For those lucky enough to have been in Johannesburg over the festive season, you would have had the joy of driving far and wide to find an eatery open on Christmas Eve. The nice bit about this was that there was very little traffic as many “Joburgians” had left the bright lights for the crowded beaches of KZN and the Cape.
But during the day in Joburg, those left to tend the lights, the potholes and to keep the shops reasonably busy would have enjoyed the many attractions Egoli has to offer … and here are just a few of them:
- Brightwater Commons – a great place to visit, especially if you have children to entertain! This is the site of the old “Randburg Waterfront” … there is still some water there, stocked with particularly beautiful Egyptian Geese and their goslings, but the whole area is a “laager” of shops, restaurants and activities for the whole family to engage in. Adventure Golf, Bowling, Laser Quest, pool, skateboarding, rides, jumping castles etc etc. Sure you pay for these activities, but having them all in one place, with the variety and safe environment it is easy to sit and watch the kids while enjoying some food or beverage in any one of the many restaurants.
- Bonsai Nursery in Midrand – an amazing place with thousands of bonsai plants and also a superb collection of orchids. The owner is very helpful and full of advice, too. These wonderful plants also make very unique gifts, and many of them won’t break the bank. This nursery also fascinated children aged from 6 to 16 for the hour we were there.
- Crocodile and Reptile Park – this was the alternative to visiting the Lion Park which is exorbitantly priced! We rocked up, all 9 of us, and the entrance fee was R150 each, then an extra R30 if we wanted to actually see any lions … but if we wanted a “tour” then we would have been charged R700 per head. It might NOT be regarded as expensive if you’re on holiday from the UK and have £’s to spend, but for locals, this is just ridiculous! So we went off to the Croc Park and it was great, a very instructional tour and the opportunity to hold snakes, baby crocs and hissing cockroaches and more. There is also a nice lapa where you can relax and enjoy some drinks or snacks. The kids and adults loved it!
- Chinese Restaurant & Sushi Bar – off Jan Smuts Avenue near Randburg, this is one of the units in the Chinese Shopping Mall. What wonderful food! Authentic Chinese and Thai food, served with friendliness and efficiency. The kids all enjoyed the experience, too.
- Trumps Restaurant, Nelson Mandela Square – this was one of the few eating places open on Christmas Eve! We were told, at 6pm that we had to be seated by 7:00pm as the kitchen was closing at 8:00 … we rushed through and got there at 6:45 … and boy were we impressed! The place was busy, comfortable and we were made very welcome. There was no pressure to order (I think they decided to keep the kitchen open as there were still people coming in at 9 and ordering …) and the menu is tops! The food was generous, very tasty, well presented and great value for money. My prego steak roll with onion rings, vegetables and chips was huge and fantastic value at R75.00. The youngest child and the ladies left with “doggy bags” but all in all a must re-visit!
- There are many other things the kids were able to do … ice skating for hours in Midrand, attending the ice show at Monte Casino, visiting the zoo and mooching around malls only Cape Town could dream of … they say that travel broadens the horizons, even a trip to Joburg can broaden a Platteland horizon!
So after Gill, Elaine and Barbie at Africa Places find you the perfect place in a resort near Johannesburg, don’t forget that with careful planning, there is lots to see and do there too!
PS – for those, like me who left their laptop at home and need to connect to the internet and want to use computer facilities … go to PostNet in Rivonia, on Rivonia Boulevard. You won’t be disappointed by the friendly staff, the modern facilities and the personal service.