There is always something about my birthday that has me ready to try different things and experience a bit more of life. Whether it’s a roadtrip, a day outing or a new place with great food, I’ll give it a go. This year has gone the same way and I was 90% sure of my choice of birthday outing, then I saw more really fun things to do and then I was al confuzzled! Whether it’s for a birthday, a family / friend excursion, end of the year gathering or just a fun day out doing something a little unusual and out of the norm, there are a few good websites to visit that can point you in the right direction.
Be adventurous, live a little and enjoy more of the city that you live in. You will find something that’s just for you and you’ll be glad for it! Go on…go play.
1.) Nelson Mandela Center Of Memory
The centre of memory can be found at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a non-profit organisation started by Madiba in 1999. Visit the current exhibition which focuses on photography during the State of Emergency. Submit a booking request via the website here to visit the centre. One is able to visit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 09h30 and 15h30.107 Central Street, Houghton. Call +27 (0)11 547 5600.
Cost: free, donations welcome.
2.) Living Room Rooftop
The Living Room is a rooftop oasis made up of ever-changing vertical gardens. The delicious meze and smoothies come recommended. Swing in a hammock or sip a smoothie surrounded by greenery and a spectacular view. Open to the public on most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 3pm to 9pm and Sundays from midday until 8pm. 20 Kruger Street, Main Change Building, Maboneng. Call 082 370 9284.
Entrance: free but depends on event.
3.)East City Cycle Tour
Feel the pulse of the city, explore its arteries. Try their “east city cycle tour” (R180 per person) or their “picnic in the sky” at full moon (R200 per person). They also have an “art and justice” tour showcasing the incredible inner city art (the art and justice tour is a bit pricier at R250 per person). Find out more and book here.
Cost: from R180 per person.
4.) James Hall Museum Of Transport
Steam locomotives, penny farthings and ox wagons will keep kids intrigued for over an hour. Pioneer Park, Rosettenville Road, La Rochelle. This is a stop on the red city bus tour. Open Tuesdays to Fridays (9am-5pm), Saturdays and Sundays (9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm). Closed on Mondays, every third weekend of the month, 25 to 26 December. Call +27 (0)11 435 9718.
Cost: free, donations to keep the museum running appreciated.
5.) Boat Ride and Duck Feeding At Zoo Lake
Take some bread crumbs along and have a lovely afternoon out at Zoo lake feeding the ducks and geese. You can also rent out a row boat which fits up to 6 people. You’ll have a great time paddling about. The boat club is open from 9.30am to 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday (it’s closed on Mondays). You can also go bowling at the bowling green or have a picnic.
Minimum cost per boat: R10, cost per person: R7.50 and R5 for children.
6.) Gallery Momo
Get your fix of the best contemporary South African and international art at Gallery MOMO set in an airy Parktown house. It was established by Monna and Lee Mokoena in 2003. 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg, +27 11 327 3247. Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm and 9am to 4pm on Saturdays.
7.) Troyeville Hotel’s Book Club with a night with an author
Drop in on one of Jozi’s oldest-running book clubs at The Troyeville Hotel. This beautiful space with flamingos on the dining room walls hosts enlightening discussions with a variety of authors. Check the Troyeville Facebook page for event updates. An evening of dinner and a discussion varies- around R200 depending on the event.
1403 Albertina Sisulu Road. Corner Wilhemeina Street (formerly 25 Bezuidenhout Street), Troyeville.
Cost: approx R200 for dinner and an evening with the author and the Troyeville Book Club
8). Mr Big Stuff
Waffles and fried chicken or deep fried mac and cheese squares? Yes please!
Mr Big Stuff is across the road from a red city stop. 87 Juta Street, Braamfontein. 011 339 1412.
Cost: R55 for a crispy chicken waffle sandwich. Look out for student specials.
9.) Zorb around in a giant inflatable ball at Jozi X
Jozi X has the longest zorb ride in South Africa. Climb into the 3m diameter inflatable ball and roll down the 200m long slope. R80 pp for 1 zorb roll and R100 pp for 2 rolls. Jozi X also has slacklining to practise your balancing skills and develop core strength, the crazy sport of Bubble Soccer and the Big Air Krush Kushion Jump. This will get you practicing serious tricks, flips and rolls on skateboards, bmx bikes and snow boards. R50 for 3 hours, call ahead during the week to book a session. Jozi X adventure centre, Cnr Main & Sloane, Bryanston. Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5pm. Call 082 456 2358.
10.) Largest Flower Market In The Southern Hemisphere
The 50 000 square metre specialised flower warehouse, the Multiflora flower market, sees 1 million flower stems pass through its doors in just three to four hours! Private shoppers are welcome to browse through the largest flower market in the Southern Hemisphere. Contact: 011 613 4011.
11.) Northgate Ice Rink
Feeling the heat this summer? The Northgate Shopping Centre ice rink is a great place to cool off while getting in some exercise. Keep an eye on their Facebook page as they often hold fun events like foam parties and celebrity bands/DJs. Cnr Witkoppen and Olivenhout. 011 794 8706.
Cost: R60, skate hire: R25.
12.) Wits Origin Center
A unique museum dedicated to celebrating the origins of human kind including fascinating rock art. Audio tours available. On occasion there are public lectures in the evenings. Open every day from 10am to 5pm. Yale Rd & Enoch Sontonga Avenue. 011 717 4700.
Tickets cost R40.
Good to know: If you are willing to spend more there is a “test your own DNA” tour on offer.
13.) The Military History Museum for fascinating military planes and other relics
Artifacts from Umkhonto-we-Sizwe, the Anglo-Boer War, the Anglo-Zulu war and various other historical battles are on display. Open daily from 9am to 4:30pm. 22 Erlswold Way, Saxonwold. Call 011 646 5513.
Entrance is R30 for adults, R15 for senior citizens, R25 for learners and students.
14.) Beer House
And last but not least head to Beerhouse in Fourways. They stock at least 99 craft beers both local and imported, host fun quiz nights, silent discos and serve excellent pub fare. 1 Sunset Ave, Corner Witkoppen rd, Sandton. Call 011 465 2402.
We’d love to hear your favourite things to do in Johannesburg in the comments below.
15.) Hells Kitchen
Food, drink, music, mayhem is the motto. There’s a secret room behind the bookcase, live music on the weekend and an unpretentious vibe. Hell’s Kitchen is a Shop 4. 7th street, Melville. Call 079 980 9591.
Cost: R128 for Bad Ass Baby Back Ribs.
Words By Phumeza Langa