all the lions to feed them. I was very apprehensive but what we learnt and the love and care shown by the trainer, all of 23 years old, was incredible. We loved every moment. From lions, to wild dogs and cheetahs and zebras and hyhenas and oh my word. Giraffes eating from the tops of the trees and the bush is right in the city! Seriously! Read more and see more here…
Time to head off for a much needed lunch at Arbour Cafe. The beautiful day allowed us to sit outside and enjoy a lunch of their famous Gallettes (soft pancake filled with all sorts of wonderful flavours and fillings), rump steak and camembert to start. My duck and mozerella pancake was amazing and the dessert was even better. Once you have visited the Arbour Cafe and enjoyed their brownies, you cannot resist going back!Read more about our lunch, surroundings and wonderful service here.
That afternoon we were met by Semadi and Paul of The Hub Presents from Alexandra. I had met the team at the Travel Indaba and my interest was peaked by what the township could offer that could rival the tours of Soweto. And was I surprised! The Greening Tour offered by knowledgeable Paul, the tour of the Alexandra mall and its historical connections right up to the interview with Violet whose comment was – “Who cares about poverty alleviation, I am all about entrepreneurship! I am a businesswomen”. Paul is passionate about his town and from a boxing gym, to a proposed Walk to Freedom, its all there. And you have to see it to believe it. We tell more of the story here…
We rushed off to Harties Boat Company near Cosmos with MK Tours and just caught the sunset cruise in time. And what a beautiful day for a cruise. The weather was perfect and the Hyacinth was behaving itself as our earstwhile captain, oh my captain, found his way around and through it with little effort so that we were able to travel around the entire perimetre while the sun was setting. The upper deck allows for tables and dining and the lower deck has a bar area for one to party or just enjoy the front of the boat. It got colder as we were sailing but that did not matter. The smooth waters were just enchanting.
We had breakfast in the Central One restaurant on the 12th floor and it was one of the nicest buffet breakfasts I had had in a long time! The fruit juice squeezer was my favourite and my interview with the young chef about his trainee experience was right up my alley. I tell all in their article here.
It was Sunday and time to visit Lesedi Cultural village for a cultural experience. It was something magical to see how all our cultures can live together in harmony and I was impressed that our international visitors were informed very discreetly that they should not harm our Rhino. The tour through took us from the Zulu to the Pedi and finally onto the Ndabeli. Lets not forget the wonderful food at the restaurant which finished off the tour just nicely. The dancing was breathtaking to watch and I wish I was that fit!
And now time to wind down and head to the Rooftop Market in Rosebank, And they showed their best side. From an interview with the Operations director to the chat in the car to the tour guide / driver. Their cars are clean and spacious and I would use them any day rather than drive. They are available to take you to any of the places we visited on our 36 hours in Jozi and with their specialist knowledge, it was made even more interesting.
They whisked us off to the Sunday Rooftop market in Rosebank and I couldn’t believe how much it had grown. Goodness me, it was incredible. And everything is home made and crafted and people come to sell their wares they make at home. It has recently been renovated and to test the service, we caught the Gautrain back to the hotel.
The Gautrain was interesting experience as it runs every 30 mins as opposed to every few minutes as it does during the week. Surely it should run more often as people want to travel between CBD’s. But that’s the way of the world. I did meet an interesting young man who had never travelled on a train before. Here is his story …
Our weekend was ending and it was time to unwind and watch the World Cup Soccer from the Central One Bar. That was most exciting and the cocktails were delish! Some of us supported France and others supported Croatia. We had been to both countries before but chose the Croatians. We loved them. And their spirit and heart were similar to those of us in Jozi.
It proves that you don’t have to leave town to have an adventurous and fun filled weekend. Spend three nights at the Radisson Blu Gautrain and park your car on Friday morning in the garage. Catch the Gautrain bus, then the Gautrain to the Radisson. Use MK Tours to drive you around. Go to work using the Gautrain and Gautrain bus and bob’s your uncle!
We have to thank the following people for their contribution to the event and the dates of their published stories appear alongside – once the last day is reached, on the last day is reached, all the clickthrough links will work automatically on this story.
Werner Greere (GM) and Cibelle Johnnie (Marketing) of Radisson Blu Gautrain – 16 August 2018
MK Tours (Lee-Anne Grammage – Marketing) for sponsoring Lesedi, Lion and Safari Park, Rosebank Roof Top Market, Alexandra Hub Presents
Paul, Semadi and Sifiso of The Hub Presents – 24 August 2018
Deon and Natasha from Harties Boat Company – 17 August 2018
Larry and Annie Hodes of Arbour Cafe and Calexico – 21 August Arbour and 22 August Calexico
Mark and Kyle Rose Christie for Mystery Ghost Bus Tour – 25 August 2018
Andre and Jorito from the Lion and Safari Park .- 23 August 2018
Ruzandri of ahaLesedi – 19 August 2018
Bibi and Bridget/Kia van Oerle for Maropeng – 22 August 2018