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Couple of hours in Johannesburg

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Tel Aviv, Israel
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Couple of hours in Johannesburg

We have a couple of hours in Johannesburg between the flights. We have about four - four and half hours net (totally it's 7.5 hours between the flights but we need time for arrival and departure procedures and check-in). It will be Wednesday and it the middle of the day (11:00 AM - 3:00 PM).

What is more recommended ?

We thought of going to Sandton with the train. Is there only big malls or also some beautiful squares ?

In additon we though to go to Randburg Waterfront. Is it recommended and how far by raxi from Sandton (and what is the taxi price to go there ) ?

Or maybe better taking the tour to ALexandra township from Sandton instead of Randburg Waterfront ? Is it safe and what tour guide recommended ? A saw in the internet bike tours there. Is itr only by bikes ?

Soweto we undestand is far and we will not have time to visit .

Tel Aviv, Israel
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1. Re: Couple of hours in Johannesburg

Or maybe Melville is more recommended ?

Is it far from Sandton and can be combined with Sandton or we have to go there by taxi from the airport ?

Is it beautiful and safe to walk during the day ?

Our options are :

Sandton and Randburg Waterfront

Sandton and Alexandra (with guide)

or

Sandton and Melville.

Waht is reccommended for 4-5 hours time

Johannesburg, South...
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2. Re: Couple of hours in Johannesburg

Take the high speed train (Gautrain) from the airport to Sandton.

There are shopping malls, Mandela Square, and lots of restaurants.

There is some interesting architecture in Sandton, but I would not call it "beautiful", as it is mainly a business centre.

If you only have about 4 hours in hand, then I think Sandton alone, will be the best idea.

There is no Randburg Waterfront any longer.

It is now the Brightwater commons. The artificial lake has gone.

The nautical theme of the Waterfront was replaced in favour of a Bohemian-cum-English commons feel, hence the new name; The Brightwater Commons.

The Brightwater Commons, is about 8 Km by road from Sandton ( you would need to take a taxi from Sandton).

Melville is about 12 km from Sandton, by road, and you will need to take a taxi from Sandton.

If you want to visit Alexandra. I suggest you arrange a booking with a registered, trained guide.

DO NOT accept any offer for an "Alex" tour, from just anybody or any taxi driver.

Make sure they are an accredited, trained, and REGISTERED tourist guide.

You can find a list of Gauteng guides, with contact numbers here:

http://www.guidessa.org/?q=site_user_list

It seems they have not updated for a while, but most of us are on the list.

Otherwise you could lay yourself open to misinformation, and perhaps other (legal) problems.

Regards Gavin

Johannesburg, South...
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3. Re: Couple of hours in Johannesburg

You've got two options with the Gautrain:

1. Take the train to Rosebank and catch a taxi to Melrose Arch which is about 3km away. Outdoor shopping area with paved streets and piazzo with restaurants and cafes.

2. Take train to Sandton and spend time in Sandton City, Nelson Mandela square is here.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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4. Re: Couple of hours in Johannesburg

Gavin and Miki,

Thank you for the answers

What has more behemian atmosfere in the day (outdoor shopping area, cafe , piazzas) : Brightwater Commons, Melville or Melrose Arch ?

Is it possible to combine Sandton and Melrose Arch by first going by taxi to Sandton by train and then to Melrose Arch by taxi or through Rosebank (train and taxi) ? Or it will be a big rush ?

What is more beautiful and safer - Sandton or Melrose Arch ? Normally I'm looking for an outdoor lively shopping area with cafe and piazzas, but I would also want to make some small shopping (clothes), maybe an hour.

Is it possible also in Melrose Arch or then best is to combine Sandton with Melrose Arch, Brightwater Commons or Melville . Or just Sandton - if it's big enough ?

What would you recommend ?

Pretoria, South...
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5. Re: Couple of hours in Johannesburg

Melrose Arch was created a few years ago when several blocks of suburbia were flattened and a gated business / hotel / shopping precinct developed. It has eating places, many outside , and some clothing chain stores. Equidistant from the Sandton and Rosebank Gautrain stations but there are buses from the Rosebank station. Central Sandton has Sandton City, a concrete 1970s mall - indoor eating places, clothing chains and a couple of designer-ish outlets. Reviews on TA. Grafted onto it is Mandela Square (initially called Michelangelo Square but I guess someone saw a marketing opportunity) - fancy shops, eating places, many on the "square", fake Tuscan architecture. Rosebank has one clothing chain and eating places, many outside in a pedestrian precinct. It also has a couple of shops in the Firs and the Zone (malls) selling local designs. Not curios though. Melville is an older (for Jhb) suburb with eating places and small shops in among the houses. No idea if you'd find a clothing shop there. Read the TA reviews: locals recognise that is become run-down but some visitors seem to find it a welcome change from our monolithic malls and anodyne commercial spaces. Definitely the most "bohemian" option. Possibly more complicated to get than the other options. I don't have any input on Alex tours.

Edited: 9:50 am, August 19, 2013
Johannesburg, South...
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6. Re: Couple of hours in Johannesburg

I suggest that you take the train to Sandton. Rosebank shopping mall is at the moment a lot of renovation going on and not so nice to shop. At the Nelson Mandela Square there are a lot of nice restaurants and then you have enough time to get back to the airport.

Paris, France
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7. Re: Couple of hours in Johannesburg

Auntie - One thing you did not mention about the monolithic malls is the pure fascination for us, non South Africans, of people watching which gives an opportunity to learn a lot about the country and its people, and doing that in Sandton Mall is always on my list of things to do when in J'burg. So ratha why not consider doing just that for a couple of hours,

Edited: 11:04 am, August 19, 2013
Tel Aviv, Israel
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8. Re: Couple of hours in Johannesburg

I would like to than all the people that answered.

At the moment I'm thinking about Sandtion and Melrose Arch.

Maybe it's possible to combine both of them. Because normally we prefer outdoor malls and from the other side we understand that Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton is also beautiful.

We thought about doing the following:

- Go with the train to Sandton from the airport (Nelson Mandela Square ).

- From there go to Melrose Arch (by taxi or by train and bus) - what is cheaper and faster ? We are 3 persons ? What wil be the taxi price ?

-After visiting Melrose Arch - return to the airport by bus and ttain or taxi (what is better) ?

Does Melrose Arch has a big pedestrian area ?

Are the shops there similar to Sandton ?

Thank you for the advices

Tel Aviv, Israel
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9. Re: Couple of hours in Johannesburg

I would like allso to ask about Montecasino.

It looks like an Italian village. Very beautiful .

Is it worth a visit on a weekday afternoon - just for looking, not gambling. Is it lively and safe at that time or not a lot of people?

I though maybe to combine Sandton visit with Montecasino (instead of Melrose Arch) - seems very close .

From Nelson Mandela square - do we have to Montecassion by taxi and how far is it ?

Thank you.

Pretoria, South...
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10. Re: Couple of hours in Johannesburg

Melrose Arch has a big pedestrian area and far fewer shops than Sandton. It's more of a leisure space. The chain stores at Melrose Arch are the same as the ones in Sandton. I don't find Mandela Square ugly but "beautiful" is IMO going way too far. Ditto Melrose Arch. You must imo take the gautrain from the airport to Sandton/Rosebank and back: any form of road transport will just have you sitting in traffic. See join.gautrain.co.za . No insight into taxi fares I'm afraid.

FP, I take your point about people-watching and I'd agree Sandton City and Mandela Square are better for that because of the broader cross-section of locals who frequent these malls.

sandtoncity.com , nelsonmandelasquare.co.za , melrosearch.co.za , thezoneatrosebank.co.za , thefirs.co.za ( these last two are to the best of my knowledge unaffected by the redevelopment of another mall in Rosebank).