Welcome to JoburgPlaces, the website of author and guide, Gerald Garner. JoburgPlaces is dedicated to exploring Johannesburg, the mesmerising city popularly known as Joburg, Joziburg, Jozi or eGoli.
Gerald is the author of the Spaces & Places series of guidebooks that includes Spaces & Places 2.0 – JoburgPlaces and Spaces & Places 3.0 – SandtonPlaces. As a reputed tour guide, Gerald also walks the streets of Joburg inner-city almost every day, accompanying travellers from all over the world.
Apart from books and tours, Gerald often gives talks about the regeneration of Joburg City. In addition he is a partner in the prominent inner-city project, The Sheds@1Fox (www.1fox.co.za) – an entire new city precinct focused on a food market.
JoburgPlaces is aimed at changing perceptions of Johannesburg and specifically the inner-city, introducing people to the astonishing story and people of this incredibly young city where so much has happened in such short time.
Not a city for travellers and tourists?
Contrary to popular belief Joburg is Africa’s most visited city! This is according to MasterCard for the second year in a row (2013 and 2014). During 2014 Johannesburg attracted 4,3-million international visitors who slept over in the city region for at least one night. The second most visited African city is Cape Town with far less (1,6-million) international visitors. See www.joburg.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9327:johannesburg-remains-africas-most-visited-city&catid=88:news-update&Itemid=266
Travel guides stay clear of Joburg…
Quite the opposite! Johannesburg is Rough Guides’ top city destination for 2015. See www.southafrica.net/za/en/posts/entry/rough-guides-top-city-2015-is-johannesburg
Bland and boring?
Johannesburg is hip and happening! It has been voted the second most inspiring city in the world for 2015 by the Good Magazine. See magazine.good.is/features/johannesburg_rank_2014
Dangerous and intimidating?
Johannesburg is no longer on the list of the top 50 most dangerous cities on the world. See www.702.co.za/articles/846/50-most-violent-cities-on-earth-joburg-isn-t-there-3-other-sa-cities-are
Yes the inner-city fell into spectacular decline in the late 1980s and all throughout the 1990s. However, today the regeneration of the inner-city is being featured prominently in the world’s media. It is an incredible story of a boom town that fell into decline and disrepair, yet today it is experiencing an inspiring regeneration with lots of once-derelict office and industrial buildings being refurbished and repurposed. See intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com/tag/gerald-garner/ and www.natgeotraveller.in/magazine/month/march-2014/a-new-golden-age-in-joburg-82/
A city for cars?
Downtown Joburg was developed for pedestrians and ox wagons and not designed for cars at all. The best way to experience and explore the city is by walking. Start out with a JoburgPlaces walking tour and once you know and understand the city, go on and enjoy the freedom of the city.
Old and boring?
Johannesburg is a very young city indeed, not only in terms of its history but also its people. The average age of Joburg’s people is in the late twenties. In terms of the city itself, Joburg is only 13 decades old as it was established in 1886 when gold was discovered here. Today Johannesburg is one of the biggest young cities in the world or one of the youngest big cities in the world. If you think 129 years is a long time, see it in perspective: Nelson Mandela lived until the age of 95 and died in December 2013. Joburg is just more than 30 years older than that!
Segregated and uninspiring?
A visit to Joburg inner-city is a must for anyone visiting South Africa as it is here that you will encounter a truly African urban experience. The Joburg inner-city is where a new South African society is emerging just over two decades since the end of Apartheid. In Joburg’s inner-city, people of all walks of life, all income groups and all races mingle and share public space. Living, working and playing in the same city. It is an incredibly dynamic and exciting place to be.
Welcome then to Joburg. Be sure to book a JoburgPlaces walking tour as one of your first experiences in this incredible city!