She Said Walking Tours
Last week, Ant and I decided to treat ourselves to a walking tour around Johannesburg. After living overseas for just over 4 years, I feel a little disconnected from Joburg (guys, people still go to Gin on nights out, right?) and certainly out of touch with the city itself. Apart from my casual obsession with The Rand Club and The Neighbourgoods Market, my experience with Joburg in the months since I moved home has been minimal, and I decided that it was time to change that. So I roped in my better half and signed up for a She Said Walking Tour – and it was quite honestly the best flippen morning I’ve had in a while.
We met on Juta Street in Braamfontein at 8:30am, right outside POST Coffee Shop, which is great if you struggle with mornings like I do and could do with your morning caffeine kick to get you going. From there, we walked across Nelson Mandela Bridge (something I’ve never actually done, and which I highly recommend) and over into Newtown. I have to admit, I’m always dubious about things that take place early in the morning over the weekend, but you can see why it makes sense to do it at this time. As you’re walking through the city, you can actually feel it waking up around you. People slowly start appearing on the streets, cars start up, and the hustle and bustle slowly build.
After walking through Newtown, we moved on to the original China Town where we were given the opportunity to shop (10kgs of rice for R50 anyone?) and look around. From there, we went through Ferreirasdorp, Gandhi Square, and the Mining District, and everywhere in between. It’s worth noting that, although I’d driven past many of these places before, I’ve never actually walked through them, and it’s a completely different experience.
I know that there are a few different walking tours of Joburg to sign up for, but there are a few clear reasons why I chose to go on a She Said one: Firstly, Anna-Belle of She Said is obviously another blogger and I love supporting the cool projects that South African bloggers take on. Secondly, your tour guide is a real Joburg girl who has such an intense love for her city that she’s devoted pretty much her entire life to showcasing it (see Jobest too.) Lastly, and most importantly, Anna-Belle doesn’t try to force Joburg on you – instead, you get the feeling that she’s just introducing it to you so that you can fall in love with it for your own reasons. In fact, before the walk has even started she explains that she wants you to get to know the city so that you can become more familiar with it and can show your friends around yourself. She’s not just taking you for a walk – she’s empowering you with the knowledge of the city that will allow you to go on these walks yourself in future. Which I believe is pretty damn incredible.
All in all, the walk took about 2 hours, which felt like the perfect amount of time. It was long enough that we felt that we’d seen a whole lot, but not so much that our feet were aching, or we got bored. After crossing over the bridge again, we found ourselves back in Braamfontein – just in time to grab a drink and a pizza at 86 Public and have a walk around before we went on our way again. Basically perfection for a Saturday morning.
You can have a look at upcoming walks here and follow the lovely She Said here. Otherwise, just drop her an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s one coming up this weekend (March 28th) that sounds pretty incredible, so you’re gonna wanna book your slot soon.
Look out for me, I’ll be the one wandering around Gandhi Square.