One Day in Johannesburg With a Toddler

SA-Newton-Attractions-SignWe wanted to get out and see what Johannesburg, or “Jozi” as some call it, had to offer.On my list were the Apartheid Museum, World of Beer (don’t judge me, the Heineken Museum in Amsterdam was really engaging even though I don’t drink), the Sci Bono Museum and Museum Africa.

These shops are about a 15 minute walk from the AirBnB room in Santon. The best pizza EVER! Yum.

These shops are about a 15 minute walk from the AirBnB room in Santon. The best pizza EVER! Yum.

Johannesburg is very big and we are staying in the suburbs of Santon (a ritzy financial area). We did not rent a car. We don’t have a working phone, but we can get the internet on our phones using wi-fi (we leave them in airplane mode to avoid charges). We had a few options:

  • Gautrain to Hop On, Hop Off Bus – R425 (tuk tuk R35, Gautrain R45 pp and then R150 for Hop On, Hop Off one-day pass)
  • Uber – R158 (driver picks you up from your door and drives you to your destination)
  • Taxi – R9 (taking the local mini buses is really cheap, but you have to transfer)

We chose Uber since we didn’t know exactly where the Apartheid Museum was. The driver picked us up and delivered us to the museum with no problems. The museum is REALLY big. Once you pay (R75 pp) you are assigned a race. You enter the museum through the door denoted on your entrance pass. I thought it was a formality and we’d be together as a group soon, so I didn’t worry about it. I didn’t realize that you are separated from your party for almost 10 minutes! It’s funny how such a short break can get to you. Just when I started to worry, I saw Corey come around on our side looking for us.

There were so many things to read I’ll just post some images with captions:

Clear as mud.

Clear as mud.

No explanation necessary.

No explanation necessary.

See the nooses hanging from the ceiling? Those are to honor the people murdered by the police during apartheid.

See the nooses hanging from the ceiling? Those are to honor the people murdered by the police during apartheid.

We got this on a magnet. Good reminder.

We got this on a magnet. Good reminder.

 

After that, we decided to go over to Newtown and check out the World of Beer and Sci Bono Museum, but we weren’t sure how to get there. We couldn’t call Uber because we had no internet. The Hop On, Hop Off bus stops at the museum so we could have taken that, we were quoted R150 for a cab or we could try and navigate the taxi system for R9. What do you think we chose? Of course, the cheapest route! Lol

I asked for directions to walk to a taxi and was told several times that #1 We could not walk as “it is too far” #2 Due to the baby, we should just take  a cab. It would be easier. #3 They didn’t know what a taxi was. She could call me a cab though. After continuing to bother her, she finally told me that I could walk over to the garage (what they call a gas station) and get on a taxi there. It took us about 3 minutes to get out of the parking lot and onto the garage. We saw many taxis go by, but that would have been too easy! We walked past Gold Reef and past the highway until we came to a taxi station. We also saw a food place, “Victor’s Braai”, and decided to grab lunch. We ordered chicken strips and spicy rice (R32) and sat down. Everywhere we go, everyone loves the baby and today was no exception. We got lots of smiles and warmth from passing strangers while waiting on our food.

Chicken and rice with beets and jalapenos. Yum!

Chicken and rice with beets and jalapenos. Yum!

The food was presented beautifully and tasted great. We asked for directions to get to Newtown and when we couldn’t get a clear answer, we set off walking again (thank you, babywearing!). We walked until we saw what looked like a business district and decided to ask for directions at a conference center. The woman was very helpful and told us to take a taxi to Bree Street. We stood in front of the conference center and a taxi pulled up. It was the wrong one. We waiting another 30 seconds and another one pulled up. This was the right one, so we hopped in. It was a nice ride (R9) over to Newtown. The driver told us when to get off so we could reach the World of Beer. We paid our R18 and exited.

Giving the baby a ride at the Sci Bono Science Center.

Giving the baby a ride at the Sci Bono Science Center.

The World of Beer looked closed. We didn’t even try to go in because of how empty it looked. The good news though, was that the Sci Bono Museum was directly across the street. It also looked dead, but we pressed on. After knocking on the window to get someone to come over and sell us a ticket (yeah … it was that bad), we paid (R40 pp) and entered. It was empty. I mean, dead assed, no one there,  are we in a horror flick empty! Lol The museum had some cute things for kids to do and we went in that direction. I put the baby down near the Legos and he lost his damned mind! He didn’t want to do anything else. We took a look at some of the things to do while keeping an eye on him until we had to move him. He was NOT having it. His little body went limp and he started crying. Uh oh …  temper tantrum. Luckily, he’s still small enough to snatch up, so I threw him over my shoulder and we moved on to another exhibit. He wasn’t impressed by the hot air balloon, but he seemed to enjoy the little mining center. After a few minutes we packed it up making sure to avoid the Lego table. Lol

The GREAT Miriam Makeba ... in street sign form. =)

The GREAT Miriam Makeba … in street sign form. =)

After leaving, we realized that the Africa Museum and Miriam Makeba Street were about a block away, so we headed out. After being disappointed with the World of Beet and Sci Bono museums, we decided not to enter the Africa Museum, but we took a photo. We wanted to head back to Santon as it started getting late. We could have jumped in a taxi, but we decided to walk to the Gautrain station. After walking for a while on a crowded NYC-like street we ducked into a KFC to ask for directions. The lady said that we were about a mile away which meant another 20 minutes of walking, a train ride AND a tuk tuk ride before making it to our door, so we wimped out and called Uber using the free KFC wi-fi.

Dude arrived and offered us a bottle of water. Nice! We chatted the whole ride home. After arriving, one of the carers brought us pap and steak for dinner. It was a good day.

 

Clarification points:

  • Right now the South African rand is trading at 12.5 for one American dollar.
  • A taxi is an informal mode of transit. Usually a mini-bus with about 15 seats that drive specific routes through the city.
  • We used AirBnB to book a studio room at the estate in Santon.
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