Johannesburg Walks & Explorations


JoburgPlaces – Urban Futurists

We know this city!
We know the people, spaces, places and stories of this city.
We are urban Futurists, Charlie Moyo and Gerald Garner.
Together, under the JoburgPlaces banner, we offer  exceptional, bespoke, exclusive city walks (tours), explorations, engagements and experiences.
Along the way, we provide insight into the past, present and future of this  mesmerizing city.

We are known for our riveting, historical storytelling. But we do not dwell on the past too much. We search in the past and learn from it. This helps us understand the contemporary city we live in, so that we can work towards a better future.

Gerald Garner founded JoburgPlaces in 2011 with the publication of his first book, Spaces & Places – Johannesburg. What was supposed to only be a guide book, quickly grew into a tours, walks and explorations company. Gerald later published JoburgPlaces and several other books too, the most recent being Johannesburg 2020 and Ahead.

Charlie Moyo has been working with Gerald for several years. He is an exceptional storyteller, and he guides most city explorations. Charlie has absorbed an immense knowledge of the city. He knows literally every corner and secret of this town. With his exceptional voice and hospitable demeanour, a guest cannot wish for a better guide than Charlie!

Apart from the explorations listed in this brochure, JoburgPlaces also hosts exquisite storytelling dinners at the Thunder Walker. Request the storytelling dinner brochure for more information on these exceptional evenings.

Exceptional Private Walks & Experiences
We prefer engaging experiences for smaller groups of connected people, rather than large public groups of disconnected people. This is also a safer way to explore during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Bring your family, your office group or close friends (any small bubble of connected people) and enjoy some sunshine and fresh-air, while being mesmerized by the astonishing stories, architecture, spaces and places of the inner-city.

In line with lockdown restrictions, masks are compulsory on our tours and must always be worn. We provide sanitizing at the start and end of the tour. We take your details and measure your temperature at the start at the Thunder Walker. It is a good idea to carry your own small sanitizer with you along the way. If we enter any establishment along the way, you will be sanitized upon entry and exit too,  but we can also simply stick to the great city outdoors if you prefer.

Explore the city
Guests can book two kinds of explorations with JoburgPlaces:

  1. Inner-City Walks
    (Available as private walks at all times subject to availability and as occasional public walks on only some Saturdays).

    COSTS:
    Private walks at minimum fee of R1000 for one or two guests.
    R1200 for 3 guests.
    Additional guests at R400 per person.
    Public walks at R400 per person.We believe walking is the best way to get to understand the city’s vibe, history, architecture, people, spaces and places. Our walks are leisurely with lots of stops for in-depth storytelling along the way. All our walks present a cohesive narrative that will leave you perplexed by the past and inspired for the future of this city.
  2. Specialist Explorations
    (Available as private group events and occasionally included on Saturdays as public explorations)

    Prices for each exploration quoted on application.Some of our specialist explorations involve bus transport or special themes. Once you have experienced all our walks, these are for you! Most specialist explorations are available for private bookings, but we do occasionally include some in our public schedule too.

SCHEDULE OF PUBLIC WALKS & EXPLORATIONS:

SAT 6 March 9am-1:30pm FASHION DISTRICT & LITTLE ADDIS WALK (WALK 1B)
Cultural immersion into the migrant communities of the inner-city.
R400 per person
SAT 3 April 1:30pm-7:30pm CHARLIE & GERALD’s FAVOURITE SECRET JOBURG PLACES (2B)
The hidden gems we prefer to frequent in the inner-city, and the controversial conversations we enjoy along the way.
R600 per person
SAT 1 May   1:30pm-7:30pm CHARLIE & GERALD’s FAVOURITE SECRET JOBURG PLACES (2B)
The hidden gems we prefer to frequent in the inner-city, and the controversial conversations we enjoy along the way.
R600 per person

ROUTE DETAILS:

INNER-CITY WALK:
ASTONISHING MARSHALLTOWN WALK (1A)

The hidden history of the city is right in front of your eyes!
Walk and explore the oldest district of Joburg inner-city and marvel at the architecture and stories of Joburg during the gold rush, the plush Edwardian era of the early 1900s and all the way to the diverse and energetic current-day Joburg with coffee shops and eateries along Main Street. Admire the Shadow Boxer sculpture where Mandela & Tambo once had offices, sit on the laps of Walter & Albertina Sisulu (our favourite public artwork in the city) and be astonished by the square where Gandhi once worked as a lawyer in the court. This tour is the best introductory tour to understanding the full story of Joburg – from pre-gold rush days to current city regeneration. You will surely leave astonished!

Typical schedule:
9:00am Introduction at Thunder Walker
9:30m: Gandhi sculpture
9:50: Rand Club (outside)
10:00: Cramers Coffee (short coffee break)
10:25 Mapungubwe Rhino & Hollard Street
11:00 Mining Headgear
11:20 Anglo American and Impala Stampede Sculpture
11:40 Chancellor House (Mandela & Tambo’s 1952 law offices)
12:20 Sisulu Sculpture
12:45: Arrive at Thunder Walker and visit Zwipi Underground
13:00 End

 

INNER-CITY WALK
FASHION DISTRICT & LITTLE ADDIS WALK (1B)

Cultural immersion into the migrant communities of the inner-city.
Fall in love with the busier and more frenetic part of the city, dominated by migrant communities. From fabric stores to men’s fashion and extraordinary Ethiopian coffee, beer, and cuisine. The Pan African and migrant nature of Joburg is what sets it apart from many other great cities in the world. You have not been to Joburg if you have not discovered this thriving, hidden part of the inner-city.

Private walks usually end around 1pm as a small group moves much faster. Public walks often end at 2pm only.

Typical schedule:
9:00: Introduction at Thunder Walker
9:30: Walk to Africa Rise Fashion Store
9:45: Visit Africa Rise Fashion Store
10:00 Walk to Pritchard Street, with sightseeing along the way, continue to the Fashion District
10:40: Arrive at the Fashion Kapitol and do a walkabout of the Fashion District including Fashion District Wholesalers with Sheshwe fabrics.
11:10: Walk towards Ethiopian Quarter, known as Little Addis and visit coffee shops, restaurants and traditional Ethiopian fashion and giftware shops
12:00: Walk through Joburg Mall to MRock Gents Fashion Store
12:20: Walk up to Bersufekad Restaurant for coffee/beer and snacks
13:00: Walk back though Joburg Mall and from there make way back to Thunder Walker
13:30: End

 

INNER-CITY WALK
EAST TOWN IS ALIVE! WALK (1C)

Inner-city living spearheads a bright future for town – from Towers Main to Jewel City and Maboneng
Experience the remarkable regeneration of the city underway east of Gandhi Square. This tour includes the new Absa precinct with its astonishing apartments in Towers Main, Jewel City with its trendy Onyx apartments and vibrant, landscaped, pedestrianised retail street. Also included is Maboneng, the arts, culture and entertainment hub of the inner-city. This walk will challenge your preconceptions and show you the thriving future of the inner-city.

Typical schedule:
9:00: Introduction at Thunder Walker
9:20: Walk along Main Street to Towers Main in the Absa Precinct
9:40:  Visit show apartment and community levels of Towers Main
10:10: Coffee at Flight
10:30: Walk along Fox Street to Jewel City
10:45: Amble along pedestrianised Fox Street with its public fountains and tree-covered seating areas. Visit a show apartment in the brand new Onyx building and view the city from the residents’ rooftop space.
11:15: Walk on to Arts on Main in Maboneng
11:30: Walk along Fox Street all the way to Curiocity Backpackers. Enjoy street art along the way.
12:15: Walk back to Gandhi Square while discussing the future of the city and its regeneration opportunitie
13:00 Arrive back at the Thunder Walker

 

INNER-CITY WALK
URBAN FARMING WALK (1D)

Entrepreneurial farmers and traders regenerate the inner-city.
Note this tour also makes use of Rea Vaya public buses. Guests need R88 in cash on the day for bus tickets. This is in addition to the prepaid fee.

In a city with many vacant and derelict spaces, urban farming is showing huge potential in terms of urban regeneration. Whether it is an underused public park, a disused bowling green, a series of old industrial buildings or even a rooftop, urban farming can bring new life to previously forgotten spaces. On this walk and exploration by Rea Vaya bus, we visit three different inner-city farms where you get to learn more about the challenges, potential and methods used to farm right where the demand for fresh produce is: in the heart of the city. You also get to buy some produce, juices and more from the urban farms.

Note that this exploration involves a fair amount of walking. At the first ‘farm’, guests must climb up a ladder to the first-floor rooftop tea garden and nursery. We make use of the Rea Vaya public bus system to travel between stops and this can be challenging and require some patience. This walk is certainly for the young-at-heart and adventurous. Make sure you have a big breakfast beforehand or you will be starving before the end. Delicious tea will be on sale at the first stop (JFF rooftop). Fresh juices, sauces and if you are lucky, bread will be on sale at the last stop (Bertrams inner-city farm). Please bring cash along to purchase these items

Typical schedule:
9am: Meet at the Thunder Walker at Gandhi Square for introduction.
9:15am: Walk up to Rea Vaya Library Gardens Station
9:30am: Depart by Rea Vaya to Braamfontein
9:45am: Disembark from Rea Vaya in Braamfontein and walk to Juta Street
10:05am: Visit the JFF Rooftop Tea Garden & Nursery (note guests have to climb a ladder up to the first floor roof garden)
10:45am: Walk back to Rea Vaya station
11:05am: Depart by Rea Vaya to Joubert Park
11:20am: Disembark from Rea Vaya at Joubert Park and walk up to Outreach Foundation
11:40am: Visit hydroponic rooftop farm at Outreach foundation
12:10am: Walk back to Rea Vaya station in Joubert Park
12:30am: Depart by Rea Vaya to Ellis Park
12:40am: Disembark from Reay Vaya and walk to Bertrams Inner-city Farm
12:45am: Visit Bertrams Inner-city farm
1:30pm: Depart by Rea Vaya back to Library Gardens
1:50pm: Disembark from Rea Vaya and walk back to Gandhi Square.
2pm: Arrive back at the Thunder Walker.

 

INNER-CITY WALK
KERK STREET TO NEWTOWN WALK (1E)

Mesmerising marketplaces amidst hidden history and street art.
Experience how small business entrepreneurs are bringing life to the city – from the mesmerising Kerk Street market to the exceptional Newtown Corner. With history, incredible street-art and deliberations on the future of Joburg thrown into the mix.

This walk takes in both the excitement of an inner-city that is regenerating successfully and the challenges that keep certain city districts, such as Newtown from breaking through and becoming the precinct it is meant to be. It provides insightful analysis into the aspects of city regeneration that works and the challenges that continue to prevent complete revitalisation. Starting off along the vibrant pedestrianised Kerk Street with its super successful fruit-and-vegetable market, run by informal traders and lined by the top retail stores of South Africa, the walk also takes in the corporate Bank City precinct where the streets have successfully been brought back to life with street-side cafes and public art. Next up is a stroll to Newtown where guests experience how cut-off pedestrian connections stem regeneration from spreading further.

Newtown itself has astonishing history and public institutions such as Sci-Bono and Museum Africa but the area is tragically in a state of decline due to poor urban design and management. Walk across the expansive Mary Fitzgerald Square, past the historic Market Theatre and Newtown Junction – a shopping centre that has isolated itself from its city surroundings with dire consequences for the entire precinct. Learn how opening up this mall and linking it to the street grid (currently being considered) could be a major improvement for the entire area. Marvel at the Great Graffiti Gallery under the M1 highway and stop for something to drink or bite and the uber-cool Newtown Corner – an erstwhile petrol station converted to the poster child of future urban regeneration – where local entrepreneurs set up businesses from sushi outlets and rib restaurants, to juice outlets, bars and fashion stores. Amble back though Newtown and across Library Gardens for lunch of drinks at the Thunder Walker.

The contrasts between the successes and failures of the inner-city makes this one of the most insightful walks in the JoburgPlaces repertoire.

Typical schedule:
9am: Meet at the Thunder Walker at Gandhi Square for introduction.
9:30am: Walk to Kerk Street market
9:45am: Explore Kerk Street Market
10:15am: Explore Bank City precinct
10:30am: Walk past JSE and Turbine Hall towards Newtown
10:50am: Mary Fitzgerald Square and Market Theatre
11:00m: Newtown Junction and surround
11:30am: Great Grafitti Gallery
11:45am: Newtown Corner
12:15pm: Walk back through Newtown Park and via Library Gardens
1pm: Arrive back at the Thunder Walker (lunch or drinks optional for your own account)

 2. SPECIALIST CITY EXPLORATIONS

PRIVATE EXPLORATIONS
Guests can choose to book any one of these on a private basis, but minimum fees apply as specified.

PUBLIC EXPLORATIONS
Some of these are occasionally included in the Saturday public schedule.

2A: Money, Banks & Vaults Walk
2B: Charlie & Gerald’s Favourite Secret Joburg Places
2C: Of Origins & Migration
2D: Regenerating Inner-City Walk
2E: Mesmerizing Maboneng Walk
2F: Viewpoints & Watering Holes (Pubs, Bars & Rooftops) Exploration

 


MONEY, BANKS & VAULTS (2A)

Private walks at a minimum of R4000 for groups of 10 or less.

Visit some of the most astonishing hidden and forgotten spaces of the old financial district in the Johannesburg CBD – from banking halls, to underground vaults and even the old stock exchange trading floor in Diagonal Street. Hear remarkable stories of how money, banks and vaults helped shape the City of Gold from its gold-rush inception in 1886 and up to today.

Typical schedule:
9am: introduction at the Thunder Walker
9:15 Walk to Rand Club
9:25: Visit Rand Club Map Museum
9:55: Walk to 87 Commissioner
10:00 Visit 87 Commissioner, erstwhile Barclays Bank Head Office.
10:15 Walk to Natal Bank/Ornico
10:25 Arrive at Natal Bank and tour the building
10:55 Walk past National Bank House and old Volkskas
11:10 Walk across Library Gardens and through the Bank City complex
11:30 Arrive at JSE Newtown and visit the old stock exchange trading floor.
11:50: Walk down Ferreira Street and down Main Street
12:20 Arrive at Standard Bank to visit the Mine Shaft Museum
12:40 Walk back to Gandhi Square
13:00 Arrive back at Thunder Walker and visit Zwipi Underground (old United Safety Deposit Vault)
13:30 End

 


CHARLIE & GERALD’s FAVOURITE SECRET JOBURGPLACES (2B)

SPECIALIST EXPLORATION BY BUS
The hidden gems we prefer to frequent in the inner-city, and the controversial conversations we enjoy along the way.
1:30pm-7pm on selected Saturdays, R500 per person for public explorations.
Private experiences a minimum of R7 500 for 10 or less people.

Experience the most remarkable spaces that the JoburgPlaces guides and storytellers, Charlie Moyo and Gerald Garner, frequent in their free time in the city. These are some of their favourite, personal hangout spots and a unique opportunity to see the city and its astonishing spaces and places, through the eyes of Charlie and Gerald.

Along the way we talk about current day Johannesburg with all its issues and challenges and we deliberate on the future of the city, especially how the inner-city could be regenerated sustainably.

The exploration starts at 1:30pm at the Thunder Walker’s Zwipi Underground (an astonishing dining space in an old bank vault, operated by JoburgPlaces. From here we travel to a remarkable new brewery in Newtown and then to the migrant heart of the city. Next we check out some street art and cool spots in town before heading to the a spectacular rooftop. We end back at the Thunder Walker’ at 7pm. Guests are welcome to enjoy dinner at the Thunder Walker for their own account.

 

OF ORIGINS & MIGRATIONS (2C)

SPECIALIST WALK
The incredible migrant origins of our city.
Private explorations a minimum of R3500 for 10 or less people.
Plus R44 in cash per person on the day for Rea Vaya buses tickets.

A fascinating walk through the Ellis Park Precinct and the edges of Doornfontein. Once a Jewish migrant community and today still a magnet for Pan-African migrants the area is rich in history of Cape Malay, Chinese and Portuguese migration too. With the source of the Jukskei River in the area, the focus is on the origins of water and life, and the stories of the city’s people from Tswana villages to Boer farms and the gold rush city. This exploration includes public art, shopping, storytelling and more.

Typical schedule:
9:00: Welcome at the Thunder Walker
9:10: Walk to Rea Vaya station at Library Gardens and board Rea Vaya C1 bus to Troyeville Hotel
9:30: Arrive at Troyeville Hotel (coffee for customers’ own account) and introductory talk on the six phases of Joburg
10:00: Walk down to Ellis Park public space and visit Invented Mythologies sculpture and explore the story of the Jukskei and limpopo Rivers, Origins of Humankind
10:30: Walk to China City and explore China City for shopping and enjoy Chinese and Cape Malay/Indian streetfood snacks (food/drinks for customer’s own account)
11:20: Walk out on northern side of China City (view towards student housing, athletics stadium and Ponte)
11:30: Walk to Siemerst/Siveright/Joe Slovo Streets and view Alhambra Theatre and Lion Shul as well as Casa Arbiter shoe shop
12:00: Walk back to Invented Mythologies sculpture (discuss Witwatersrand continental divide and Johannesburg’s water systems)
12:15: Walk up to nearby juice factory and Hillbrew Coffee for coffee break (for customers own account)
12:45: Walk to Rea Vaya Ellis Park Station and embark back on bus T1 to Library Gardens
13:15: Disembark at Library Gardens and walk to the Thunder Walker on Gandhi Square
13:30 Arrive back at Thunder Walker and visit Zwipi Underground
14:00 End

Guests are welcome to enjoy Chinese and Indian/Cape Malay streetfoods along the way as well as coffee (for customer’s own account).

 

REGENERATING INNER-CITY WALK (2D)

SPECIALIST WALK
The achievements and challenges involved in regenerating a once forlorn inner-city.
Private explorations a minimum of R5000 for 10 or less people.
Plus R22 in cash per person on the day for Rea Vaya buses tickets.

This walk that made JoburgPlaces famous is back! A 5-hour immersion into the city’s liveliest and most vibrant spaces, exploring the story of Johannesburg’s decade long programme to regenerate, despite many stops, restarts and challenges. This tour provides the best one-day overview of the dense, exciting, historic, diverse and mesmerising districts, spaces, places and people of the inner-city. Guests get to mingle at the Neighbourgoods Market, sip coffee at the famous Cramers and enjoy lunch at Scatterlings Restaurant at the Thunder Walker (all food and drink for customer’s own account).

Typical Schedule:
NOTE THIS TOUR STARTS IN BRAAMFONTEIN, OUTSIDE NEIGHBOURGOODS MARKET AND NOT AT GANDHI SQUARE
(we will email you parking information and directions when booking)
9am: Welcome at corner of De Beer and Juta Streets in front of Post Café
9:30: Visit Neighbourgoods Market with time to mingle, explore and shop
10:00 Walk through Braamfontein, past the Grove to Park Station
10:30 Board Rea Vaya C3 bus to Chancellor House
10:50: Disembark at Chancellor House Station and visit the Sisulu sculpture
11:05 Walk to historic Chancellor House (offices of Mandela & Tambo) and visit street-side museum, plus the Shadow Boxer sculpture
11:30: Walk up to Leaping Impala sculpture
12:00: Walk  up Main Street and explore historic Hollard Street, Mapungubwe Rhino and Cramers Coffee
13:00 Walk to Bridge Books
13:15 Walk past Rissik Street Post Office to Kerk Street Linear Market and then to Oppenheimer Park.
13:45: Arrive at Gandhi Square and visit Gandhi sculpture.
14:00 End at Thunder Walker at Gandhi Square. Guests can enjoy lunch here for their own account or make their way back to Braamfontein for their own account (Uber/Bolt). Guests can also uber home from Thunder Walker after lunch.

 

MESMERIZING MABONENG WALK (2E)

SPECIALIST WALK
Private tours a minimum of R3500 for a group of 10 or less people.
Plus R42 in cash per person on the day for Rea Vaya buses tickets.

Maboneng is the coolest art and entertainment district in Johannesburg inner-city. The area is known for great art galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, backpacker lodges, artist studios and more. Maboneng is full of fascinating public art and a district that is a must-experience on any Joburg visit. The tour includes visits to landmark buildings such as Hallmark House, Agog, Access City, Common Ground, Cosmopolitan, Maverick Corner, Curiocity Backpackers, Main Street Life and Arts on Main. This tour is the most delightful and casual walk, exploring some remarkable hidden spaces and places.

Typical tour schedule:
9:00: Introduction at Thunder Walker on Gandhi Square
9:15: Walk across Gandhi Square to Rea Vaya Library Gardens
9:30: Take Rea Vaya bus to Maboneng , disembark at Jeppe Street Police Station
9:45: Walk through newer section of Maboneng, visiting Agog & Access City and Common Ground
10:15: Walk to original section of Maboneng, and visit Arts on Main, Main Street Life, Curiocity Backpackers, Maverick Corner and Cosmopolitan
13:00: Catch Rea Vaya bus back to Library Gardens
13:15: Arrive back at Thunder Walker and visit Zwipi Underground
13:30: End

 

VIEWPOINTS & WATERING HOLES (2F)

SPECIALIST BUS EXPLORATION
Private groups a minimum of R7500 for a group of 10 or less people.
Publicly, scheduled explorations at R500 per person

Experience some of Joburg’s most famous drinking spots – from trendy rooftop bars to the coolest hidden spots in the city. Discover the Johannesburg inner-city that is undergoing a remarkable rebirth, a city that offers much more than you would imagine in terms of trendy bars and entertainment. You are guaranteed an exceptional and memorable evening in the city! We take you on a curated tour by bus with storytelling about the history of Joburg at each stop while you get to experience the liveliest, hippest, African city on the way.

Typical tour schedule:
3pm: Tour starts at the Thunder Walker, with intro talk
3:30pm: Bus departs to Braamfontein
3:40pm: FIRST STOP: Parktonian Hotel Rooftop
4:20pm: Bus departs for Newtown
4:35pm: SECOND STOP: First 15 Brewery
5:10pm: Bus depart for Newtown Corner
5:15pm: THIRD STOP: Newtown Corner
5:55pm: Bus departs for Gandhi Square
6:05pm: FOURTH STOP: Dinner at  Thunder Walker’s Zwipi Underground (dinner for your own account, not included in tour fee)
7:00pm: Bus departs for Maboneng
7:10pm: FIFTH STOP: Curiocity Backpackers
7:50pm: Bus departs for  Hallmark House
8:00pm: SIXTH STOP: Hallmark House
8:45pm: Bus returns to Gandhi Square
9pm: City Exploration ends

Stops are indicative and may differ from day to day depending on availability of venues/stops in terms of private functions and more.

 

HOW TO BOOK

Pre-booking and pre-payment are essential.
Book by emailing gerald@joburgplaces.com or send a text/whatsapp message to 082 894 5216.

We will send you the total cost together with our banking details. A place on a tour is only confirmed upon receipt of proof of payment.

All JoburgPlaces walks and explorations start at our venue, The Thunder Walker at 110 Fox Street (old white building between Rissik and Joubert Streets).

TERMS & CONDITIONS:
Note that a booking is only secured once we have received proof of payment. Also note our terms and conditions, including our booking and refund policy:

A booking that is not followed by proof of payment within 48-hours will automatically be deemed cancelled.

Any already-paid cancellation will incur a 20% admin charge.

No cancellations or postponements will be accepted within 14 days of the actual booking date and no such refunds will be made.

Should a guest want to postpone a booking more than 14 days ahead of the original booking date, this will be done with pleasure and at no surcharge.

Participation in JoburgPlaces walks and explorations iis voluntary and at the full risk of the customer.

JoburgPlaces and Anchorco (Pty) Ltd as well as its venues (Thunder Walker Arcade,  Zwipi Underground and Thunder Walker Banqueting Hall)  and its guides conducting tours, do not accept any liability for any harm, injury or death that may incur, because of a guest participating in any walk,  exploration or experience staged by JoburgPlaces.

Should a walk or exploration be postponed because of Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the customer will be given the opportunity to rebook for another available date.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF BROCHURE
All the info listed above, can also be downloaded in the form of a pdf brochure. Click on the link below (then on the next page click on the link again and the pdf document will open for you to save onto your device):
JoburgPlaces_WALKS_AND_EXPLORATIONS_brochure_2021_01_29