Those who’ve read my blog before will know I’ve posted about South Africa, and specifically Johannesburg on many occasions in the past. I’ve been to the city dozens of times, first for vacations and over the last decades many times for work.
On top of being an amazing city in its own right, it’s a regional hub for southern Africa, and in order to ensure no missed flights (or at least to minimize their likelihood) I try and spend days in each direction in the city.
This trip, arriving early morning with no work to do the first day, I decided to try out a new hotel and see what the new Marriott Bonvoy-branded properties are like.
I usually stay in Rosebank because I like the walkable neighbourhood that has everything I need, but this time I decided to stay at the African Pride in Melrose Arch which is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection.
At reception the staff was friendly and wonderful, but couldn’t for the life of them figure out how to merge two one-night stays together, and even worse, they had cancelled my first night as a no-show despite telling them it would be a very early morning arrival (so I’d booked the night before).
All sorted, eventually, got up to my room where I planned a 2-3 hour nap before heading out to enjoy the day. I loved the decor which I’d call “Africa modern” and the bed was super comfortable.
Super strange painting on the wall of a burglar robbing a safe. Even better? It swung to the side to reveal the in-room safe behind it. Genius!
Later in the day, I decided to take the Gautrain up to Pretoria to meet up with some friends for lunch. The Pretoria/Hatfield Gautrain Station has some problems with the local taxi mafia, and they’re not at all fond of Uber competing for their business.
I’d heard about the problem, but never expected to experience it….which I did today when a man hurled a rock at the window of my Uber, cracking it as we tried to swerve to avoid it:
Amazing and delicious lunch with a bunch of my favourite things in one bowl: bbq pulled pork over grilled halloumi cheese topped with avo and tomatoes. Absolutely delicious dish, which was surprisingly not too heavy.
The next day, I decided since it was a warm spring day to head into Maboneng to walk around the market for a bit and do some people watching.
It was a bit chillier than I expected, so I stopped at a coffee shop after a bit of walking for a perfect flat white…which may have had a bit of Amarula added to it. Delicious.
Maboneng…home of The Centre for the Less Good Idea. LOL.
Before heading to work I switched hotels to be a bit closer to things, and went back to the Hyatt where I’ve been staying for nearly 25 years now. The property is definitely showing its age these days, and there are definitely signs of cost-cutting in the property, but can’t beat it for a walkable location.
Something I’ve never noticed or had happen before…see the lamp above the picture? Well it’s solid and quite heavy metal, and when I got up from the desk at one point I accidentally bumped my head on it.
Upper left corner of the pic…that’s what happens when you bump your head into a scalding hot strip of metal. Ouch!
I’ve seen Trump’s Steakhouse in Sandton before, but who knew they had their own Biltong shop as well. Wonder if they’re any relation to the Orange Menace Trump family…
No trip to South Africa would be complete without some grilled chicken smothered in peri peri sauce!
…and a quick visit to say hi to Madiba before heading home:
Productive few days of work, and soon it was time to head back to DC to attend a wedding… decided to take the Gautrain to the airport, because, well, it’s always fun riding trains!
How long would I be home this time? Only about 30 hours actually! Then it would be time to head to India for more work. Truth be told, it was a combination of a wedding and the fact that booking the India trip separately was actually less expensive than amending and doing a multi-destination trip.
So, with that, off to the airport to fly home. I had switched my flight back to DC to Lufthansa instead of SWISS, and I was praying the upgrade gods might smile on me for a second time this trip….