Do Jozi-ites realize just how many domestic tourists come to the city to see big events? Last week Liz at Lancaster had no fewer than 4 families who drove from different parts of the country to bring their children and grandchildren to see Disney on Ice. We had very excited little ballerinas at breakfast time, all dressed and ready for their long awaited treat with lots of excitement and chatter the next morning about all the characters, including a few scary ones! Then from one icy event to another, the next day they went off to the Ice Age exhibition at the Sandton Convention Centre to mingle with mammoths, woolly rhinos and glyptodons (bet you have to Google that one.) It proved to be a big hit with even Granny braving the ice-slide. Because you book a time-slot, it is not too frenetic, despite being school holidays. However if you are going without youngsters and want to take in all the information, you can go when schools are back as the exhibition runs until the 8th August.
Just opened is the Canopy at that most fabulous of urban spaces: the Sheds no 1 Fox St. The Canopy is open every Friday for casual lunches so make your way to the Market Shed (loads of safe parking opposite) and enjoy a leisurely lunch in front of the Marshall Street Bar. Choose between wraps, burgers, curries, ‘ribs, wings and things’, and other good wholesome fare, settle back with a glass of red wine and heave a sigh of relief that it’s Friday. What a way to start the week-end.
If, after lunch at the Canopy on Friday, you aren’t be able to stay away from the Sheds, you can return on Saturday 11th to meet at 10 for a 2 hour walking tour of inner city Jozi with Past Experiences (the original Joburg walking tour company). Joburg was laid out as a mining town with small stands and short blocks to maximize on taxable land and corner stands for increased business visibility. These narrow streets and short blocks were fine for pedestrians and horse-and-cart transport , but not so great for high traffic car and taxi volume in the 21st century. So the best way to experience Joburg is on foot. The focus of this tour is on shopping, with possible stops including African fabric shops, a Chinese supermarket (Ferreirastown is Joburg’s original Chinatown) a record shop and a bag store. You’ll be able to scoop up bargains and might find shops that stock goodies you never even knew you needed. But be prepared to go with cash – few stores accept credit cards. For more information see http://pastexperiences.co.za/?page_id=54 They have more exciting tours coming up. On 25th July there’s a tour of Jeppestown focusing on the history of the area, graffiti and street art, and past and present communities.
And if you’ve had enough of the big smoke and want to get out into the country, book for one of the amazing tours of an active palaeontological dig out in the Cradle on 18th July. Swartkrans is one of the Cradle’s richest fossil sites and every now and again it is opened to the public. Morris Sutton who is currently excavating at this site, shares his expertise and knowledge in an accessible and fascinating way. And to top it all there’s a wonderful picnic lunch served al fresco. I went a few years ago and would highly recommend it – the whole affair is a real treat. To book: http://shop.maropeng.co.za/products/150718-18-july-swartkrans-walking-tour. It costs R400 including the picnic lunch.
If you plan a couch potato extravaganza this coming week-end, watching the Tour De France and/or the Wimbledon finals, why not consider burning up some calories in advance by doing the Delta Park Run. Don’t be intimidated by the ‘run’ bit – plenty of people walk it. It starts at 8, it’s 5km, it’s free , it’s fun and it makes one feel virtuous. What a win. Kids, dogs and everybody from speedy runners to slow amblers are welcome. Or, if the Tour de France is an incentive to get onto that bike, why not join the hundreds of cyclists who ride the 25km long Braamfontein Spruit every week-end. Or simply have some fun on the cycle course around Delta Park. Lots of place to stop for coffee and breakfast at the end of your cycle: Delta Cafe (near the blue bridge in Craighall Park ), the new coffee shop near the bridge on Conrad Drive or Citizen Cafe on Conrad Drive.
For a real treat, loads of calories and a bask in the wonderful morning sun have breakfast at The Patisserie on Mackay Ave, Blairgowrie – there is even chilled live music.
Always popular are events at Katy’s Palace Bar in Kramerville, and Slippery Spoon’s pop up dinners are no exception. There are 2 coming up next week but Friday 17th is already sold out with only a few tickets left for Thursday 16th. Slippery Spoon dinners happen once a month with each menu inspired by the theme of the night. This month’s theme is ‘Senses’, so expect something fabulous from Johnny Hamman and Marius Uys’ 5 course meal. It doesn’t come cheap at R500 a ticket with a cash bar, but it promises to be a dinner with pezzaz and style. For more info and to book go to http://nothambutman.com/slippery-spoon/?show=Jul
And finally for some light relief and an escape from our very own everyday political pantomime, book for Little Shop of Horrors at Pieter Toerien Theatre at Monte Casino. Be prepared for a good laugh with Alan Committee who, by all reports is hilarious in his role as Seymour, the wannabe botanist. Based on the 1960s movie of the same name, it’s a wonderful spoof of B-grade sci-fi movies with lots of comic book imagery and 50’s music. It is showing until the 9th August.
So don’t think that all Jozi has to offer is the same-old, same-old. There is lots to do for people of all tastes – for urbanites who love this gritty city, bling-seekers, families, fitness enthusiasts, outdoorsy types, foodies. … and of course the couch potatoes get particularly lucky this weekend. Enjoy !