Travel article: Johannesburg

Travel blogger: Christelle & Cedric

Trip story: 100 days in Africa!

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Johannesburg, Afrique du Sud

South Africa 5 days - June 2019







Two days will be needed from Maun to reach our last destination in Southern Africa: Johannesburg.

The road is not the most beautiful we drove, it’s only a long way along the private estates of Botswana and South Africa rich men.

However the food poisoning  which one of us was victim of made the exercise of driving interesting and we will give a particular and advised eye to the vegetation which surrounds us to run and hide during the numerous belly alerts ...

Two intense driving days to reach Johannesburg where we will stop for 3 full days. 

We did not have really good feedback regarding safety and we can confirm that we did not really feel comfortable not knowing where we could walk safely.

By the way on the last day, we were waiting at the car wash and started walking300 meters to withdraw money. A man preferred to offer us the service rather than let us walk in the neighborhood. We still wanted to pay him back and it's escorted that Cédric ventured to 300 meters ...

Or this man (apparently with an official badge of the city but the Lufthansa badge will leave us perplexed) who advises us not to park in a spot watched by another guy on the pretext that he would break into the car. We will learn later that the first man attracts tourists, charming them and make them follow him to extract money from them at ATMs. Who to believe in this case? We will never know if the situation is as catastrophic as we are portrayed but it made us become paranoid!


However, we will not let down and take advantage of Melville where we live, a nice and arty neighborhood that offers a local atmosphere and perfect for Sunday brunches.


The city, built with many red bricks seems at first gloomy. Many warehouses are abandoned, the buildings are not well maintained, the city is not very engaging.

However, the week-end means craft markets and flea market and we will visit the one of Market On Main. Many designers come together and offer beautiful pieces, hip and hipster youth spend their Sundays here, many artists exhibit in their gallery. A vibrant city with vibrant culture, we like it.


But the highlight of Johannesburg will be for us the Apartheid Museum.

The tour begins when you get distributed a ticket where it is written  white / non-white. You cna’t go through the same door, you do not see the same thing depending on the ticket and therefore your color. Four hours followed, where we tried to understand the ins and outs of this gloomy and sad period, the birth and evolution of Mandela but also Gandhi, who lived for many years in South Africa and the ravages of apartheid on the current society that is still cleaved.

One sentence will draw our attention "When we arrived, they had the Bible and we had the land, today they have the land and we have the Bible" ...


Incredibly well done museum that we highly recommend.


That's how 50 days in Southern Africa end, 11,000 km traveled with our small city and many roads leading us to deserts, safari, endless beaches, canyons and so on.


We are now ready to get to our next step: Madagascar!


Some recommendations:

# just for the apartheid museum it's worth it to stay a day in Johannesburg. Entrance fee 100 rands per person (6 euros)

# we stayed in Melville, very nice neighborhood and ideally located to discover the city. There are many airbnb at 25-30 euros a night.

#safe, unsafe? We will never know but the many recommendations of the locals have made us paranoid. 

# Saturday : market and flea market Neighborhood market; Sunday Market on Main.

# we were driving and recommend this option to move freely and safely. There is also uber.

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