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

What is the best mobile phone network in South Africa?

HOW TO SET UP A MOBILE PHONE ACCOUNT

moving+to+johannesburg.jpg

(Please note we do not have any paid affiliation or sponsorship deals with any of the accounts mentioned below - all comments are made from our personal experiences)

There are three main service providers, which all use the same telecommunications infrastructure (a legacy of a centralised communication network), and provide essentially the same kinds of contract options, but with some pros and cons:

Cell C: Affordable contracts but limited signal in some areas
MTN: There have been complaints of poor customer service in the past but MTN undoubtedly has the most expansive service network on the continent so with an MTN contract you’ll often get signal in area when others don't, which can be helpful if you intend on travelling to off the grid places.
Vodacom: The most established and accessible service provider (apart from in Bryanston area), you’ll find a branch in most shopping malls, and although there are still complaints around customer service, steps have been taken to improve this.

Personally I have found the best network to be a company called Afrihost, because it is by the far the cheapest I have come across plus their app gives you full transparency on data usage (something I fought with for 2 years over with the other networks!)

Similarly to setting up a bank account, to set up a cellphone contract you will need to provide  proof of identity and proof of address, to comply with RICA, the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act, which makes it compulsory for everyone in South Africa to register their cellphone number.

This can be a pain, but to reduce crime, needing to provide a permanent address has recently been introduced to make cheap phones and pay-as-you-go contracts more difficult for criminals to buy on the fly.

You can set up a contract at any franchise store around the country, provided you have the right documentation, but be aware that these stores can be busy, especially on weekends, and are often understaffed.

With rare exceptions, everyone in South Africa will have a mobile phone, but not everyone will have a smartphone, so keep in mind that communicating with some people will be largely via text, calls or Whatsapp. 

Be aware that to get onto a contract you will need to have a work permit that is valid for the full 24 month period. But once on a contract it is cheaper than pay as you go for data and calls.

The best way to get set up is to pick up a SIM card at the airport, (you then don't need to have proof of residence). One company that offers this service is: B4 I Travel https://b4i.travel/za/.   

INTERNET

If you want to get connected straight away, the fastest way to do this is to purchase a router through Vodacom and use their pay as you go service, this will enable you to get wi fi until you or your landlord set up the fibre or connection for you.

For more info click here: http://www.vodacom.co.za/vodacom/services/home-internet 

Tip: Where possible try to get the wifi included in your rent, since often the contracts are 24 months, and hard to disconnect (particularly Telkom) 

Telkom is the national telecommunications provider, and is a company you will often hear South Africans complain about due to poor customer services (although this has also been challenged to improve with recent industry competition).

FIXED LINE:

Telkom provides fixed line voice and ADSL services, but they only provide the line. Once you have secured a Telkom line (which can sometimes be a lengthy process), you’ll need to take out an additional service provider contract, although they will manage the line for you. 

If you are renting an apartment or house that has been lived in before you’ll often find that there is an existing Telkom line that just needs to be reactivated. In order to set up a Telkom line you will need to set up an appointment for a technician to activate/install the line.

While inconvenient, you will need to set aside a day to be at home, or arrange for someone to be there, as the technicians work on a rotation basis and won’t give you a definite time of arrival. They will also be leaving and coming back in order to check the line and how it corresponds with the central hub for your suburb/area so expect this to take at least an hour or two, depending on whether there is a problem or not.

You will be billed separately for the Telkom and the ISP accounts. You will receive all of the invoices via email.

The easiest way to pay your Telkom is by setting up a private beneficiary on your online banking profile and pay via EFT, otherwise you can pay in person at various physical locations, like Checkers and Pick n Pay stores, Telkom stores or at the Post Office. Easy Pay is another online payment option: https://new.easypay.co.za/ 

There is the option to set up a debit order for payment to your ISP, which you can set up through your online client profile (this is the case with Afrihost).
You will need to buy your own modem, although you can order this through your service provider for an extra fee. You will also need to do the setup yourself but if the Telkom line is working correctly this isn’t difficult at all.

Some options include:

Afrihost
Webafrica
MWEB

Some Recent Reviews:

https://mybroadband.co.za/news/adsl/174116-best-and-worst-adsl-isps-in-south-africa-3.html


https://mybroadband.co.za/news/adsl/172311-south-africas-adsl-isps-ranked-by-customer-service-levels.html 

NOTE: When dealing with Telkom, especially when logging a fault (when your internet doesn’t work), always get a reference number.


FIBRE

In many areas of Joburg there are various companies setting up fibre-optic lines, which are contracted by suburb.

Check with your apartment complex manager or residents association to find out which fibre optic service providers are in your area, and to find out specifics about contracts. In the case of an apartment complex, there will be a central fibre connection point that all apartments will connect to.

The difference with fibre is that it is independent of Telkom infrastructure, so you can deal with the service provider directly instead of having to go through a third-party line provider.

Some Options:

WebAfrica
Fibrehood
Vumatel
Vox Telecom
Cool Ideas
Vodacom

TELEVISION

To own a television in South Africa, you will need to pay an annual TV licence fee, which gives you access to all of the free national channels: SABC 1, 2 and 3 and eTV.

Read more: http://www.tvlic.co.za/tvlic/index.php?lang=en 

To be able to watch a more diverse variety of television shows you will need to subscribe to DSTV. Premium access currently costs R759 a month, with various other packages available depending on the channels you want to watch. Note that there will be an additional cost for the DSTV decoder.

Read more: http://www.dstv.com/topic/compare-packages-20150713?pos4_GetDstv_ComparePackages 

While many South Africans will have a DSTV subscription, online subscriptions are also becoming more popular, like Netflix and Showman. Particularly when linked to your own VPN service. 

https://www.netflix.com/za/ 
https://www.showmax.com/eng/welcome/za 

VOICE LINE

It’s not as common for households to have a fixed voice line anymore as everyone is contacted via mobile phone, but in the case that you want one for international calls, you will just need to follow the same contract setup process with Telkom as you would for an ADSL line- you’ll just be paying extra for voice line rental, and for calls.