Johannesburg. I'd admit, I went in with pretty high expectations, based off of what others have told me. I'm thinking to myself like nahhh it can't be on that level. I was WRONG. Johannesburg is an incredible place where you feel the soul of the city through its people. It's a very real place where poverty exists, but I've never been to a place where I've seen and felt so much creativity and innovation to move past it sustainably. It's a city on the verge and you want to be in on it ... TRUST ME. With that being said, there are a few thing you wanna know when come here..
Johannesburg is not exactly a small place. With a population of 4.4 million in the city and a total 8 million in the metro, Johannesburg is somewhere in between Philly and Chicago as far as size so getting around can be a challenge so there plenty of Uber cars and taxis to get you around.
You CANNOT come to Jo'berg and not go to Soweto. Soweto stands for SOuthWEestern TOwnships. Soweto originated as a series of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg, populated mostly by black workers from the gold mining industry who were not permitted to live in Johannesburg. Soweto draws out a lot emotions because of its areas of poverty and the historical events leading to the end apartheid in 1994. Even with all of that, the people are strong, kind and hospitable.
Did I mention Jo'berg is CHEAP for Americans? Our dollar equals a little more than 13 South African Rand. Meaning that you can buy really nice 5 star 3 course meal for under $25 dollars. I was buying rounds of drinks for 4-5 people for under 10 bucks.
Johannesburg is the ABSOLUTE center of the Deep House universe! You will hear deep and afro house music everywhere from lounges, to restaurants, to the grocery store and it will be good! ... No I'm lying... It will be great!
Jo'berg has real movement going on combining business, creativity, and sustainability. Groups like propertuity, curiosity hostels and situations east have literally transformed parts of the city like Maboneng, from abandoned industrial nothingness, to some of the hottest live, work and play spaces in the world! More than likely when you come to Jo'berg you'll be in one of these areas.
What I'm saying is this. You want to get to Johannesburg, and you want to get there NOW. TRUST ME. This city is on the verge something great. I'm on my flight home now, scheming on how to get back!