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City Slicker Travels

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Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it.

Anonymous

Jan-tuisbly-se-karretjie is a reality for a lot of us this year, not because we don’t want to see family, but rather because we love them enough that we would stay away. It hurts, I won’t lie.

I’m trying to maintain a work-life-lockdown balance by doing things that takes us out of the house for an hour or 2 every few days. One of these little gems visited on an outing is the Gerakaris Family Wine property out in Craighall.

Gerakaris Family Wine Johannesburg

You can just order a wine tasting or add a platter with cheese or olives. It’s a nice little garden setting – but you can also ask to sit indoors.

PS. Right now I would recommend booking for your Johannesburg wine tasting.

Gerakaris Family Wine Johannesburg

Gerakaris Family Wine Contact Details:

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Johannesburg is everything you think it is but also so much more. It is a city of riches and struggles, people on the run and knowing who your neighbours are. It is filled with South Africans, Africans from so far as the Ivory Coast and Ghana and of course people from ‘overseas’ that fell in love with the city’s energy.

Johannesburg CBD

I thought I’d share 20 cool facts about my city:

  1. Eish, this Joburg! This is a phrase I have heard a million times. It could be thrown in to express that you share in the misery of being stuck in traffic or that you were a victim of crime. It can be applied to just about anything that can go wrong in the city.
  2. Johannesburg is known as the City of Gold, eGoli, Jozi or Joburg. If you see references of 011 or 010 it is the landline area code for the city. 
  3. It is not the only Johannesburg in the world. When some of the gold miners that worked the gold fields here made their way to California in the US they named their new town Johannesburg too. Our US counterpart is of course not nearly as big as my beloved Joburg.
  4. The Hillbrow Tower has been the tallest structure and tower in Africa for 45 years. It stretches 269m into the sky. Before I was born you could visit a floor 197m up… my mom told me about it.
  5. The Carlton Centre is the tallest office building in Africa. You can take a ride up to the viewing floor for a great view of the city. Back in the eighties this was also a destination for school groups from towns far-far-away. I was scared breathless my first time that high in the sky.
  6. Johannesburg is one of the youngest big cities in the world. The first tent-town iteration sprung up in 1886 during the gold rush. The official date is 4 October 1886!
  7. Johannesburg is also Africa’s second biggest city. Egypt’s Cairo is the biggest… but then again, they have a couple of centuries on us!
  8. An estimated 4.5 million people call the city home. I’ve been here since 1999. You will be able to find a person from almost every African country in the city.
  9. Don’t fret if you feel a little dizzy while visiting, the city lies 1753m above sea level. It takes a little longer to boil an egg here than in Durbs or Cape Town.
  10. On the upside, Johannesburg has a fairly mild climate with lots of sunshine. Summer months stretch from September-ish to late March. Our seasons are better than Cape Town’s but Durbs always takes the cake with warmer weather.
  11. Vilakazi street in Soweto is where two of South Africa’s Nobel Peace Prize Winners used to live.  Locals will proudly point out former South African president Nelson Mandela and former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s houses.
  12. The city also boasts one of the largest man-made forests in the world. There are between 5 to 10 million trees depending on who tells the story.
  13. The Johannesburg Zoo was founded in 1904 and is sprawled over 55 hectares. Just imagine the exercise you’ll get by visiting!
  14. OR Tambo International Airport, the busiest airport in Africa, was opened in 1952. It was first known as Jan Smuts Airport, then as Johannesburg International Airport in 1994 and since 2006 as OR Tambo. It’s a good thing we have such a big airport as we’ve hosted the finals for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2003 Cricket World Cup and 1995 IRB Rugby World Cup.
  15. First National Bank Stadium or simply FNB Stadium is the largest sports stadium in Africa with a capacity of almost 100,000 spectators. It has hosted everything from sporting events to international musical acts. It is an must-snap spot.
  16. Sandton is known as the richest square mile in Africa . The richest gold field in the world was discovered right here many moons ago. Now it is the most important business and financial district in South Africa – with the worst possible traffic. (I worked here for 6 years, just ask me.)
  17. The bronze statue of Mandela in Sandton’s Nelson Mandela Square weighs 2.5 tonnes! The statue stands 6 metres high and measures 2.3 metres from elbow to elbow.  The statue depicts Mandela wearing his Madiba shirt while dancing in what was referred to at the unveiling as the “Madiba jive”. This statue was unveiled on 31 March 2004. It was the first-ever public statue of Mandela.
  18. Mponeng Gold Mine is the deepest mine in the world (currently). It takes an hour to get down the 4km deep shaft. It is located towards Westonaria – the western area of Johannesburg.
  19. Johannesburg is the world’s largest city that isn’t located near a coastline or navigable river. However, it has the world’s largest dry port that was developed in 1977 already.
  20. Johannesburg’s traffic is hectic, but not as bad as Cape Town’s. Joburgers are generally more aggressive in their driving style but only because they have places to go and people to see.
Soweto
Johannesburg CBD

Next time you think that there is nothing to see in or near Joburg, think again.

We have Orlando Towers and of course Vilakazi Street, Maropeng, Constitution Hill, the Apartheid Museum, Liliesleaf, Gold Reef City, Museum Africa, South African Museum of Military History, Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, the Nelson Mandela Bridge, James Hall Museum of Transport, Wits Origins Centre Museum, Lindfield Victorian House Museum, Wits Johannesburg Planetarium, more than 1 Mandela statue and even one of Gandhi…

If you want to kick it old style you can still catch a steam train. You can get to any part of the country via train from Johannesburg – just not by steam train.

This one is the kicker, we also have our own winery! Gerakaris Family wines ferment and bottle grapes from the Cape Winelands in the heart of Jozi.

Eish, this Jozi is a strangely wonderful place to live.

Here are some cool things you can do while in Johannesburg:

It has been 106 days since lockdown started in South Africa. For the kids and I, it has been 118 days. Since the country entered Lockdown Level 3 we have been out and about most weekends to little nature reserves in Gauteng. It felt great to be out and feel the sunshine, see a lion and hear the wind in the trees.

Modderfontein Reserve in Edenvale, close to the airport, was our destination for our last weekend outing. It was a 20-minute drive from Fourways. Entry fees are quite affordable (R30 for adults and R15 for kids with Cyclists paying R50).

We were surprised to see so many people out, there were cars upon cars. People were out picnicking on the banks of the dam, walking along the trails and even enjoying a sit down at the Farmers’ Market.

The website promised a number of herbivores, but we didn’t see any. We did see a lot of birds during our walk.

I probably wouldn’t go back hoping to see animals, but I would definitely go back to have a picnic next to the water! I really enjoyed the walk in nature too.

Find out more here: www.modderfonteinreserve.co.za

What to do in Gauteng with Kids

The simple truth about getting on the City Sightseeing Red Bus Tour in Cape Town is that it is a must. I loved it! It was a cheap way to get around Cape Town and I get to see a lot of interesting places without having to look for parking…

Cape Town seems to have a shortage of parking spaces. I even saw a car being pushed out of the way into a wall with a car. I don’t know if it’s normal, but if I rented a car I would get the smallest car possible and take super waiver damage insurance – just saying.

There I was, sitting at the top of the City Sightseeing Red Bus Tour under a canopy/roof looking at all these beaches filled with people… on the beach and not in the beautiful blue freezing water. (Clearly this is not KZN)

I even got off my perfect vantage point to walk and snap photos.

I only booked a 1 day ticket – and it even included stops at 3 wine tastings… The route stretched from the V&A via the Bo-Kaap (depending on the colour line you took)past Kirstenbosch, wineries and even up Table Mountain and down along the coast. It was a really well-planned route!

If I was to ever go back to Cape Town – and I only get there every decade or so – I would totally book my spot on some of the more expensive excursions they have… which are more wine tasting orientated.

If you want to see more of the wonderful things you can expect when you hop on, visit www.citysightseeing.co.za/en/cape-town or if you are in my hood (that’s Jozi) www.citysightseeing.co.za/en/joburg.

PS. They didn’t pay me to say nice things. I paid for my ticket as if I’m a real person.

What to do in Cape Town

Giving a major shout-out to the Thule Partners at Fourways Crossing in Jozi for awesome service. Plus getting us the space we need so we can do roadtrips!

In April we packed 3 adults, 1 toddler and 3 cats into the Kia Sportage. Hubby and I took very little luggage but Lexa… well, she takes up quite a bit of space. The cats were split across 2 carriers with 1 set going in the back and one on the backseat between Lexa and I – with snacks toppled all over my feet.

It was the most uncomfortable 7 hour drive ever.

When we got back to Jozi it was time to call it like it is – we need more space to pack stuff for holidays. The Kruger Park camping holidays we want to do will stay a dream if we can’t make or find space.

A trailer was out because we do not have that many parking spaces and no garage. Plus I’m not sure I would be able to reverse a trailer either. The only solution… a roof box.

We looked at both companies that sell roof boxes and then we went to the Thule shop at Fourways Crossing in Johannesburg…

We strolled into Thule looking all tired-af and dishevelled – because that is how real people look the next day after a 7 hour drive, a screaming toddler (6 hours of screaming) and being pushed in a tiny corner with no space for feet. I knew the minute we walked in that we would be going home with a roof box – I just didn’t know which size or colour yet.

The owner slid out the first box from its shelf and I could see hubby’s eyes get that glint that warns me I am about to spend lots of money. When the lid came off the box I could see hubby measuring how many suitcases he could fit. When the slightly smaller Thule roof box came out he was already talking about how it would look on top of the car.

And there I was, the voice of reason asking for pricing… with quotes in my inbox I wanted to sleep on it, weigh the pros and cons. Hubby however was obsessing about which Thule roof box would look the best on the Kia – the 440l or the 400l.

2 days later, only because hubby went to the office, we were back at Thule in Fourways Crossing.

The guys at Thule quickly fitted the roof bars and finally hubby could see which roof box looks better on the car. They marched out with the 2 Thule roof boxes we were interested in and fitted them both on the roof so we could have chance to see for ourselves how it would look. It was a good thing too, because it showed us how easy it would be to do it all ourselves.

Thule roof box fitting

We walked side to side and looked at both. We uhmed and ah-ed and chose the one that looked the best on our family car. The lines of the 400l worked perfectly with our car and within 15 minutes everything was fitted and I’ve paid – and drove off into the sunset 🙂

We’ve already taken it up the mountains in Limpopo!

The first weekend getaway with our Thule roof box was in beautiful Limpopo. All our luggage was on top and a family heirloom piece of furniture in the boot – and when we came back the boot was full of fresh products from the market.

Kia Sportage and Thule Roofbox - South African Travel Blogger and Mommy Blogger
Kia Sportage and Thule Roofbox - South African Travel Blogger and Mommy Blogger

…and I’m going to say this, when the roof box is off, my car looks sexy-af sporty with the roof rack. Now I feel that the car reflects me.

Thule Roof Box - South African Travel Blogger and Mommy Blogger
In the box, Lexa’s camp cot and her big Lou Harvey bag – plus 2 cabin size suitcases will fit in and then some.

What makes the Thule roof boxes so special?

The boxes come in a glossy black or a matte grey finish – in a few different sizes. The shape of the boxes lets the wind just quietly whizz past it and you wouldn’t even feel the difference driving. Plus they told us they also rent out the Thule boxes and recently sold a 10 year old one (it was still on the shop floor) and that thing looked good.

Now for the best part… you can open your roof box from driver or passenger side! So if you get parked in next to a tree or someone that decided they want to cozy up to your car, just go to the other side.

So when you want to take it off or put it back on it is so super easy, my hubby did it all on his own! You open the lid after popping it on the roof, tighten the “screws” and done. The plastic, locks and clips are really durable – but if anything goes crack! it has a warranty.

So how can you get your hands on one of these amazing Thule roof boxes?

Pull up your car close to the Thule shop in Fourways Crossing (by Wimpy) and say that you’ve read about them on my blog… and that you really want one but really would like a little discount. And don’t stop at roof racks, boxes and bicycle carriers – look at the strollers and backpacks… suitcases. I think I became a fan-girl and now have visions of myself carrying amazing luggage on my travels too.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ThuleFourways
Email: richard@sportandcargo.co.za
Tel: +27 11 465 9763

This btw is not a sponsored post. I just really love my Thule roof box so much that I wanted to share this with other city slickers that also have space issues.