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.  

Super 6 Jozi Presents For Christmas

Expat Life

Christmas comes early in Johannesburg, mainly because the schools finish for their main summer holiday at the start of December and soon after everyone flees. My first year here I found it lonely and sad with the lack of Christmas Festivities. My favorite home comforts (Christmas Songs on the radio, Christmas parties, Christmas Specials on TV) weren’t here. Now I actually find it quite refreshing, and low key, with the celebration being about holidays and family time rather than the whole commercial take that there is in the UK and US. 

What I have come to love about Christmas Shopping here, is the ability to buy your presents from local small businesses, through the wealth of Christmas Markets that take place across Joburg (for a list of markets see Top Christmas Events for 2019)

Here are my top brands to shop from on Christmas:

1) For Anyone

A Love Supreme - Wonderful South African brand, I have just purchased one of their beach umbrellas - but also check out their cute gift tags.

Love supreme wrapping.jpg

2) For Him 

Hip Kit - Belts imported from Argentina (they also sell dog collars) 

Melville and Moon - Great place for something a bit different, handmade safari luggage, camping chairs, Leather bags, portable drinks cabinets. Based in Kramerville.  

Simon and Mary - Beautiful hats made here in Joburg. 

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3) For Kids

Kapas Baby and Toddler - Beautiful clothes and accessories for the little ones, from Memory Cards to cute muslins and these beautiful blankets. They were also rapidly selling out of their cute clothes too.  

Pool Pillow - Hours of fun in the pool, or use it as a sun bed. These are just great for the whole family. R850 each

Yummy Baby - Great selection of kids toys on 4th Avenue, Parkhurst

PlayToys - This is a smaller toy shop that focuses on great wooden toys, educational games, and high quality playthings. Good from baby to teenager-or older! Shops are now located in Kyalami, Menlyn, and Blubird Center.

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4) For You

Patrick Mavros - From Zimbabwe, these exquisite items make the ultimate luxury gift.  Stores on the Fulham Road, London, Harare, Mauritius, and Nairobi. This is a brand you want to start collecting.  I dream to have a dinning table with one or two of his sculptures in the centre one day.  

How can I not include the beautiful Henrietta Botha - I adore every single item! From necklace's to her ear rings, and bracelets an item and price tag for every family member! She now has a shop in Parkview, or you can purchase online here.

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 5) For Sibling/Friend

I adore these beautiful throws, table linen and blankets from Mungo - if you are in Joburg you can pick them up from A Beautiful Life in Parkhurst.

For the holiday - Stitch and Social Enterprise - cotton picnic blankets, in variety of styles. 

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6) Online Shopping

Whilst post in SA isn't the most reliable, more and more retailers are coming online…

Nonna - Great selection of gifts for him, her and kids!

Kramers - based in Cape Town, but head up a few times a year to run markets showcasing the best South Africa designers. 

Hello Pretty - Online network of crafters, artists, and designers across South Africa. Kind of like a local Etsy site!

What else do you recommend?? Leave a comment or let us know on our Facebook page!

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?

Top 10 South African Local Lifestyle Products

South Africa has a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, which you’ll notice everywhere, from people selling all kinds of things at traffic lights to the range of bespoke and handmade designer products that are now more easily available online than ever before.

With a lot of creative and entrepreneurial energy centred around Joburg and Cape Town, here are some of our favourites from each city (and there are certainly a lot more!).

Johannesburg Expat Partner

 

JOBURG

1. Lulu And Marula

A business started up in Hyde Park alongside a career in advertising, Jesslyn Schlamm has created a range of handcrafted body products, all with a distinct focus on natural ingredients.

Try the Calming Balm for a relaxing transition into sleep.

 

2. Soy Lites

Soya candles are a popular alternative to overly scented and mass produced candles, and the range of Soy Lites are made right here in Melville.

Try the different range of scents to suit your mood.

Something similar: Also have a look at Melissa and Louise candles.

 

3. Saint D’Ici

A newly launched natural range of perfume, Saint D’Ici is made in Johannesburg, with scents sourced locally when possible, but with a range of other scents from around the world to complement the range.

Try the combination of the cedar and burnt orange natural scent for an uplifting, earthy feel.

 

4. Simon And Mary

A range of hats that has made wearing hats more accessible to the local market, Simon and Mary hats are handcrafted in Germiston and offer a variety of styles for both men and women.

 

5. Damn Good Looking

A handcrafted mirror making business evolved into a passion for screenprinting and textile design when Jennifer Bradley decided to handprint all the bags for the mirrors she sold, with the help of a family friend. Damn Good Looking now makes both mirrors and a range of patterned accessories.

Similar: Also have a look at the range of mirrors made by Dark Horse.

 

CAPE TOWN

5. Carrol Boyes

A household name in South Africa, Carrol Boyes started out as a range of pewter and stainless steel kitchen and homeware and has now evolved into an iconic South African brand of crockery and a variety of other lifestyle accessories.

Great for gifts and wedding presents!

 

6. Skinny La Minx

A popular textile designer, Skinny laMinx is regularly featured in local magazine and online editorials, and her recognisable pattern design has no doubt inspired another generation of textile entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Also have a look at local textile accessories design team Zana.

 

7. Kirsten Goss And Missibaba

A duo of creatives that complement each other, Kirsten Gossmakes beautiful statement jewellery and Missibaba a range of highly coveted, handmade leather handbags and accessories.

Look out for the range of quirky designs and styles at their Joburg store in Birdhaven.

 

8. Pichulik

With a range of similar products on the market, Pichulikkickstarted a revival of statement neckpieces, with a range of other jewellery on offer too.

Also look at: Henriette Botha

 

OTHER LOCAL PRODUCTS

9. Rain (Swellendam)

With locally sourced ingredients from Africa, and a focus on upliftment and skills development, Rain is a range of body and lifestyle products with a conscience. With a head office in the small town of Swellendam in the Western Cape, Rain now also has spas all over the country, and an office in the USA.

Try their signature foot treatment at one of their spas when you have the opportunity!

 

10. Jane Sews (Durban)

With a focus on sustainable design, Jane Sews make limited edition clothing and accessories, all of them with a story and a clear emphasis on conscience.