TRAVEL GUIDE TO
Happy New Year loves! This is our first post in 2019 and I’m so thankful for this year already. Can you tell the excitement in my voice ? I’m sure you certainly can. Wishing you a great and fruitful 2019.
Let’s get on with why we are here, the travel guide. This guide was inspired by the questions i got from my Instagram dms asking about the visa process, where to stay in Joburg, what to do, where to eat, if it’s safe and a lot more. So i decided to put it all down for You. I’m glad i have been able to help some of you secure places to stay and drivers to contact already. For a more vivid feel of Sandton, Johannesburg , South Africa, watch my Travel Vlog on my YouTube channel JES ISCAH . [ Click on all highlighted writing to redirect you to the page]
SANTON, GAUTENG, JOHANNESBURG
Sandton – “Africa’s richest square mile”. We chose Sandton because we wanted to visit Johannesburg, South Africa since we both hadn’t been and have a memorable experience together. And i hear the best place to be in Joburg is Sandton which has the largest shopping centre in Africa, Sandton City. This trip was a birthday treat for me *smiling ridiculously* which started on the 1st day of January 2019, what a great way to start my year.
IS IT SAFE ? – Truth? I’ve heard so many stories. My siblings and a good friend, i like to call her because she’s very thoughtful, Afua Rida, gave me heads up on being careful because it can be dangerous. Not to scare you but my dad had a bad experience once with getting attacked at gun point but he still visits South Africa. You just have to be extra vigilant and aware of your surroundings. With that being said, I honestly didn’t have any bad experience of any sort. I had the best time and we even took a walk once at night around the Sandton city ; the city looked beautiful at night and felt amazing but freezing cold lol.
THE VISA PROCESS
In a bid to boost tourism to the country, South Africa is finalising a number of visa waiver agreements with other countries, allowing travellers to enter the country without a visa.
Citizens from countries which will now no longer require a visa to travel to SA include Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran, Lebanon, the State of Palestine, Belarus, Georgia and Cuba. These countries join the UK, US, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and Canada whose citizens already have visa waiver agreements.
PASSPORT : First of all make sure you have your passport. Check your expiration date to make sure you can still travel with it. Get your Yellow fever card because emigration will check it (very important).
TICKET: I used South African Airways which is a straight flight from Ghana to Johannesburg. Head to the South African Airways office located around the Opeibea (Millennium heights building, airport) and book a ticket (you can choose to only book and not buy the ticket (so you don’t waste money if you don’t get the visa) but you need the Flight itinerary to include in your documents to show the date you intend on travelling . South African Airways Ticket costed about $600
BOOKING WHERE TO STAY: We used an AIRBNB and it was the best decision we made. It felt like home! We had everything we needed; Wireless Internet, Pool (which we never used because it was quite cold) , Free parking on premises, secured apartment, Hair Dryer, Washer, TV with Netflix, Fridge, Kitchen, Ironing board and iron, Hot water running, etc. It costed us about $350. The apartment was at Madison Palms, which is located right in Sandton and literally at most 5minutes uber drive to everywhere we needed to go in Sandton. The host referred a driver who picked us up from the airport to the apartment (he charged about ZAR 350 for that). We basically stuck with him throughout our trip instead of taking ubers which would have costed us more money and also having a trusted person who knows the city made it safer for us. Make sure your Airbnb pick is a “Superhost” because the host was quick to respond, the place was very clean and the host was very helpful. Sim cards can be bought at the airport (there’s MTN & VODACON ) as well as changing of money can be done at the airport (its good and safe to have actual Rand/ZAR on you instead of using your visa cards)
You can also book a hotel. I’d recommend Sandton Skye but whatever the case may be, you need to include where you’ll be staying in your document.
This was our Airbnb Apartment . The cabinets had all the essentials; plates, bowls, mugs, glasses, cutlery, cooking essentials, bathroom essentials like towels, toilet papers, soap and bedroom essentials.
VISA REQUIREMENTS: Pick up your visa forms (next to Mango and wheat cantoments) , fill it out, attach a self introductory letter (if you’re self employed) and make sure to indicate in the letter the number of days or weeks you intend on staying. You also need to attach your bank statement (it mainly needs to show that you constantly deposit and withdraw money from this account). Applied for the visa 1 month before travel date, We filled out the forms ourselves (no agent used), submitted it and got an alert to come for the visas. We bought our tickets right after receiving the visas.
TOURIST SITES TO VISIT
Nelson Mandela Square, Lion Park should be on your list of to dos, Soweto; Apartheid Museum has so much history you need to see the place, Hector Pieterson Museum, Nelson Mandela House is another place that should be on your list , Desmond Tutu House, Soweto Theatre.
Orlando Towers is the best place to do something fun and challenging. We did viewing & Bungee jumping from the towers which is 100metres high, there’s rock climbing on the towers, there’s a falling activity you can try if you’re too scared to bungee jump and paintball etc. To view , Bungee Jump and photos/video came up to about was ZAR 760.
Nelson Mandela Square has so many restaurants and its literally a door away from the Sandton City Mall which is the largest shopping centre in Africa so obviously it has a lot of eating places, shopping stores , cinema, and a whole lot more in there. Also Sandton is a beautiful place to create content as a lifestyle, beauty or fashion content creator.
BEST RESTAURANTS / FOOD JOINTS
I’ll list a few of my favourites; Hard rock cafe, The Codfather restaurant, Sandton Sun, San Deck Bar & Restaurant , Papas restaurant, the Big mouth restaurant, the Bull Run restaurant and Signature Restaurant.
You can also get quick meals from Nando’s, KFC, McDonalds and Fishaways. Caution: I hated the rice so your best bet is chips so stick to that or wraps/burgers.
We definitely had a great and unforgettable trip. Hope this was helpful and make sure to watch my Travel Vlog on Youtube – JES ISCAH for more details and feel of all the activities i talk about in Sandton, Gauteng, Johannesburg, South Africa.
CHEERS TO A GREAT YEAR ! AND I HOPE YOU ENJOYED READING.