Jozi, the city we love to hate has woken up and embraced spring and the warmer weather with a frenetic splurge of events: art exhibitions and studio open days; film festivals; screenings of Met operas, international exhibitions and National [British] Theatre plays; heritage walks; sketching workshops; stunning ballets performed by the Joburg ballet company and internationals; markets and more.
Liz at Lancaster has been very busy with many returning guests as well as “first-timers”. We’ve had lots of positive feedback about different aspects of Jozi and all it has to offer.
Generosity of spirit
A regular ex-pat South Africa who is very socially culturally and emotionally invested in his country of birth, but now lives in the US, returned with his partner who had never visited South Africa before. We were chatting on the day they left and Michael bemoaned the state of the infrastructure and the degradation of key tourism and heritage sites. And then he turned to his partner to ask her the question he had asked her the night before which was: “In the two weeks we have been here have you ever been aware of anybody being rude or unpleasant” and her answer was “No, never”. This was uplifting.
The Red City bus– Green route and red route
A German couple spent 5 days recently and included a range of different experiences – from live music at Katzy’s in Rosebank, to the Cradle, to a cycle tour of Soweto with Lebo’s, a morning at the Bryanston Market and day on the hop-on hop-off bus. They were really impressed with this tour – both as an overview experience, as well as the commentary which they were delighted to find has a German translation (one of 16 languages). They highly recommended for future tourists.
Joburg – a Golfer’s paradise
With 10 golf courses within a 20 km radius of Liz at Lancaster, golfers are spoilt for choice. This same German couple also managed to fit in two days of golf. I arranged two rounds for them – one at Parkview Golf Club and the other at the Bryanston Country Club. They were even able to rent clubs and had a very good meal on both occasions at the Club house. They were super-impressed with the course, the restaurants, the food and the weather!
Recently I blogged about the many excellent restaurants and bistros all within 2km of Liz at Lancaster. Their different offerings have provided wonderful offerings to guests. A regular local gets the Chick Pea Buddha Bowl delivered by Cnr Cafe. How delish does this sound (and look): curried chickpeas with mustard seeds, apricot jam, sage fried butternut, Shiitake mushrooms, avocado & sour onions. Just download their app order and it’s here within 20 minutes or so.
A post-operative guest stayed here recently with his wife. He needed intense recuperation after a major heart surgery. Whilst here they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. A delicious meal from Dolci was delivered for them to enjoy in their private outdoor courtyard.
And an American beer connoisseur raved about the beer on tap at the Mad Giant (paying in dollars I’m sure made it taste even better). I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly which beer it was.
A day out in the Cradle
Guests had a memorable day out in the Cradle of Humankind with a fascinating visit to Maropeng and a wonderful lunch at “And Then There was Fire…” in the peaceful surroundings of the Nirox Sculpture Park. Nobody wanted to leave to come “home”! Entrance to the Sculpture Park is R120 for adults and R60 for children under the age of 12. Adults with a confirmed booking at ‘And then there was Fire…’enter at a reduced fee of R70. The Restaurant is open from Thursday to Sunday from 11am. The kitchen closes at 4.30pm.
For those who do not know the grass roots “hailing” signs and protocols of the ubiquitous informal minivan-taxi system in South African urban centres, Uber was a very welcome addition in 2010 to the challenges of Joburg’s sadly lacking public transport network. Safe, efficient and affordable, Uber rides made a massive difference to getting around Johannesburg easily. Post-Covid however, there have been some changes in service levels (for reasons too many and complex for this blog) . One of these changes has been that it is often increasingly difficult to get an Uber for a short trip. And this is where Bolt enters the scene. It is both a direct competitor of Uber as well as filling the gap of short trips with their dinky little ‘breadbins” called Bolt Lite. Suddenly the local suburbs are abuzz with these small bright yellow cars scooting around the roads. This is a great addition for those wanting a ride back from a close-by local restaurant after dark.
We’ll keep collecting feedback and useful tips from our guests to pass on to future visitors.