Share this article

​​Now Australia bets for Jozi

Johannesburg has once again demonstrated why it is called the world-class African city.

The City of Gold, which has in recent months been showered with a string of accolades by a range of international organisations and publications, added another feather to its cap when it was named by a leading Australian newspaper as one of the world’s top 30 places to visit in 2015.

It shares the international limelight with exotic cities such as Hong Kong, Zurich in Switzerland, Dallas and Miami in the United States, Madrid in Spain, Seoul in South Korea, Tokyo in Japan, Istanbul in Turkey, and London and Bristol in the United Kingdom. The exclusive list – compiled by the highly regarded The Australian newspaper, one of only two of Australia’s national dailies – also includes countries such as Myanmar, Norway, Sri Lanka and Cuba.

Christine McCabe, who authored the report, was bowled over by just a few of Johannesburg’s exquisite tourist attractions, telling her readers: “If you think Jozi is just a fly-through, 12-hour stopover en route to safari, think again.”

McCabe writes glowingly about Joburg’s lifestyle, food, the hospitality industry and outdoor life. “Fashion, lively food markets, pop-up shops, galleries and a newly opened Four Seasons hotel represent a city hitting its stride. Well-heeled visitors can now escape the hustle and bustle of downtown in the leafy gardens of Johannesburg’s famous Westcliff hotel, given a $59-million makeover under the international luxury brand,” McCabe writes.

Other things that caught her fancy include the Johannesburg Zoo, sweeping city views, the Four Seasons hotel “tucked away in an old money suburb dominated by historic ‘Randlord’ mansions”, Moyo restaurant in Zoo Lake, Cape Malay dishes, fashion and jewellery along Fourth Avenue in Parkhurst and galleries along Jan Smuts Smuts Avenue in Rosebank.

The accolade came shortly after Maboneng Precinct – Johannesburg’s urban neighbourhood with great places to dine, drink, shop, live and be entertained – was hailed by two leading international publications. Travel + Leisure, a leading New York-based travel and tourism magazine with more than 4,8 million readers, voted it as one of the world’s coolest new tourist attractions to visit in 2015, sharing the honour with the Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China; Eiffel Tower in Paris, France; ICE Krakow Congress Centre in Krakow, Poland; and the Starry Night Bicycle Path in Nuenen, the Netherlands.

In the same week, UK’s leading daily newspaper, The Times, waxed lyrical about it, saying: “This is not the place for tourists looking for beautiful architecture and city walks. It’s for people prepared to uncover the diamonds in the rough – and when they do, they’ll find a city that is alive and kicking.”

Councillor Ruby Mathang, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, says it is pleasing to be showered with global accolades such as these. Joburg Tourism’s Laura Vercueil adds: “It’s thrilling for the Joburg Tourism team to see all these well-deserved accolades mounting. It is a resounding testament to the spirit of the people who love the city, people who live, work, invest and innovate in it. Hats off to Destination Joburg and everyone who makes it happen.”

Late last year, Good City Index named Johannesburg as the second-most inspiring city in the world – behind Hong Kong. It was also announced by the highly acclaimed MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index as the most visited city in Africa for the second year in a row in 2014.