Be a local in Cape Town. 8 regular events where visitors are welcomed.

Join the locals at a variety of exciting events that happen in and around the city. Most locals are friendly and happy to engage, give you tips and embrace you as part of the group. Walking, culture, cycling, skating, eating, drinking and photography.  Check your dates and live like a local in Cape Town

INSTA-WALKS

What: A photography themed walk in various locations in and around Cape Town. They often take place in the early morning or late afternoon / evening for sunset and sunrise opportunities. A great way to explore the city and interact with locals from all walks of life, and probably the safest way to walk around with a very visible camera and cell phone taking pics.  Visitors are always welcome just introduce yourself to the leader when you arrive. Walks last about 1 – 2 hours. Ask the locals for tips and advice on anything related to Cape Town, they will be happy to offer inside info of their favourite places. When:  Regular, usually once a weekend, details are posted on Instagram and FaceBook  by the accounts listed in links. Where:  Different locations in Cape Town. Locations vary from beach to urban wastelands and everything in between. Links:  Follow on Instagram @igerscapetown       From 1st May 2015  follow @ctpartnership Get details from Face Book   https://www.facebook.com/igerscapetown/timeline  

FIRST THURSDAYS

What:  A way to enjoy the city on foot until 9pm in the evening. The main focus is on culture and access  is free to a variety of  art galleries, street theatre and exhibitions. Food trucks are usually around and other eateries, coffee houses and pubs are open. It is informal, so maps of the route are available on the website, but you do your own thing. When: The first Thursday of every month of the year except January. 5pm – 9pm. Where: The Cape Town CBD, usually in the vicinity of Bree and Church streets. Links:     http://www.first-thursdays.co.za/  

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 THURSDAY LATE WOODSTOCK

What: The same as First Thursdays, but in Woodstock and not on the first Thursday of the month. When:  Between 5pm and 9 pm on a Thursday. First one on 21st May. Where: Woodstock Links:  https://www.facebook.com/events/971542536197990/ https://www.facebook.com/FirstThursdaysCT

 MOONLIGHT MASS RIDE

What:  A fun 12km, one hour cycle starting at Green Point Circle. Join in on anything with wheels and no motor. Helmets are compulsory. There are a variety of places offering bicycle hire if you are a visitor to the city. When: 9pm each month when it is full moon. Dates are on the website. Where: Meet at the Green Point circle. Links:  www.facebook.com/moonlightmass   Twitter @moonlightmass  

 PROMENADE  MONDAYS

What: Skating, rollerblading, BMX at sunset. Take your blades or board, or just go and watch. When: Every Monday at 6pm Where: Queens Beach parking area and then along the promenade. Links: https://www.facebook.com/pages/PromenadeMondays/128084890690061?sk=timeline

CITY WALK SATURDAYS

What  A walk through the CBD with varied additional fun activities like giant chess and board games, soccer friendlies, chalk painting, food stalls, jumping castles, street dancing, music, puppet shows, poetry performances, a mobile library and yoga. A fun way for visitors to interact with local walkers and the entertainers. When:  3RD Sat of every month between 10am and 2 pm. Where: In the Cape Town CBD, details of the meeting place for each walk can be found on the website. Links:  http://www.capetownpartnership.co.za/our-work/city-walk-collaborative/ Twitter @ctpartnership Instagram as @CapeTownSoul  or  call 021 419 1881.  

THE GOODNIGHT MARKET

What:  Creative market with goods for sale, but adding live music, food trucks and a drinks bar for a true Cape Town vibe. When: The last Wednesday of the month from 6pm – 9pm Where: in the Watershed at the  V & A Waterfront. Links:  https://www.facebook.com/events/850470051693305/

 OPEN STREETS

What:   Open Streets is an initiative that encourages engagement in urban spaces during off peak times. Public roads are turned into walkways and used to cycle, skate, rollerblade and play. Street food, live music, static displays and  interactive fun such as giant chess or scrabble, chalk art, dancing or just strolling. Read about the Bree Street Open Streets event here http://jabedi.com/2015/01/18/come-out-and-play-openstreetsct/ When: Aproximately every 3 months. Where: The Cape Town CBD, and other locations are being added as the project grows. Links:  Check this site http://openstreets.co.za/ to see when and where the next event is being held.

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Cape Town, it’s time to meet Joburg.

What ?

I looked at my #MeetSouthAfrica itinerary with disbelief.

I was so shocked I had to sit down and re read it. Surely this was a mistake.

A  nine day trip and three whole days were allocated for Joburg. What on earth were we going to do there?

Surely a goldmine tour and the Apartheid Museum could be completed in a morning, maybe a Soweto tour in the afternoon, and then what?

I come from Cape Town, and you know, we are like tourism with a capital T.  Underlined. In bold.

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We have Table Mountain, which of course we built with our own hands, and around this icon we arranged Blue Flag beaches, cute penguins , a big city, leafy suburbs and loads of hotels, wine farms, restaurants and tourist attractions.

In Cape Town we have heard of Joburg.

Busy business people live there, and when Capetonians are forced to go there for business, they come back looking very stressed.

So, it was in a very sceptical frame of mind that I landed in Joburg on a Friday morning.

The next few days were an astonishing educational journey that had me smiling all the way.

I will even admit that these words came out of my mouth with monotonous regularity

“OMG, I love Joburg”

We barely had time to scratch the surface of the touristic offerings of Joburg. I cringe in shame at my ignorance.

I will even risk a cliché to add that I will be returning to Joburg again, and again, and again.

Our base was the uber cool Reef Hotel in the financial district of the CBD.

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Unusual décor,and I loved the Gold Mine Café on the ground floor almost as much as I was mesmerised by the views from the fire escape on the 10th floor where the smokers sneaked off to.

We ate, oh my word, we ate a lot.

Coobs in Parkhurst where the art and the food competed for attention.

Ten Bompas in Dunkeld where the food was outstanding and there were TV’s embedded into the floor in the bathroom! I have never seen that in Cape Town.

44 on Stanley was a breakfast, shopping, coffee extravaganza. We were told by a person who will not be named, that the cheese cake at Salvation Café is better than sex! Sadly, after the huge breakfast no one had the space to test this statement.

44 Stanley

Well fed,  we took to the streets of Braamfontein. They are alive with smiling people.

There is so much to see, do, shop and photograph but eventually we had to stop at The Neighbourgoods Market  for much needed craft beer and some mellow sounds.

guitarist Neighbourgoods Market

people of Braamfontein

more people of Braamfontein

Revived, we proceeded to the Nelson Mandela Bridge, jaywalking in the quest for the ultimate photo, stopping at the street art and to chat to the people en route.

This city takes friendly & creative to another level.

Nelson Mandela Bridge

Newtown was the ultimate highlight for me. Our guide, Bongani from Past Experiences made the history come alive, and was gentle with my copious tears at the Workers Museum.

The museum is situated in the original compound that housed many of the work-force that built this country. This museum will get a blog of it’s own, just wait a bit.

Migrant worker

Kippies statue

We were all fairly quiet as we walked out of the museum and headed towards the Market Theatre, past the statue of “Kippies” and into the Newtown Shopping Precinct.

From there we headed into Gwigwi Mrwebi Street where I started my basic education in street art.

I have a lot to learn, a blog about it is coming.

We saw artists working on their chosen piece of wall, while dancers performed for a camera crew producing a music video. Just an average Saturday in Joburg I’m told.

dancing in the city

Maboneng Precinct. It looks like a success story of inner city upliftment. Time will tell if this project will merely make the rich richer, or if the renewed life and business will benefit the broader community. We were there on a Sunday evening and most establishments closed by 8pm. Hopefully this will change as the area starts to draw more visitors. It is a creative, safe feeling space to be in. In true Joburg style, they did not bat an eyelid when I ordered coffee in Lenins Vodka Bar.

Mzansi Girl at Lenins Vodka Bar Maboneng

I realised how little I know of the history of Johannesburg, so I have bought the book recommended by all the locals, and I am learning and loving it.

And then we had to leave Joburg, and I had a list of places I needed to get to, a thousand questions to ask and a big thick book to read.

I am a convert. Joburg rocks.

My perception after just three days was a clean, energetic, friendly city that works. Full of positive public spaces , enjoyed  by integrated, diverse people.

The tourism appeal is evident everywhere. The variety of museums, walking tours, open spaces, architecture, history, culture, art, music and entertainment will keep anyone busy for weeks.

Joburg don’t need no Table Mountain.

My love affair with Joburg was courtesy of SA Tourism as part of the #MeetSouthAfrica campaign.