One of my most favourite friends on the interwebs that became one of my most favourite friends in real life (that’s IRL in twitter speak), Rose Cohen, recently wrote this for one of her friends that moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg and asked that I send it on to Cazpi that also moved there recently. I’m still in mourning over losing my favourite photographer.
I’m sharing this with you partly because I thought it was hilarious and partly because I’m trying to encourage Rose to write more. Winkwinknudgenudge.
Places to go for picnics and walks
- Melville Koppies in… Melville! It’s rugged and you can do a fairly long hike, but it’s not dog friendly.
- Delta Park in Randburg (it’s huge and borders on the suburbs of Blairgowrie, Craighall Park and Victory Park). Very dog friendly but keep your dog on a lead. Jo’burg people are not as accepting of dogs off of leads as Cape Town people.
- Emmarentia Dam in Emmarentia Parts of it are dog friendly (again on leads) and it’ll be beautiful now – covered in spring daffodils and irises.
- The Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens (45 minute drive from where you live) in Roodepoort. It’s not dog friendly, but it’s lovely. Take a walk to the waterfall.
- Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in Heidelberg. No dogs allowed but awesome for cycling if you’re that way inclined (60 minute drive from where you live).
- Magalies Park in Magaliesberg (90 minutes from where you live) for retro 70s resort-type fun. There’s a golf course, tennis courts, four different swimming pools, braai facilities, restaurant, walks, pedal boats on the river. You get the picture.
Where to shop
- Sandton City OBVIOUSLY. There’s nothing of its kind in Cape Town. Wear comfortable walking shoes and have lunch in the Nelson Mandela Square. Memorise where you’ve parked. You will get lost.
- Rosebank There’s The Zone in Rosebank, Rosebank Mall and the awesome rooftop market on Sundays.
- Irene Village Market (45 minute drive from home) Save this one for a day outing on the weekends. Irene is a village north of Pretoria. The market is lovely and it takes place on the lawns near the Smuts museum, which is Jan Smuts’s old house – go inside, it’s kinda cool.
AVOID AT ALL COSTS – Shopping anywhere near Fourways, Northgate and surrounds. It’s mayhem traffic-wise and north of the North Pole.
Where to drink
The list is endless but you must try…
The Radium beer hall is in Orange Grove. It’s the oldest bar and grill in Joburg.
The Jolly Roger in Parkhurst is an awesomely skanky pub with a great crowd and greater pizzas. You can buy hash on the quiet if that’s your thing, but they carpeted all the surfaces in the toilets to get rid of the cokeheads.
Giles in Craighall Park (also not far from you). They have a wooden deck, which is great in the summer. It’s named after the cartoon and the tables are covered in cartoons. The founder was murdered by one of his psycho staff members 7 years ago – but we do not talk of it, ever.
How to make friends, explained in five easy steps
- Invite appealing strangers for a braai. Tell them to bring their own meat and drinks. It’s expected.
- You don’t have to worry about the weather. It’s always braai weather even in the rainy season, because it usually only rains for an hour at a time, and usually around 4pm.
- Do not, under any circumstances, cancel. Braai invitations are real and very serious. There’s none of this no-show or ‘see me when you see me’ Cape Town crap.
- Expect the braai to last at least 7 hours. Eating at midnight is entirely acceptable.
- Expect a return invitation for a braai at your guests’ house, a week later.
Tip: For reasons that will become apparent you should not make friends with people who live in Midrand.
Antifreeze to put in your car radiator in winter, especially if you park outside.
Bio Oilto slather on your skin from April to October. If you don’t you will turn into a scaly reptile.
Anti-static shampoo to wash your hair with from April to October. If you don’t you will look like you stuck your finger in a plug.
A Humidifierfor winter so you can breathe easy at night. If you get a cold, throw in a few drops of eucalyptus oil.
Pepper spray and/or taser– for safety reasons, duh!
What you can leave in Cape Town
Tumble dryer– you can always hang your washing outside in Joburg.
Clothes horse– you can always hang your washing outside in Joburg.
Frontline and other flea fumigators– your pets and house will not get fleas. Ever.
Your ability to parallel park – the roads are wide and there’s always parking.
Mineral water and water filters– Joburg is (apparently) one of the cleanest drinking water suppliers in the world.
Three essential secrets to survival
1. When (not if!) you encounter a Parktown Prawn (looks like a giant, mutant cricket) DO NOT NO MATTER WHAT spray it, whack it or chase it. Put a pot over it and wait until your husband comes home. Your husband must then dispose of the creature while avoiding the stinky black ink it will inevitably squirt at him. Tip: Don’t plant delicious monsters in your garden, the Parktown Prawn monsters love them.
2. Don’t drive like a doos. Joburgers are good, attentive, fast, sensible drivers. Don’t daydream, always indicate, change lanes with confidence and never, ever mess around at a traffic circle. It is not a four-way stop – give way to traffic on the right. That is all.
3. Put your handbag, laptop, gym bag etc. in the boot when you’re driving around, unless you want to be the victim of a smash and grab.
Don’t say ‘Molo’ to anyone. ‘Dumela’ is the word you’re looking for.
When to smoke a spliff
A. Before an electric thunderstorm. It’s nerve-wracking if you’re not used to it. Plus, you can lie on your back on the grass (far away from any trees please) stare up at the lightening and feel like you just met God.
B. After an electric thunderstorm, just before the flying ants arise. Yes, that’s right, flying ants. They awaken after rains at dusk. Close your windows to keep the buggers out, then go outside with a tennis racket and pretend you’re fighting an alien invasion.
DISCLAIMER: Information supplied by Rose Cohen who has not lived in Joburg for five years. She is not on the pinnacle point of Jozi cool anymore so use (or lose) these tips at your own peril. Should you ever find yourself in a little suburb called Hurlingham Manor, do not mention the Cohens who lived in Culemborg Crescent. It will not end well.