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Safety in Johannesburg

Arlington...
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Safety in Johannesburg

I am an older woman traveling alone, and I will be in Johannesburg for two days before my organized tour begins from there. Any suggestions for a hotel that would be accessible to the main attractions, in a safe neighborhood with restaurants nearby, and not terribly expensive? I also would like to hire a private guide for at least one day for a general tour of the city and Soweto. I'd be willing to consider a well-organized group day tour, but generally I like to choose my itinerary. Which are the good companies that do organized city tours? On the second day I'd like to spend time independently seeing some of the main museums. Will this be safe? I would probably use taxis instead of public transportation.

Johannesburg, South...
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1. Re: Safety in Johannesburg

On the question of safety;

would you visit Baltimore, or Detroit, or New Orleans, or St. Louis ....? all more dangerous than Johannesburg ... look at this website.:

www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php…

As far as hotels are concerned, I would suggest a hotel, or Lodge, in the Rosebank/Parktown North area ( Google is your friend)

Just about any of the many tour companies can do either a group, or a private tour of Johannesburg/Soweto. (again, Google will help)

Group tours are a little cheaper than private tours, but are not as flexible. Taxis are much more expensive than working with a tour company.

Enjoy your visit

Regards

Gavin

Owner: Serval Tours & Transfers

Edited: 06 December 2012, 05:58
South Africa
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2. Re: Safety in Johannesburg

Well the city is as safe as other big cities in the world. Use this company for your tour www.firelighttours.co.za . We use them all the time!

It is a big city so all the attractions are not concetrated in one place, but around the city. Yes ask hour hotel for a safe taxi. And no not much public transport is here. A bit more in the city.

You can sray in Sandton, were there are much hotels and restaurants and mall. But perhaps too expensive. Look at TA for this. Or stay a little outside the city in a quiet place. I can recommend www.soulfusion.co.za, with good hosts Sanda and Peter. Peter can take you to all the places to like to see too, if you like, heis a good guid.

Have fun

Pretoria, South...
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3. Re: Safety in Johannesburg

Consider a b&b / guesthouse rather than a conventional hotel: generally less expensive and more personal. Lots of reviews on TA, and you could also look at a site like www.safarinow.com . Taking Rosebank as a hub, any areas radiating off that hub would be safe and leafy. (As are plenty of other areas in Jhb).

Randburg, Gauteng...
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4. Re: Safety in Johannesburg

Johannesburg does not really have many museums which are on the tourist track. They are small and unlike museums in big cities like London. So i suggest you take a tour, then you can visit Nelson Mandela Museum in Soweto, take in the sights in Soweto (maybe lunch in a traditional African shebeen - Wandies) and Apartheid Museum in one day. I suggest you stay in Sandton, try Balalaika Hotel, City Lodge Katherine Street, Holiday Inn Sandton, Garden Court, on West Street. These are all located close to Nelson Mandela Square where you can choose from many different restaurants and fast food to eat. It is also easier for you, you take the Gautrain to Sandton and just one block you can walk to most of the places i recommend. Then i suggest you use a tour operator for your tours - it is safer and a better experience. You are also central if you stay in Sandton and it is a very safe area to walk around. Unfortunately we do not really have good public transportation like Europe. So you have to make use of cars. I have suggested the Gautrain which is already a cheaper option to get to your hotel. You say you would like to choose your itinerary, then it is better to book with a tour operator who does private tours, because scheduled tours are not flexible. You can then choose where you would like to go, and how much time you want to spend at each destination. You will also be with a Registered Tourist Guide who can suggest other interesting places to visit and good restaurants to eat.

Lyn - Owner - Thorntree Tours and Safaris

Edited: 06 December 2012, 07:33
Arlington...
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5. Re: Safety in Johannesburg

Thanks to all of you so far who have responded with so many good suggestions. Just knowing which of the neighborhoods to start with in looking for a hotel is tremendously helpful. A couple of "add-on" questions: I think I read somewhere on TA that the art museum in J/burg is better than the one in Cape Town? Any opinions on that? Also, since I am a retired art historian, I will also be interested in the contemporary art scene in J/burg. I won't have a lot of time, but I'm wondering if anyone might suggest a neighborhood where contemporary art galleries are concentrated, or, alternatively, two or three galleries that I should make a special effort to get to. (If I decide to work these into my visit, I'm sure I'll need to book a flexible private tour, which would be fine)

Johannesburg, South...
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6. Re: Safety in Johannesburg

I suggest that you stay in Rosebank. There is a lot to do in this area. Rosebank has got a lot of art galleries most of them walking distance from each other.

Goodman gallery

Isis gallery

Everard Read gallery

Circa on Jellicoe gallery

You can watch a movie at Rosebank Nouveau cinema.

Agnes

Felleng tours

Pretoria, South...
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7. Re: Safety in Johannesburg

There's a long list of art galleries - almost too long - on www.southafrica.info -> Travelling to South Africa -> Cultural Experiences. I was also going to suggest the galleries in the Rosebank area; then there's Arts on Main in a regenerated part of the inner city. The Jhb Art Gallery (the one you heard about) is in what I suspect is still a pretty dodgy part of the inner city; but people go there and they have all sorts of activities so it must be doable and anyway your tour guide would know.

Links to all these galleries' websites on that southafrica.info page.

Johannesburg, South...
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8. Re: Safety in Johannesburg

The Jhb Art Gallery is like you said not in the best part of the city and even tour guides must becareful where they take their clients.

I still think that Rosebank on itself has more than enough galleries to choose from.

Johannesburg, South...
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9. Re: Safety in Johannesburg

Then there is the art exhibition in the Constitutional court, and, of course Wits University Art Gallery, as well as the Bushman rock art, in the Origins centre

Randburg, Gauteng...
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10. Re: Safety in Johannesburg

I recently took a client from New York to the new gallery in Braamfontein which opened in May this year. The Wits Art Museum has over 9,000 pieces and 3 floors of display. However, not all the pieces are displayed at one time. It has artwork, and African artefacts. Unfortunately the Johannesburg Art Gallery is situated in the middle of a taxi rank, so is deemed unsafe, but also the Museum, whilst it has Picasso, Renoir and famous South AFrican artists, have removed these to a place of safety, so not on display. I took a client to the Arts on Main, and was very disappointed, there was nothing there to speak of. The Everard Read Gallery in Rosebank, always have a great display, sometimes showcases a few artists work. Also if you time it right, once a month, the Artists under the Sun have a huge display close to Rosebank at the Zoo Lake - lovely display of artists from AFrican to contemporary. If you would like to stay in Rosebank,which is an older area, but experiencing a huge facelift, i can recommend the newly opened Monarch Hotel or Holiday Inn directly opposite the Gautrain station and next to the Rosebank Mall, which has many fine restaurants.

Lyn - Thorntree Tours and Safaris