Maboneng Precinct found in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa is a place that truly sets my heart on fire and makes my soul sing. It is a happy place for any creative out there.
“There are far, far better things ahead than we leave behind” – CS Lewis
This once declared no-go zone, received a face-lift of note in 2008 when the area was transformed into a cultural haven. “The precinct has since grown into Joburg’s most unusual and innovative areas, offering live / work and entertainment opportunities within a fully integrated urban set-up”.
My family and I absolutely love the vibe and atmosphere that Maboneng has to offer. If you are looking for us on a Sunday morning there’s a very good chance we will be found hanging out at Market on Main. Sunday market vibes with an abundance of oh so yummy EVERYTHING. After we feed our faces, we then casually walk the streets looking for new artwork that comes in the form of murals, graffiti and structures. We love the Precinct so much that in December 2016 we did a family lifestyle photo shoot in the streets of Maboneng, which made for the perfect setting to showcase our new lives in the City of Gold.
Our most recent visit to Maboneng on the 30th of December 2017, saw us playing tour guides to some of our friends. Due to the festive season Market on Main wasn’t open and the same applied to several shops and restaurants. Despite it being rather quiet I must admit that it was an absolute pleasure to have Maboneng (literally) to ourselves. We took tons of photos and let our crazy sides take control. It’s a place where your creative side is unleashed and you get to play, be free and live in the moment. My kids in particular have the best time whenever we visit. I love the friendliness of the people and how everyone is so helpful.
I think it’s rather apt that Maboneng means “Place of Light”. This culturally diverse urban area overflows with amazing people who are blessed with an abundance of talent in terms of art, design, entertainment, entrepreneurial skills and music. Every inch of the precinct can be felt to your core, ensuring you leave feeling completely enriched.
Your first trip into Maboneng may leave you questioning your choices and could possibly see you turn your car around and head home without even making it to your final destination. Don’t let the trip in, scare you and put you off. This cultural oasis is a must see and its’s experience I promise you won’t regret.
In true form, I managed to squeeze in a few more adventures before 2017 came to a close. I’d been dying to make my way out to the Orlando Towers in Soweto, South Africa and on the 30th of December I did exactly that with a group of friends.
The Orlando Power Station is a decommissioned coal-fired power station in Soweto. The power station was commissioned at the end of the Second World War and served Johannesburg for over 50 years.
It was the windiest of days, but we were still able to make our way up to the viewing platform. Thankfully bungee-jumping was put on hold due to the extreme windy conditions so there was no pressure to jump. I need to mention that I’m absolutely terrified of heights yet I somehow always seem to find myself prioritising my adventurous side over my fears. Utter craziness if you ask me. So the way to the viewing platform comes in the form of a rickety cage that speedily makes it way up the side of one of the towers. The ride up is super intense as the shape of the tower means that the position of the cage is ever-changing. It’s also not the smoothest of rides and is insanely noisy which adds to the drama.
I can’t express enough how damn grateful I was to get out of that cage, when we had finally reached the top, with the only problem being that the cage was also our way down. We made our way up a flight of stairs and then I found myself crawling on the viewing deck. Yes, I crawled, like actually crawled on all fours. I immediately made my way to wooden crates positioned in the center of the platform and stayed there for a while.
The wind fortunately settled a bit, and I was able to check out the view and pose for a few pics (of course I made sure I clutched onto someone or something). The towers are unbelievably high and on a windy day it almost feels as if the towers are moving. The artwork on the towers themselves are super impressive and can be seen for kilometers. The view from the top of the towers however isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s cool to say that I made my way to the top of Orlando Towers despite my incredible fear of heights.
Even though the towers are commonly associated with “bungee jumping”, there are way more fun things to do. While the majority of the things to do at the towers are for the thrill-seeker / adrenaline junkie, I still recommend that you make a trip out to the Orlando Towers aka Soweto Towers and check out this iconic South African landmark.
A few pointers before you head out
No valuables are allowed on the viewing platform (things like bags, caps, cellphones and cameras)
You can ask for a photographer to take photos of you when you are on the viewing platform (for a price of course)
There is an age restriction for kids to partake in the various activities