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Full disclosure: whether you have a handful or hours or half a day, a layover is not nearly enough time to see Joburg. But if it’s all you have, you’ll have to jam-pack it with activities – and that’s where we come in. Although locals have been known to spend half a day at a boozy brunch (no judgment!), we also know how to book it around town, so your itinerary doesn’t have to be up in the air.
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No time? No problem! OR Tambo International Airport is the busiest airport in Africa and has much to offer local and international travellers – think a choice of nine lounges to freshen up, duty-free shops and restaurants that range from fast food and bakeries to a craft beer pub. If you have enough time to venture out, jump on the Gautrain (it’s the recommended mode of transport as Jozi is notorious for congested traffic) and head to Park Station in Braamfontein and take a 15-minute walk or an Uber to Constitutional Hill. The awe-inspiring buildings, which reveal both the horrors of some of the darkest hours of 20th Century South Africa and the bright, optimistic future of our country, are sure to send chills down your spine! There are extensive permanent museum exhibits and a splendid art collection as well as regular art and photography exhibitions.
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During a longer layover, managing your time is a bit easier – just make sure you plan ahead and know exactly where you’re going to avoid any time wasting. Catch the Gautrain to downtown Jozi (no, we’re not talking about the hubs of Maboneng or Braam that we locals often limit ourselves to) where urban renewal is everywhere. There are many places to eat, drink and be merry here, some of our favourites being City Central food court where you can tuck into foods like the best burgers in town from Good to Go Eatery plus great cocktails at the mobile Jozi Cocktail Bar, the Joziburg Lane epicentre that runs daily inner-city walking tours starting and ending at this buzzing hangout, and the rad shopping spot that is Work Shop New Town, offering all kinds of locally produced clothes and décor items. If you have time for a leisurely meal, check out Urbanologi inside the Mad Giant brewery in the 1Fox Precinct for the best-tasting craft beer and Asian fusion tapas.
READ MORE ON DINING OUT HERE.
Half a day is the perfect amount of time to explore Soweto, the country’s most popular township and adrenaline-seekers’ capital. There are many significant sites to visit, but Soweto isn’t all about history and the legacy of apartheid – it’s also about food, culture and adventure. You can bungee jump from the Orlando Towers or free-fall inside one of them, go quad-biking or go-karting with Soweto Outdoor Adventures (also located on the grounds of the towers) and then kick back at the colourful shebeen-style restaurant, Chaf Pozi, for a drink and a shisa nyama feast.
If you travel from the airport using Uber, a metre taxi or a rented vehicle, make sure you set outside at least an hour travel time on both ends of the journey. If you opt to use the Gautrain, you’ll need to buy a non-refundable travel card, which you can top up at all stations.
Candice, our Digital Editor, is a coffee-drinking, fashion-obsessed lover of anything and everything lifestyle related. She’s also a self-confessed foodie, champagne enthusiast and devoted bargain hunter.