The Joburg City Festival: Top four picks

2013-08-23 08:17

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Let's face it, Joburg city centre is on the up and up - but an infamous reputation means many of us miss out on its multitude of dynamic layers.

While you may have heard about the regeneration of the inner city, have you had a chance to experience it first-hand? If your answer is no, then you need to block off the last week of August in your calendar as inner city Joburg is set to come alive with the inaugural Joburg City festival  from 25 – 31 August.

Once infamous now cool, bringing the locals back

Tourism, hospitality and creative businesses have come together to present a host of activities – from street soccer and night-time cycling to foodie experiences, walking tours, rooftop parties and ballet performances.  If you’re coming from out of town, why not make a weekend of it and take in all the urban entertainment on offer. 

Joburg boasts some fantastic inner-city hotels with modern rooms, trendy restaurants and designer bars.  Choose from EasyHotel, Faircity Mapungubwe Hotel, Parktonian Hotel (Protea Hotels) Reef Hotels (African Sky), StayCity, The Bannister Hotel or Urban Hip Hotels such as Ashanti and 12 Decades hotels.

There’s so much diverse entertainment on offer – but here are my top picks, so go make the most of it…

1. Food and Wine

The Apprentice Food and Wine Experience  - Wednesday, 28 August

This is a two-hour walking tour through the corporate mining district, followed by a gastronomic food and wine tasting at one of Joburg’s most exclusive private venues. Urban Ocean’s luxury Penthouse, atop the historic National Bank Building was where the South African version of the Apprentice Apartment was filmed, and offers stunning views of the mining district.

The Forum Company - daily, 28 – 31 August

If you want to capture the cosmopolitan spirit of a thriving inner city while enjoying a Tapas and Cocktail experience, head here. The event, held in a ‘street setting’ outside Turbine Hall in Newtown, celebrates the energy of urban city life in a trendy setting.

The Sky Level rooftop bar - Throughout the festival, 25 – 31 August

Probably one of the best venues for sundowners, this bar at the Parktonian Hotel will be open to the public during the festival. Take in the panoramic 360 degree views of Joburg while feasting on a choice of flame-grilled kebabs, beef fillet, springbok loin or chicken-and-prawn curry combined with gluwein, draft beer or soft drinks. Pre-booking is essential -

Lamunu Craft Beer Festival  -  Saturday, 31 August

Beer lovers and hipsters need to head to Braamfontein more regularly to try Lamunu Restaurant and Bar Food and Craft beer pairings. Otherwise the Craft Beer Festival on  31 August.
Apart from many food events, various city restaurants will offer on-going meal specials, coffee tastings and food experiences throughout the festival.

2. Music, Arts & Entertainment:

Folk muso Jeremy Loops at Randlords - Sunday, 25 August

Randlords is one of the most upmarket venues in the city with its rooftop providing one the most amazing skyline views. It usually plays host to “Balcony TV Johannesburg”  but this weekend's live music event is a must.

The South African Mzansi Ballet - Throughout the festival, 25 – 31 August

The country’s largest and most prestigious professional ballet company is a must for culture lovers. They are having a host of performances throughout the festival. Otherwise you may also want to checkout daily fun events at the Fashion Kapitol, from fashion exhibitions to storytelling and cultural dance.

3. Walking Tours

Past Experiences - Sunday 25 August and Thursday, 29 August
Joburg city, formerly a pariah in the tourism industry is now teeming with exciting inner city walking tours.  I love street art and find this is probably one of the best ways to experience it. The original Joburg city waking tour company - is offering some fun, short tours of the city. Join them for a Graffiti Walk at 10am on the Sunday or The Phuza Braamfontein Pub Crawl on the Thursday evening.

Gandhi to Mandela Tour held - Throughout the festival, 25 – 31 August

Gerald Garner, the author of Joburg Places, the go to guide on the city, offers excellent city tours. This two-hour will explore sites in the city relevant to both icon’s time there. Its conveniently held during lunch time, especially convenient for people working in the city.

Regenerated Inner-City Walking Tour takes - Saturday, 31 August

This half-day tour will take you on a journey through the regenerated districts of the city, with insights into Jozi’s fascinating history.

4. Sports

Annual Jozi Street Ball Cup Championship - Throughout the festival, 25 – 31 August

The 1st of what is set to be an annual championship will take place on Gandhi Square with several street soccer teams competing for the Jozi Street Ball title.

Critical Mass cycling - Friday, 30 August

An inner city simply is not complete if it's not bicycle-friendly. This event will also aim to raise awareness of  the benefits of a car-free city environment with an en-mass night-time cycle ride through the city. 
Participation is free, you obviously are required to bring your own bike and it starts in Braamfontein at 19:00.  Even if you don’t ride, head down to one of the fantastic city restaurants – Doubleshot Coffee & Tea, 86 Public Pizzeria, Velo Gallery Café or Lamunu Restaurant – to experience what is sure to be a fantastic urban vibe.
As there is no central booking system, events need to be pre-booked with the individual venues. Download the full Joburg Inner City Festival programme here.

For enquiries contact Gerald Garner or Nabeelah Dadabhay on:
Cell: 082 894 5216

Are you planning on going, why not email us your pics to or tweet us using the #JoburgCityFest

Meruschka Govender is a travel blogger, visit her site or follow her on twitter MzansiGirl.
Read more on:    joburg  |  travel  |  travel south africa  |  lifestyle

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.