Personally checked by our Mirjam Meyer, and Kerstin Bahnmüller at LCC Amazing Africa.
The City of Gold’s Maboneng district is flush with contemporary creativity and commerce, illustrating the deep, fertile mind of a city awash with diversity. Widely considered as the heart of Johannesburg, Maboneng boasts intercultural residency, featuring warehouse studios, art galleries, holistic healing centres, chic boutiques, in vogue restaurants and coffee houses that draw in the city’s savants and philosophers. It is the perfect mesh of working, playing and living to the beat of the modern African pulse.
As you sit at one of the sidewalk cafés in Maboneng, sipping a tasty latte while watching the passing parade of creatives and street-smart artists, it’s hard to believe that just ten years ago, the area was considered a no-go zone.
Maboneng, meaning “place of light” in Sesotho (one of South Africa’s 11 official languages), consists of easily accessible city blocks in and around Fox Street. It was once home to grimy abandoned warehouses, cracked window panes and empty crisp packets blowing down the deserted streets. But what was once a crumbling area is now a thriving hub of creativity, industry and good coffee. To get a feel of the area, spend a good few hours to fully absorb the vibrancy and sense of possibility.
There’s no doubt that Maboneng is a unique place in the city. With its mix of fine-dining restaurants, art galleries and entertainment venues, the district flows with creativity. Maboneng is a place like no other and shows a slice of Joburg life that you won’t see in any of the main tourist places. It’s diverse, fun, urban and gritty. It shows the strange contrasts that exist in Joburg.
Wind your way down Fox Street, past a group of jamming street musicians, browse the pavement stalls of handcrafted beadwork and reasonably priced local souvenirs and stock up on mementos. When you’re done, head into Arts on Main, a collection of eateries, galleries and designer shops around a shaded courtyard filled with olive trees. After you’ve immersed yourself in art, pop into the David Krut Bookstore on the ground level. The small and intimate bookshop-cum-gallery lets you browse art books from a wide selection of local authors, as well as beautiful prints.
Best time to visit?
Sunday is one of the most popular days to visit Maboneng because the Market on Main comes alive, but there's plenty to do on any day in this renewed inner-city area that's brimming with the trendy.
Maboneng is for everyone, and hand-downs the coolest neighbourhood in Jozi where tourists love to explore and hang out.
What makes it unique?
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