For those of you that don’t know me I’m Anna-Belle, this is my blog and this is #SeeYourCity which starts its 2014 season today!
If you would like to learn a little more about the process and the team that put #SeeYourCity together please click here!
So let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start…the first stop on the City Sightseeing Johannesburg tour – Gautrain Park Station
2010 saw the launch of the Gautrain, Johannesburg’s first subway type rapid transit train, linking OR Thambo, Sandton, Rosebank and Park Station. Along with the construction of the Nelson Mandela Bridge it was one of the first steps to merging the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ Joburg, it’s fitting then that the tour begins here.
The Citysightseeing bus departs from just outside the Gautrain Park Station, making it easy for those taking the tour to not only park their cars safely but also take the stress out of travelling by catching the train from their closest station. For those choosing to take the Gautrain the Citysightseeing Red Bus can be found to the right of the stations exit.
Gandhi Square is the quintessential melting pot of food, history and people. The square is the second stop on the tour, which makes it the perfect location to grab an early morning coffee or snack from one of the many cafes and restaurants that decorate the boarders of the square and watch the sun rise between the buildings.
Tip: One of the oldest cafes to have graced Gandhi Square is Jozi Square. Run by the friendliest family, Jozi Square is open early and closes late, offering great coffee, delicious and cheap South African food and better yet service with a smile.
Jozi Square is also located directly across from the iconic statue of Gandhi. As a young man Gandhi spent time working as a lawyer in Johannesburg. The statue that now watches over the square shows a young Gandhi in his lawyers’ garb, an image that is not often seen by the world.
Gandhi Square becomes a magical place in the morning, as the sun starts to peek between the buildings and the pigeons begin to graze on crumbs lost between the cracks of the recently laid bricks and the busses begin to roll in bringing the most interesting range of people from all corners of the city, country and world.
When in the square you might notice a large imposing billboard of a very serious looking man looking down disapprovingly, this is Herman Charles Bosman, one of South Africa’s great short story writers. The building on which the billboard is located is now home to the most beautiful collection of eclectic beauticians and hairdressers but was once home to Bosman, who ‘as legend has it’ would sit watching people from the balcony (which still stands today) and was one his greatest source of inspiration for his stories.
So you’ve seen the square, but you want more?
A short (and worthwhile) walk from the square brings you to Ernest Oppenheimer Park, which is one of the greatest tributes to Johannesburg, honouring the city and it’s history…and future through art. The park is both a heritage space and a place of deep meaning for many Joburg residents and is now a meeting space for traders, people taking their lunch breaks and teenagers playing basketball.
Adjacent to the Park is one of Johannesburg’s most beautiful buildings: The old Johannesburg Post Office. Although currently undergoing refurbishments the building is a testament to great architecture and history within the city. During the week the water feature in front of the building is turned on and the South African flags raised creating a great photo opportunity for those wishing to capture the old and new that the city has to offer.
Do you have any tips on what to see and where to go in Gandhi Square, or do you have any awesome #SeeYourCity experiences, share them with us!