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Old Posted Feb 9, 2018, 8:41 PM
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niwell niwell is offline
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Return to the City of Gold: Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

After visiting in early 2016 I really wanted to go back to Johannesburg partly to meet back up with some people I met last trip and just because I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely a city of contrasts that has a lot going for it, but also has a long way to go. Poverty and inequality remain huge problems, although to a lesser degree than anywhere else in South Africa.

I kept my eye on flight prices and snagged a cheap flight for last October, which was also my preferred time to catch the spring jacaranda trees in bloom. Missed the full bloom by a bit but still had a great time. First time travelling solo but as I mentioned I had some people to meet up with and also met a bunch of people along the way. Even though it was less than 2 years the city has already changed noticeably. In this time the city ousted the former ANC mayor and elected a new mayor from the Democratic Alliance Party on a platform of eliminating corruption and inner-city revitalization. Small things like less garbage on the streets (although still lots in bad areas) and no traffic light outages were noticeable. I also did see more people walking on the street in nicer areas which was encouraging.

You can see my previous photothread here: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=222003

Anyways, this is more or less chronological. I forgot the battery for my DSLR so everything is on iphone – forgive the possibly poor quality! It was easier to walk around without a big camera anyways.



Ethiopian airlines is pretty good tbh, although Adis Ababa airport is a bit of a dump.


Taking the Gautrain from the airport into Sandton – the immediate view is really not that dissimilar to the train to Toronto airport. Instead of taking an uber all the way I decided to take the Gautrain part way since I had funds leftover on my transit card from last trip. I had a bit of a conception of issues with uber but at Sandton station I had to walk across to a side street to get the uber to avoide metered cabs. There’s been a lot of issues lately and uber does have private security at most stations and big malls now – but the driver still didn’t want to take his chances.
The day I left I found out this happened… I was out in an area not too far as well and definitely ubered home:


First stop after a full day of travelling? Hell yes I need a beer. The bartender here remembered me from last time – it basically became my local while in town. My second last night an Italian South African got me extremely drunk and I do not remember how I stumbled home…


Like my last trip I stayed in a backyard cottage of a detached house rented by a couple in Parkhurst – the guy owns rents properties all over Joburg so I got some interesting tours (more on that later). He also owns an absurd number of vehicles and is kind of a hippy. Much to his wifes chagrin.


Parkhust 4th ave strip.



View from the roof of the house – you can climb up the external burglar bars to a flat portion of the roof where they set up some chairs and a small table. Pretty sweet.


So no word of a lie, Die Antwoord’s Joburg house is across the street (one with garage open to the right of the silver car). It’s hard to tell but Yolandi is actually in this picture. They mainly live in San Francisco but also have a house in Cape Town - when they aren’t here they rent it out to some of their dancers. It was one of the first things I was told by my Airbnb host but when I mentioned it to her husband over drinks he just rolled his eyes and was like ugh, those guys.


Fun reading.


Most of the residential properties have been converted to commercial businesses along here – lots of galleries and décor places.


And hipster stuff, of course.

Parktown North and Rosebank


Entering Parktown North across 1st ave on 6th st turning into 7th… ave. Yes the street numbers make no sense. First proper Jacaranda spotted though!
You can see that in Parkhurst the block sizes are much smaller. In the Parktown North section many of the lots have been subdivided into 2 or 3 houses deep


Couple older small apartment buildings and streetfront retail in the area too. I was really curious to try takeout from that Chinese place but decided that the possibility of disappointment wasn’t worth it! Who knows, it could have been good – Joburg has a significant Chinese population dating back to the early days of the city. I did end up eating Asian influenced food many of my meals, which was kinda odd.


I’ve always been curious as to what will actually happen to you if you touch one. I imagine it is just deterrence. I know most are linked directly to the security system to provide early warning.


These newspaper ads are everywhere and range from sensible to insane headlines. The press in South Africa is VERY free which is mostly good but leads to a lot of Fake News, to use the ridiculous phrase du jour. Also note sidewalk condition, which of everywhere I’ve been reminds me most of New Orleans.


Another small plaza with a streetfront restaurant. The dude in a red vest is a car guard who “guards” your car and helps you park… but mostly wants R5 from you (about 50 cents). Totally unofficial and mostly for street parking or unsecured lots. Around where I was most of them were pretty nice and would look out for people in the neighbourhood.


Approaching Rosebank.




There’s a condo and office boom all over the Northern Suburbs right now.



Another site cleared and ready for construction.


The first Starbucks opened in SA last year with 2 locations – one in Rosebank and the other in the brand new disgustingly large Mall of Africa up in North Rand. People were freaking out and lining up for hours…. The local independent coffee places are MUCH better and the national South African chain Mugg and Bean was more or less on par…


The mall is a mix of a traditional indoor mall and outdoor promenades – it’s actually pretty nice for a place that’s predominantly chains. A fair amount of pedestrian traffic as it’s very secure, yet unlike some other malls has full pedestrian access to surrounding streets and is well integrated into the street grid.




Condo ads are pretty much the same everywhere. The penthouses would be about $600k USD which isn’t exactly cheap considering.



Keyes Art Mile which is a new gallery and studio/office space with some streetfront cafes and bars. It’s at the corner of Rosebank a ways from the main commercial area but the space seems pretty successful. Helps that everyone drives…




View from the public space at the top – looking west across the northern suburbs. The first few days I was there were extremely windy and the slight haze is actually dust from the Veldt. Thankfully most areas in the city are shielded by trees but when you got up high it was very noticeable. Also made for an extremely terrifying landing, which is already not super fun because of the altitude of the city (1,750 metres or almost 6,000 ft).



One of those moments when you feel like it could very easily pass for a North American or Australian city.


Hillbrow, Yeoville and Observatory, with bonus downtown

As I mentioned earlier one of my Airbnb host (Karl) owns a fair amount of property in the city, which I assumed meant investment houses or condos. Turns out he actually owns a number of apartment buildings in the inner city… including a largish building in one of Africa’s most infamous neighbourhoods – Hillbrow. Also a smaller art deco building in nearby Yeoville, which is another fairly notorious neighbourhood. He usually buys hijacked buildings cheap and waits out the few years to get the occupants out through legal means, then fixes them up and rents out to tenants through a property management company. The property market in the inner city is extremely tight despite the decay and it’s much, much cheaper to buy a dilapidated building and renovate than one that’s ready to go. Now at face value this sounds like it has the potential to be predatory – displacing poor residents in constrained market and whatnot. But the thing about hijackers is that they tend to be pretty greedy - not only letting buildings fall apart with zero maintenance (sometimes with no water or electricity), but they don’t rent them out cheap! Even after fixing up the buildings he was saying the rent is on par or sometimes even less than under hijackers. Granted he was not making luxury apartments but functional spaces with regular maintenance and good security (including fingerprint scans!).
Anyways he had some reno work to check up on so took me down and gave me a tour of some of his buildings and the area in general. It’s interesting because there are many people who refuse to go near any of these areas and are convinced that you’ll be mugged, or worse. Similarly lots of older white South Africans pine for the “good old days” when Hillbrow was one of Africa’s hippest areas with tons of bars and restaurants. Apparently the area was mostly European expats and immigrants and despite being classified as white ended up being pretty multi-racial by the mid 80s. There were simply too many apartment buildings built on spec (during one of the gold booms) to rent out to whites only so landlords began to flout the law. The area did go through some very rough times and is still pretty dangerous, but it’s also still extremely vibrant. There still are a ton of bars and restaurants – just with a different clientele. It’s also still mostly immigrants and expats – just from places like Nigeria and the Congo instead of England or Sweden. I asked Karl about the area and safety and he said while he probably wouldn’t walk alone at night it’s fine and he’s never really had any issues. Like many things in South Africa it’s more that “whitey is just too scared to go” (actual quote).


Back courtyard of his building – the one of the left is currently hijacked.


View from the rooftop looking north.


And west into the city – I also took some pictures of the interior but they didn’t turn out. Got to go into some actual units and they are pretty tiny (about 400 sq ft), which would be fine for a single person but most are occupied by a family. Given the space constraints he limits tenancy to 2 adults and 2 children under 15 to prevent overcrowding. Also the bathrooms are communal and in the hall, although they are private rooms and there is one for each unit on the floor.


Street level in Hillbrow – from the car unfortunately. We’re only 4km from Rosebank but it’s a world of difference.


Abel Road – despite being a poor area the city does a decent job maintaining the historic trees on this street. It’s actually pretty impressive.


View from Yeoville Hill, which has been featured in pretty much any movie or documentary about South Africa / Johannesburg. It was formerly a vacant lot open to the public but was closed off by security when we went as it’s been acquired by a developer. We had to talk our way on by faking a phone call to the property owner in front of a security guard, which is hilarious and also worth it.




There are still some nicer houses on the ridge right behind where the previous were taken. Karl owns his “dream house” there which is rented out to one person for upkeep, but would love to move into once his kids grow up.



Another formerly hijacked building, now in Yeoville. The original art deco features are mostly intact but it’s now fenced off by ugly palisade fencing and barbed wire for security reasons. Still better than the alternative! Yeoville’s another poor inner city neighbourhood but less dense than Hillbrow – it’s a mix of smaller apartment buildings and some single family homes.




Immediately to the east of Yeoville is the wealthier neighbourhood of Observatory. The lot sizes are much larger, it’s greener and also has controlled access with entrance roads closed off or with manned security booms and CCTV. Pedestrians are allowed to go through though.


We visited another house here which is rented out to a group of 30 something hippies – they fixed up the place completely and restored it to a classic 1920s looking Joburg house. The backyard slopes up to access to another ridge overlooking downtown. I noticed that they had CCTV cameras pointed at the secured back entrance – criminals have been known to use the ridge as transit…


The view is incredible – that’s the working class neighbourhood of Bezuidenhout Valley in the foreground, which for the life of me I can’t pronounce.



Driving into downtown to grab a drink at the end of the day.


There’s a big sanctioned graffiti area under the elevated freeway at the edge of Newtown, which is a slowly gentrifying area.




Outside 1 Fox, which houses a concert venue, a bunch of arts studios, a farmers market and a new brewery we were there to check out.



Huge space and pretty decent beer! The only brewery in the country that can nail a proper IPA is Devil’s Peak in Cape Town though… but they have brewed with modern Euro breweries like Mikkeller. I think these guys will be good in a year or two though (next time I’m there…).

Illovo and Linden
Neighbourhoods on opposite sides of where I was staying I went for lunch in Illovo and then for a walk and some drinks in Linden. Both in the northern suburbs the former is a primarily high density middle class apartment neighbourhood, and the latter is more suburban. Linden was originally pretty working class but has been gentrifying quickly due to its location. Lots of new restaurants and bars on the sort of car oriented 1950s retail strips.



Joburg style dim sum – not what I was expecting but pretty tasty.


The primary intersection in Illovo – a weird mix of streetside patios and car oriented infrastructure.



Typical side street in the area – the apartment entrances are a bit more inviting than walls you find in other areas.


Took an uber over to Linden to walk around a bit and hit up a craft beer bar that looked good. This is on the 4th ave retail strip which lasts a few blocks with another similar strip a block north on third. The blocks are very large though!
1950s vibes are pretty strong in the buildings here.





Good beer selection with a bunch of mostly new South African breweries that have popped up in the last few years!





Back home in Parkhurst.

Westcliff and 44 Stanley

Westcliff is an old wealthy suburb on a hill overlooking both downtown and the Northern Suburbs, with some namesake cliffs. There are still a couple original mansions of the Randlords in the southern part of the suburb and a bunch of regular mansions in general. I found out about a walking trail called the Westcliff steps that goes through the area and right up the hill and checked it out.



The streets are lined with Jacaranda’s which were almost, but not quite, in full bloom.




The steps themselves – on weekends they are apparently packed with runners.



At the top with the CBD in the distance. The entrance to the Ridge School is on the right, which is one of Joburg’s more prestigious private schools.



Walking back down the other side en route to the nearby 44 Stanley commercial development to do some shopping and grab a beer.


At a print shop / gallery – there’s a running theme of anti-colonial art in South Africa (and Tin Tin as a representation is often used). I can see some SSP forumers rolling their eyes already!


Stanley Beer Garden.


One of the better beers I had in SA, and an extremely interesting book that was in the Airbnb.

Maboneng Arts District

I revisited Maboneng again on this trip and the revitalization of the area seems to have continued at an even increased clip. Plenty of new renovated buildings and ever expanding boundaries. I was there mainly to meet up with a cycling advocacy group that does bike rides in the inner city every Thursday evening – they meet at 7, ride somewhere for food and a few drinks then back into Maboneng. We biked about 12km into Melville which included some brutal hills and then back. Luckily they rent bikes out as I obviously didn’t have my own, but it’s also a LOT harder to ride than my bike at home…






A container complex that was still under construction when I last visited – it now contains a popular bar, a café and some clothing shops.




Once it got dark it was too hard to get any good pics on my phone, unfortunately!


Back in the Northern Suburbs, Greenside is adjacent to Parkhurst and separated by the small Braamfontein Spruit. It’s sort of similar although a bit newer. There’s a small commercial area that has some higher density buildings and plenty of bars and restaurants. I just went for a walk and had lunch – meant to make it back here for an evening but ran out of time.



Look up at any major corner in any decently nice area and you’ll see something like this.


Showing its namesake.



Even though this is just a small location, Woolworth’s is awesome. While primarily a clothing and home goods store, the food selection is awesome and they have great prepared stuff as well.



More Asian food! These were some of the best boa I’ve had though.


The aforementioned Braamfontein Spruit. As a whole Joburg turns its back on the few streams and rivers that exist in the metro area. They are viewed more as an easy access for criminals to get into backyards than an asset – most “riverfront” houses will have walls facing the river or be elevated such that access would be very difficult. That being said there is a nice park just north of this that has a walking / cycling trail along the river that is increasingly used, at least in this area.

Central Business District

I decided to book a Friday night inner city pub / bar tour based out of a new redevelopment on the edge of downtown. Turns out that I was the only one who booked for that night so it was just me and the “guide” (using this term loosely). He was very cool though and we ended up just bar hopping with a friend of his until midnight or so. I paid for drinks but that’s not exactly a big expense there. Definitely got to see some places I never would have otherwise and we’ve kept in touch since – it’s a much different vibe than going out in the Northern Suburbs but everywhere seemed very accepting of anyone. We mostly went to newish places patroned by the new black professional class but also a really old school Afrikaaner owned bar which was… interesting.



Ghandi square, which is close to the centre of downtown and the main bus transit hub for the area. It was pretty dilapidated post-apartheid and transformed starting in the early 2000s primarily by a single developer (who owns all the surrounding buildings). As part of the deal the streets were closed off to car traffic and made pedestrian / transit only. It’s clean and safe and seems to be a good post work drink spot before catching a bus home.

Of interesting note was a fair number of white professionals waiting for buses as well – this is something that seemed much more noticeable than my last visit. It could have a lot to do with an increased trust in government with the election of the Democratic Alliance party.



Looking out over the square from a patio drink.




The square’s namesake – apparently one of only a few Ghandi statues that features him dressed in South African lawyer’s robes. His original Johannesburg office was in one of the buildings overlooking the square.





There’s a fair amount of public art dedicated to the city’s mining heritage outside corporate offices along Main St, which has been transformed into a narrow traffic-calmed brick street https://goo.gl/maps/yb7SfkCWr322


The downtown built heritage is actually very impressive and on par with many large North American cities. Definitely a colonial vibe to the architecture – it’s not uncommon to see carved lions or elephants on buildings.


We managed to get into the Rand club which is some real old school South African opulence when it’s open (not always for some reason). You can order drinks from the bar and walk around anywhere around the lobby and onto the second floor balconies. I took a bunch of pics of the interior but it was dark and they didn’t turn out well. Also the bartender gave us shots so that probably didn’t help!

That’s looking across to a formerly abandoned building where the first two floors have been bought and renovated by renowned SA fashion designer David Tlale. We got to see him and his entourage leaving the building, hence some of the fancy cars. My guide was freaking out as he loves his stuff and also that he chose to locate in the inner city as opposed to the suburbs.


The Rea Veya BRT is on the next street up and this was the first time I got to see it in rush hour full swing – it seemed very frequent and well used which is good to see. Expansion to the northern suburbs has been in the pipeline for a while but construction is finally almost done.



Downtown after dark! I should be dead right now, apparently. I had a lot of pics after this one but they are all pretty blurry, for some strange reason…


This was one of my favourite areas last time I was in Joburg, so I had to go back of course. Since it’s not my kind of nightlife vibe going solo I went during the day on Saturday when Neighbourgoods market is going on. Extremely vibey, as a South African would say.






Neighbourgoods Market housed in a disused parking garage – mostly stalls with food and lots of alcohol.


Looking down on the previous street party – they don’t actually shut down any streets or anything so it’s pretty fun trying to drive through.




I did a series of Instagram stories on cars parked in bike lanes – it was not hard to find content.



South Point is a developer of student housing. There is a LOT of student housing in the area, including a massive complex directly behind where this photo was taken.




Decided that instead of taking an uber back I would walk to Park Station to take the Gautrain up to Sandton. The station is less than 1km away but the vibe changes immediately a block or two from the more gentrified parts of Braam. Not dangerous I think but the streets were much emptier and more visible decay. It’s changing quickly though and at least 2 vacant office buildings are being converted into apartments / condos. The station itself is very nice and in good shape – the Gautrain and associated buses are separated from the main Metrorail / interurban train station. Although that portion is pretty nice too, albeit VERY crowded at times.



Inside the station itself – I think there was a soccer game going on somewhere as lots of jerseys and scarves were happening.


The Gautrain itself! It’s clean and fast and pretty much what you’d expect from a modern train system. Unfortunately the frequency into Park Station downtown isn’t great (10-15 mins) as there’s only one tunnel bore south of Rosebank station with the rest of the system being dual tracked. I imagine it gets pretty crowded at rush hour as the trains seem designed for comfort over capacity.


I spent a bit more time exploring Sandton on this trip, which for those unfamiliar is a wealthy suburb north of downtown (still in city limits) that has transformed into the secondary business node in Jonanesburg, if not arguably primary. It started to explode before Apartheid ended as strict segregation rules began to be ignored in the inner city and culminated with the move of the Johannesburg stock exchange in 2000. It’s currently home to a gigantic mall, most of the multinational headquarters in the city as well as one of SA’s big 4 banks. However, the other 3 banks as well as the traditional mining headquarters are still located in downtown Joburg (which has been revitalizing significantly as well). Colloquially Sandton is often referred to as “Africa’s richest square mile” and often the butt of jokes about the nouveau riche. The suburbs directly surrounding the business area have actually gone from entirely white to a mix of black, white and Asian as wealthy African’s have moved in post-Apartheid.

Anyways there’s an insane amount of construction of both office and residential high rises. Nothing too tall as most are commercial midrises, but a new 47 storey condo is under construction and the tallest built in South Africa since the 1980s. The area is very car oriented but new developments are forced to put more pedestrian friendly features in and some bike lanes have been installed. There’s also a Gautrain station and the Rea Veya bus extension is (finally) almost complete after a very slow construction period.




Right outside the station, which is kinda funny since this is easily one of the safest areas in the city. Security is everywhere.



Parking lot closed off for new upcoming development.


Nelson Mandela Square with attached mixed use weird post-modern ugly vibe.







[IM G]https://i.imgur.com/R0BSb5t.jpg[/IMG]

Certain portions were actually more pedestrian friendly than I anticipated, and despite the photo were actually decently trafficked even on a Saturday.



Even though it wasn’t Summer yet thunder clouds were beginning to form for the torrential downpours that happen almost every afternoon when it’s hot.


The aforementioned new condo under construction. It isn’t too attractive and has that PoMo vibe going on – weird contrast to the commercial architecture which is actually pretty good.




I assume this means car theft??


Andddd time to go – took Ethiopian airlines back again which was pretty good albeit farrrrr too long.



Till next time!!

Last edited by niwell; Yesterday at 5:37 AM.
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Old Posted Feb 9, 2018, 9:14 PM
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I remember your tour from last time and thoroughly enjoyed it; this time around is no different.

Your craft beer interludes are making me thirsty on this Friday afternoon.

Thank you.
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Old Posted Feb 12, 2018, 3:30 AM
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Excellent tour!
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Old Posted Feb 12, 2018, 4:23 AM
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Enjoyed watching the photos. Great set.
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Old Posted Feb 12, 2018, 9:53 AM
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Nice, it's rare to see Johannesburg here, looks very western. But all the crime alerts make you feel unsafe!
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Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 4:09 AM
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xzmattzx xzmattzx is offline
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Nice pictures! It was interesting to follow along on your trip. I was most interested in seeing the integration following apartheid, and in seeing the African countryside. For some reason, I figured Johannesburg had some more gleaming, glass postmodern skyscrapers, like a city like Houston. I was surprised to see the buildings from the midcentury all over.

How much did the roundtrip flight cost? Where did you depart from (YYZ, I'm assuming), where did you arrive, and where did you connect?
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Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 2:54 PM
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Centropolis Centropolis is offline
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this is great!

i looked this up...in SA parlance i think its when the signal from your key fob is blocked and your car doesn't lock?
now i know what a tv dinner feels like.

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Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 6:22 PM
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niwell niwell is offline
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Thanks for the comments!!!

Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
Nice pictures! It was interesting to follow along on your trip. I was most interested in seeing the integration following apartheid, and in seeing the African countryside. For some reason, I figured Johannesburg had some more gleaming, glass postmodern skyscrapers, like a city like Houston. I was surprised to see the buildings from the midcentury all over.

Downtown hasn't seen too much construction since the 80s, hence the lack of new flashy towers. At the time there was way too much office space built on spec which was only exacerbated by the business flight to Sandton in the early 90s. The banks that stayed have built some new low to midrise complexes to compliment the older skyscrapers, which in turn often have plans for conversion into mixed use complexes.

ABSA built this new building in 2010 or so and is in the process of renovating the rest of their buildings in the precint (and turning the tallest one into primarily residential): https://goo.gl/maps/jou7RcXc6T22

Standard Bank built this newish complex: https://goo.gl/maps/c7eFPpqFBEk

And FNB this one: https://goo.gl/maps/bJyA5jsaFDr

Sandton City is pretty flashy but none of the office complexes are too tall - generally peaking at around 20 storeys for the newer ones. Further north a new commercial node is emerging around the absolutely massive mall of Africa and PwC built a new tower for their African HQ that fits the bill a bit better: http://marketplace.infrastructurepho...3_11_34_57.jpg

The area is extremely suburban and is about halfway between Joburg and Pretoria, which are increasingly connected by urban growth: https://goo.gl/maps/9weFSKhED1B2

Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
How much did the roundtrip flight cost? Where did you depart from (YYZ, I'm assuming), where did you arrive, and where did you connect?

Roundtrip it cost about $1050 Cdn, or about $700 USD, which seemed extremely cheap. I've paid almost that much to travel from Toronto to Calgary....

On the way there I went YYZ to Adis Ababa (13 hrs) and then Adis to Jobug (6 hours). On the way back it was JHB-Adis-Dublin-YYZ, although the Dublin stop was for refueling only. The longer legs of both trips were on a brand new 787 too.
Check out my pics of Johannesburg
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Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 6:28 PM
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niwell niwell is offline
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Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post
i looked this up...in SA parlance i think its when the signal from your key fob is blocked and your car doesn't lock?

Interesting! And makes a lot of sense - both crime and crime prevention are taking an increasingly high tech approach. For instance, many (most?) cars have tracking devices on them in case they are stolen. Since this mostly happens at night, every morning you can hear helicopters over the city tracking the location of stolen cars so they can dispatch private security teams to retrieve them.

CCTV networks are also employing tracking software to track vehicles and people through areas in real time. That one is kinda scary, but is touted as a feature (which is true in the UK too, I suppose).
Check out my pics of Johannesburg
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Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 7:02 PM
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SA cities are so interesting me aesthetically. Don't want to offend anyone, but they sort of look like broken down, dysfunctional versions of what Australia has.

Also interesting is how certain areas appear hyper dense but then abruptly punctuated by auto-centric, almost American style (apparent in the white majority areas) suburbs and motorways. There really seems to be no other country on the planet that offers two such distinct worlds in that way SA does; it's almost like two separate countries operating within the same border.
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Last edited by destroycreate; Feb 13, 2018 at 7:15 PM.
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Old Posted Feb 14, 2018, 10:18 PM
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Worth it just for Yolandi's butt in the distance.

Otherwise the rest was still a good tour though.
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Old Posted Feb 16, 2018, 8:48 PM
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Wonderful tour and narrative, thanks.

I have been meaning to get to SA.
"The destructive effects of automobiles are much less a cause than a symptom of our incompetence at city building" - Jane Jacobs 1961ish

Wake me up when I can see skyscrapers
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Old Posted Yesterday, 5:39 AM
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niwell niwell is offline
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Originally Posted by destroycreate View Post
SA cities are so interesting me aesthetically. Don't want to offend anyone, but they sort of look like broken down, dysfunctional versions of what Australia has.

Also interesting is how certain areas appear hyper dense but then abruptly punctuated by auto-centric, almost American style (apparent in the white majority areas) suburbs and motorways. There really seems to be no other country on the planet that offers two such distinct worlds in that way SA does; it's almost like two separate countries operating within the same border.

Yeah I think SA is really unique in the world that it does this. It's part of the reason I love it, even though this is kind of a bad thing. I've been to a number of countries and SA is simultaneously the most familiar and unique!
Check out my pics of Johannesburg
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Old Posted Yesterday, 6:10 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Philadelphia Metro (Norristown, PA)
Posts: 9,944
Great pics and loving the beer!
Right before your eyes you're victimized, guys, that's the world of today, and it ain't civilized...
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Old Posted Yesterday, 9:27 PM
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SpongeG SpongeG is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Coquitlam/Rainbow Lake
Posts: 30,323
pretty much all my extended family lives in South Africa. Most of them have had their cars stolen or been robbed while waiting at a traffic light. I haven't been since 2002, but downtown was a place to avoid at that time. I remember going downtown as a kid, it was really beautiful, there was a mall and lots of department stores.

Have you gone anywhere else in SA? Durban was my fave place, its so beautiful and tropical.
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Old Posted Today, 8:03 AM
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bobdreamz bobdreamz is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Miami/Orlando, FL.
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Good thread and pics but these cities aren't very attractive.
Thanks for posting.
Miami : 40 Skyscrapers over 500 + ft. | 152 + meters | 16 U/C !
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