Many of Joburg’s residents spend the majority of their day at work and travelling to and from work, driven by the city’s competitive spirit and delayed by its seemingly endless traffic. To balance out the stresses of the job, many of Johannesburg’s residents enjoy spending their hard-earned money in the city’s shopping centres.
Expats in Johannesburg will have a lifestyle that is largely similar to South Africans and they'll most likely befriend both locals and their fellow expatriates. Everybody in the city is influenced by its tremendous wealth and natural beauty, whether positively or negatively.
Unfortunately, the city’s wide income gap all too often expresses itself in terms of crime and countermeasures. Many of its residents, justifiably or out of fear, spend a lot of their time behind high walls and indoors – both at home and at leisure.
Shopping in Johannesburg
There is no shortage of options when it comes to shopping in Johannesburg. From designer boutiques to bargain buys at local markets, mega malls and department stores, the city has it all. Sandton City, at the heart of the area it takes its name from, is a good place to start. Almost anything can be found at one of its almost 300 stores and, as if that isn’t enough, shoppers can catch their breath at the adjacent Nelson Mandela Square which offers fine dining and luxury shopping options of its own.
Those wanting a more personal shopping experience can head to one of the city’s markets, a popular pastime on Sundays and public holidays. The most well-known of these are arguably the B&B Markets at Norwood Centre which sells gourmet food, arts and crafts, as well as at Hillfox which is more geared towards bargain hunters. Additionally, Neighbourgoods Market in the gentrified area of Braamfontein is definitely worth a visit too.
In spite of the city's crime rate and the lure of luxury shopping, however, not all of Johannesburg’s residents spend their spare time indoors in malls and security estates.
Outdoor activities and sports in Johannesburg
Johannesburg is known for being a premier shopping destination but it is also a city that celebrates sport. The city is home to the calabash-shaped FNB Stadium which hosted the FIFA World Cup Final in 2010; Ellis Park, where the Springboks famously won the Rugby World Cup in 1995; and the Wanderers Stadium, venue for the 2003 Cricket World Cup Final.
Many of the locals and expats in Johannesburg choose to escape the hustle and bustle of the city on weekends. Some prefer destinations within the city such as the Johannesburg Zoo, Zoo Lake or the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in the city’s West Rand, the epicentre of the gold rush that led to the city’s establishment.
Others prefer weekend getaways to places such as Hartbeespoort, a resort town just two hours away. Close to Hartbeespoort, expats will be able to visit an elephant sanctuary, monkey sanctuary and snake park. They will also be able to get close to South Africa’s Big Five animals at one of the game reserves on the city’s outskirts.
Nightlife in Johannesburg
Joburgers have mastered the balance between hard working days and glamorous nights of excess. As one might expect of the richest city in Africa, there is a fairly wide selection of clubs, bars, theatres and cocktail lounges. Expats can go for a night out on the town in trendy Melville or artsy Newtown. Those with more refined tastes can also head to Hyde Park, Sandton or Melrose Arch to rub shoulders with local celebrities and the city’s wealthy and well-heeled.