Best Places to View Jacarandas

Its that time of year when Joburg and Pretoria turn purple. There is a saying amongst students that if you haven't started revising for your exams by the time the streets turn purple it's too late. 

The Jacaranda's don’t last all that long, the best time is usually the second or third weekend in October, just after the first rains have come at the start of summer.  

best places to see Jacarandas



Half Day Trips: 

Rosebank  

Park in Rosebank Mall, and then head out towards Tyrwhitt Avenue, and across Oxford Road into Melrose. Take a stroll around the avenue's before heading back along Jellicoe. Finish up with a drink or meal at the Keys Mile. If you are looking for viewswe recommend Marble or Mesh Club (which is open to the public after 4pm), or the Milk Bar for great vibe.  

Picnic In Emmarentia Park 

Park in Emmarentia car park, just off Orange Road, and then stroll up Troon Road, up and over Barry Herzog, and into the beautiful Clovelly Road. You can stroll all around Greenside, before heading back into Emmerentia to pick up your picnic and head into the park. (If you have kids there is a great play area right by the entrance on Olifants Road.  

Take A Heritage Stroll

best places to see Jacarandas in Johannesburg


Drive around the streets in parkview, before parking at the bottom of Westcliff Steps on Crescent Drive or the intersection of Wicklow Avenue and Westcliff Drive. The 210 steps are well worth the climb to take in a view across the whole of Johannesburg.

Westcliff is home to all the old "Randlords", its one of the oldest parts of the city. With its large properties with incredible views. It is also home to two outstanding (and over subscribed) schools; The Ridge (boys) and St Catherine’s (girls). The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation run wonderful guided walks. 

Best Places to see Jacarandas in Johannesburg


Lunch @ Four Seasons Hotel - Westcliff 

This is a must do at least once during your stay here. You can not beat the views from the terrace at this luxury hotel. But make sure you book, it is incredibly popular at this time of year. You may even want to go for a walk around the zoo in the morning, since its right opposite.  


Pretoria 

Pretoria is usually 3 degrees warmer than Joburg, as a result the Jacarandas bloom a few weeks earlier than they do in Joburg. 

A great viewing spot is the Union Buildings, which you can get to via the Gautrain, take the Hatfield stop and then the H3 bus. 

Best Places to see Jacarandas in Johannesburg

If driving, head to the Brooklyn Area, and drive along Pienaar Street and Murray Street, amongst others. For the White Jacaranda's drive along Herbert Baker Street, and then up into the Klapperkop Nature Reserve to get an ariel view. 

For more info on 2Summers hunt for the White Jacaranda's Click here to read her post and see more beautiful photos.  

Johannesburg Tours

People often ask me if I feel safe to walk around and explore Johannesburg. Like any city there are no go area's. or places I would only go through with a local, or as part of a group. But there are lots of places that you just have to be aware (rather than paranoid). Plan your trip, know where you are going, where to park, and leave your Rolex at home.  

Here are my top experiences, the majority are individually or community run, with the larger more established tours at the end. 

Johannesburg Tours

1. Day Tour With Thami 

Thami provides the BEST tour in the whole of South Africa! Every guest who comes to stay with us, has to go out with him, at least for half a day. We have sent global CEO's, and my in laws out with him. Thami has grown up in Soweto, he know everyone and everything. There isn't anything he can't show you or explain to you. Thami will personalise your tour, and give you a day you will always remember! He really is outstanding. All the profits he makes go directly back into the people of Soweto. 

2. Micro Adventures Tour Guide 

https://www.facebook.com/KWTMicroadventurer/

Great variety of adventures to go on, from running up the stairs at Ponte Tower, to exploring Joburg's Heritage. Each event always has a great mix of people who create a welcoming environment. But be warned their adventures sell out quickly, so if you see something you would like to do, make sure you book it! 

3. Johannesburg Heritage Foundation

https://www.facebook.com/groups/112707830122/

My good friend Heather Mason from 2Summers told me about these guys, and wow what a great find! They provide a vast amount of knowledge and history delivered in a variety of formats, from bus trips to neighbourhood walking tours. They always run a special offer on tours throughout September to celebrate Heritage Day.  

 

4. Joburg Photowalkers & InstaWalks 

For those who want to explore off the beaten path, join the Photo walkers facebook group, or keep a look out for the next Instawalk. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/710081799017014/

5. Dlala Nje - Hillbrow 

Most Joburger's consider Hillbrow a no-go area. Thankfully Micro Adventures and Dlala Nje are changing that, by encouraging people to return, by running Hillbrow and Ponte tours and have also just opened a bar and yoga classes inside Ponte Tower.  Dlala Nje operate a youth club based out off Ponte, all proceeds from their tours go directly to the running costs.. 

6. City Skate Tours

https://www.facebook.com/cityskatetours/

The tour lasts three hours and skateboards are provided (tours are for persons aged over 18 only). The first hour is usually spent teaching you how to skate, before heading into town to tell you more about the history, and point out some up and coming urban developments, graffiti and street sculptures.   To book contact Mnyandu on +27 79 839 8833, email cityskatetours@gmail.com. Tours from R300 per person (including skateboard rental). Tours on Sat, Sun, start at 10:00 and 14:00.

7. New In Town Orientation Tour

Have you just moved to Joburg? There is no need to do this all on your own. We can pick you up and show you around for the day! Introduce you to people within your area, take you to the local yoga studio, shops, schools, parks, and generally help you get your weekly routine set up. We are all expats so understand whats its like, let us take you shopping and introduce you to all our favourite South African brands! Contact us to learn more.

General Tours - You Need To Do At Least Once

Red Bus Tour

Lebo's Bicycle Tour - Soweto

Past Experiences

Joburg Places  

Have a specific question? I like to hang out over on Instagram, and often have a story or two to show you around Joburg. Come PM any questions or concerns you have over at: https://www.instagram.com/expatcollection

Joburg Expat

The Best Children's Birthday Parties in South Africa

Planning a Birthday Party 

Image by the amazing  Zsuzsanna Fedak Photography

Image by the amazing Zsuzsanna Fedak Photography


Looking for help planning a birthday party in South Africa? Whether you are looking for child-friendly party venues, party suppliers, birthday cakes or something special, such as a magician or performer, we have you covered. In this mega list, we give you a wide list of resources that will make party planning a breeze.


A Stress-Free Guide to Party Planning in South Africa

First things first, take a deep breath. We know how tough it can be to plan a child's birthday. When you are a long way from home, in a brand new country, without your usual support network, this task becomes even more stressful. To help you get started, we have put together a list of tips, resources and info that make party planning in South Africa as stress-free as possible.


Birthday Party Suppliers in Joburg


First up, here is our list of birthday party suppliers in Joburg.

Venues

REEA Urban Farm (Braamfontein)

Johannesburg Country Club (Auckland Park)

Indaba Hotel (Fourways)

Bryanston Country Club (Sandton)

BOUNCE Trampoline Park Waterfall (Midrand/ Various)

Model Train Park / The Rand Society of Model Engineers -

best childrens parties in Johannesburg



AcroBranch Melrose (Melrose)

Jungle Joes Party Adventures (Bramley)

Avalanche (Fourways)

Gold Reef City (Ormonde)

Entertainers


Smilemakers – wide range of entertainment options from magic to face painting

MonkeyMagic – making kids party dreams come true

Magic Circle Entertainment – magicians and illusionists

Facepaint Fanatix – balloon animals, face painting and more

Jumpees Jumping Castles Hire – jumping castles for hire

Baby Boffins – kids art lessons

Cakes

Paul's Homemade Ice Cream Cakes (Parkhurst/ Rosebank - various)

Emily's Cakes (Observatory)

Inspired Cakes (Sandton)

Cake And Bake (Honeydew)

best childrens birthday party ideas in Johannesburg



Decorations

Flower Spot (Woodmead)

Westpack Lifestyle (Various Branches)

Kidz Cardz & Party Buckets (Alberton)

PartyNet (Edenvale)

Party Planners

Bash

Pudding and Pie (Nicky)

Count on Us


Birthday Party Suppliers in Cape Town

Next, we have a list of birthday party suppliers in Cape Town.

Venues

The River Club (Observatory)

The Play Shed (Pinelands)

Lasertag Cape Town (Various Locations)

The Blue Train Park (Mouille Point)

Ottery Barnyard (Ottery)

Clay Cafe (Hout Bay)

Wild Clover Farm (Stellenbosch)

Ratanga Junction (Century City)

Entertainers

Hip Hip Hooray - helium Balloons, jumping castles, parties, carnivals, events and more

Glendini – kids magic shows and more

Face Choice – face painting and other fun

Matt Gore - The Ginger Ninja – hilarious magic and entrainment shows

Rumble Grumble Parties – jumping castles for hire

Cakes

kids parties Johannesburg
best childrens parties in Johannesburg

I really hate giving away meaningless party packs, full of additional sugar, and more plastic, but its hard to think of alternatives. Here are a few suggestions, but I would love to know if you have any ideas?

  • Balloons with sweets at the bottom

  • Play-do

  • Lego pieces

  • CD of favourite music

  • Biscuits (animal or themed)

  • Glow sticks


Have a specific question? Or need advice on a party for a certain age, come and ask for feedback inside our Moving to South Africa Facebook Group.

6 South African products to include in your weekly shop

One of the best things about living abroad is the variety of new products you get to try. Here are our family favourites, and ones we will have to sneak into our luggage when the time comes to leave South Africa. 

 

Joburg Expat

Gourmet Greek Yoghurt 

Small family business based in KZN, we first became addicted to their double cream yoghurt when the kids were small, but now its a firm favourite in our fridge!

Click here to source your local stockist. (Usually Spa or local fruit and veg shop). 

 

 

 

 



Pauls Ice Cream  

Joburg Expat

Originally I wasn't so keen to try Pauls Ice Cream since my husband brought it back with our pizza. What quality is the ice cream going to be when sold alongside pizza? How wrong I was!!! We adore Pauls. Be sure to visit their shop in Rosebank or pick up one of their tubs from one of the many local stockist all over Joburg.






THRUPPS GREEK MARINADE LAMB (AND THEIR BLUEBERRY MUFFINS) 

Whenever I get frustrated by not being able to find something in Woolies, or other supermarkets I head to Thrupps, who make shopping a pleasure, the staff are well trained and will always help you to find what you are looking for!  
We have lost count of the times we have braai their lamb, taken away on weekends, hosted family and friends. Its never fails to disappoint.

 

Fresh Orange Juice 

You can pick up fresh orange juice from most Spa's and local fruit and veg shops, the only down side is it's 100% pure orange so doesn't keep for very long, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem in our house.

 

Mrs Balls

Joburg Expat

This wouldn’t be a South Africa food blog without including Mrs Balls, who needs tomato sauce when you have this amazing Peach Chutney. It comes in a variety of favours even crisps / chips!

Its certainly a firm favourite in almost every South African household. 

 

 

So those are our favourite items - what about you? What will you miss when the time comes to leave SA? What are your firm favourite food products in your fridge / cupboard?