On my second last day in South Africa, I wanted to take a tour to put every place I had seen into context.  Most people are familiar with ‘Citysightseeing’ Tours – this one had a good online reputation.

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There was just time to watch donuts being glazed…

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…and to pick up an iced coffee and one of those shiny donuts!

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There was no-one else willing to sit up top as it was warm – but the guide told me it would get breezy pretty quickly and feel very comfortable. With Factor 50 and a hat on my head, I was prepared for once!

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I was surprised by how green most of the Northern suburbs of Johannesburg turned out to be.

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One bad thing is that there is a LOT of rubbish.  As it’s so warm, people sit out underneath trees and in parks, but lots of people must have a tendency to leave drinks bottles and food wrappers behind them.

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This first part of the trip, from Rosebank (which is gorgeous) to Constitution Hill (site of a prison and court) went through a lot of suburbia.  The picture below was a war memorial that we just about couldn’t see.

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You get a sense of the size of the houses which are ALL (in the Northern suburbs) behind big walls, with security guards (armed) and barbed wire.

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This was St John’s school, a private school built for rich white boys.

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See the white minibus below? These ‘taxis’ are just everywhere in Johannesburg.  The guide explained that during apartheid, black citizens faced a lot of restrictions on public transport and that made it extra hard to get from places like Soweto into the city for their jobs.  These taxis sprang up as a cheap and unofficial parallel transport system.

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In the Central Business District (CBD), there is a lot of regrowth, but still a lot of shonky and abandoned properties.

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This is Constitution Hill, where I changed over from the Green Route (basically a feeder route) on to the Red Route (the main Joburg tour).

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There’s a lot of rubbish, often in bags.  Only later, I worked out that often these bags are someone’s recycling business – they collect plastic bottles, for example, and store them at each trash can until they get a chance to top up the bags or collect them.

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I just loved the rows of shops and the entrepreneurial spirit that was obvious nearly everywhere in Joburg.

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However, as this accidental picture shows (I was aiming for the market just beyond this chap), there are homeless people just everywhere.  Drink is a terrible master.

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Although the stock exchange and financial services businesses have moved out to Sandton, a lot of provincial government remains in the city.

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Finally, someone risked coming upstairs behind me! Yellow was his colour.

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Did I mention that chicken shops are ALL over the place! I love chicken but KFC is ubiquitous. No, I didn’t try it!

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Tekkie Town was a sneaker store that appeared in more of the working areas of the city.

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I spotted this advert for Immaculate College! I’m not sure if I’d like to study engineering there!

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So many wonderful hair salons! Often the doors were open and people having straight weaves sewn in were leaning back into the breeze during the lengthy sewing-in procedure!

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Property for sale! Just missed it!

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People took great pride in their cars – irrespective of their age or the odd ding.  Lots of car cleaning shops were around.

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Barbed wire just everywhere.

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This was coming into the Soweto area – it’s hard to believe that people live in tin homes, but they do and hold down jobs and ambition and handle education and health.

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This was the ‘middle-class suburb’ just outside Soweto – the guide explained.

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Next stop was the Apartheid Museum and Soweto, but that warrants a fresh post.  Have a great day!

 

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