Shawn Greyling is a Writer and one of the coolest Oyinbos in Jozi. He wrote a great review of Lagos (Lagos Vs Jozi) on Jhb Live. His first impression of Lagos was both hilarious and a little hard to read.
In case you don’t know: Lagos is Nigeria’s largest city (similar to Jozi in South Africa). The Yoruba people of Nigeria (like my husband) call it Eko. There are many clear similarities and differences between Lagos and Jozi. In fact, there are many news articles that have labelled the two cities as both friends and foes. That is why I enjoy reading reviews of both cities, more so when South Africans are reviewing Lagos. Consequently, I could not resist when I came across Shawn Grelying’s review of Lagos.
Shawn Greyling’s first impression
“At first sight, Lagos is like giving a blind man a front-row seat to the Armageddon, along with the ability to see for the first time.” – Shawn Greyling
[Lagos] “is an explosion of noise, of traffic straight from hell and smog that would leave a Greenpeace junky grabbing at his Ben Sherman shirt sleeve to cover his mouth.” – Shawn Greyling
Lagos Vs Jozi – the conclusion
Although his first impression indicated a form culture shock, Shawn ended having a great time in Lagos. He ended up thinking that Lagos competes with Jozi for the best city in Africa.
On the drive back to the hotel I thought to myself, “Lord, Joburg’s got competition when it comes to being the best city in Africa…” – Shawn Greyling
In part one, I listed and described two apps I use in and around Jozi i.e. WhatsApp and VayaMoja.
3. Twitter mobile app
Twitter is my go-to mobile app for all things news and chitchat. In fact, I live and breath on the streets of Twitter! These social streets can be mean, strict, entertaining and wild, all at once. I spend 80% of my time on this platform observing the ever-unfolding drama of ‘follow‘ trains.
I enjoy reading varying perspectives. So, my favorite part of Twitter is the diversity of perspectives on a particular topic.
However, separating real and fake news is a challenge today especially on mobile apps such as Twitter. Lots of fake news abound on Twitter. My grudge with some Twitter users remains their lack of respect for human dignity as well as the careless distribution of half-truths, rumours, and lies. Otherwise, Twitter beats the other social media apps hands down!
Sometimes, you feel like not stepping outside your house. Dressing up and driving to the mall can be a turn-off and it is too time-consuming. The creators of Zulzi identified this frustration all too well.
Zulzi is a revolutionary mobile app that allows you to order from Woolworths, Pick ‘n Pay, Dis-Chem, Spar Tops, and Clicks (in +/- 1 hour).
The mobile app tracks and communicates as personal shoppers choose products in real time. There is also a driver who will deliver your order to your door. For me, this is classic.
Our experience with Zulzi
My family and I have been using Zulzi for over 6 months for grocery shopping, on an ad hoc basis. Honestly, the customer service is satisfactory. The shoppers are sometimes careless but they make up for it when you point it out. For example, there was a day we requested and paid for two tubs of ice cream and one of them had already been open (not eaten though). We spotted the error only after unpacking the groceries. We sent our shopper feedback and surprisingly, they replaced the ice cream. We also like the fact that they go to any length to find our requested items. Zulzi has proven to be a trusted app for our personal shopping needs during busy and lazy days.
Kwelha is a relatively new South African mobile app. It is specifically designed to assist commuters of taxis. The mobile app makes it easy to find the closest taxi ranks, contact details of taxi rank officials and the rank’s operating hours. It also shows you taxi fares, the routes operated by such ranks and it reports road incidents.
In my case, I rarely use the public taxis but I love the Khwela app for its excellent reportage on road traffic incidences. I have avoided several traffic delays as a result of this mobile app’s brilliant traffic incidents via push notifications.
Khwela notifies you of major and minor road incidents e.g. road accidents, road construction, police roadblocks, protest action, flood incidence, traffic light malfunction, vehicle breakdowns, and stationary vehicles in the middle of the road.
These are some of the traffic incident notifications that help me choose routes. The mobile app’s notifications also help me to be cautious and keep road safety a priority while driving. Thank you to the creators of this brilliant mobile app.
As an entrepreneur, it is important to cut cost while seeking to maximise profit (without compromising product and service quality). The free Wave invoicing app is one way for me to cut costs on my business administration. I find it to be very user-friendly. It gives me the freedom to assign invoicing and receipt accounts for my clients with the ease of enumerating the quantity, price, tax information and description of the goods or services that I offer.
The List of Occupations in High Demand will be reviewed every 2 years unless it is deemed necessary to do so earlier. The next list of occupations in high demand is planned to be published in 2020 (National List of Occupations in High Demand: 2018).
These jobs i.e. 130+ jobs in highest demand; 110+ jobs in higher demand; and 120+ jobs in high demand.
The idea of “Occupations in High Demand” encompasses the idea of historical, current and anticipated occupational growth trends (including new and emerging occupations), and occupational shortages (National List of Occupations in High Demand: 2018).
List of 110+ jobs in higher demand: 2018
Importer or Exporter
Service Station Manager
Mechanical Engineering Technologist
General Medical Practitioner
Early Childhood Development Practitioner
Financial Investment Advisor
Skills Development Facilitator/Practitioner
Labour Market Analyst
ICT Systems Analyst
JCT Risk Specialist
Electronic Engineering Technician
Fossil Power Plant Process Controller
Hydro Power Plant Process Controller
Nuclear Power Plant Process Controller
Wind Turbine Power Plant Process Controller
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Plant Process Controller
Weatherisation Installers and Technicians
Solar Photovoltaic Service Technician
Wind Turbine Service Technician
Agricultural Laboratory Technician
Data Quality Officer
Decision Support Analyst
Computer Network Technician
Geographic Information Systems Specialist
Geographic Information Systems Technicians
Client Services Administrator
Word Processing Operator
Machine Shorthand Reporter
Data Entry Operator
Road Traffic Controller
Carpenter and Joiner
Fire Services Plumber
Heat Pump Installer
Sheet metal worker
Fitter and Turner
Industrial Machinery Mechanic
Mechanical Equipment Repairer
Small Engine Mechanic
Heavy Equipment Mechanic
Lubrication Equipment Mechanic
Diamond and Gemstone Setter
Electrical Line Mechanic
Textile Wet Process Production Operator
Textile Wet Processes Finishing Machine Operator
Textile Printing Machine Operator
Fabric Bleaching Machine Operator
Textile D yeing Machine Operator/ Textile Dyer
Textile Dyeing and Printing Preparation Machine Operator
Jobs in high demand refer to occupations that have shown relatively strong employment growth, and/or are experiencing shortages in the labour market or which are expected to be in demand in the future (National List of Occupations in High Demand: 2018).
These jobs i.e. 130+ jobs in highest demand; 110+ jobs in higher demand; and 120+ jobs in high demand.
Jobs are in high demand if they:
have shown relatively strong employment or wage growth over the past 5 years;
are expected to show relatively strong employment growth in the future;
have been identified as being in shortage3 in the labour market;
are new and are expected to emerge in the near future as a result of innovation, technological advancements, the development of new industries, or the implementation of government strategic priorities (National List of Occupations in High Demand: 2018).
List of 120+ jobs in high demand: 2018
Personnel /Human Resources Manager
Training and Development Manager
Business Training Manager
Employee Wellness Manager
health and Safety Manager
Safety, Health, Environment, and Quality (SHE&Q) Practitioner
Security Services Manager
Security Risk Assessment Manager
Environmental Education Manager
Environmental Engineer (G)
Environmental Impact and Restoration Analyst
Chemical Engineering Technologist
Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health)
Registered Nurse (Community Health)
Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
Registered Nurse (Developmental Disability)
Registered Nurse (Disability and Rehabilitation)
Registered Nurse (Medical)
Registered Nurse (Medical Practice)
Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
Registered Nurse (Operating theatre)
Registered Nurse (Surgical)
Environmental Health Officer
Construction health and safety technician
Safety, Health, Environment, and Quality (SHE&Q) Practitioner
English As A Second Language Teacher
English Conversation Instructor
English Language Teacher
Database Designer and Systems Administrator
Database Designer and Administrator
Computer Network and Systems Engineer
ICT Security Specialist
Labour Market Economist
Food and Beverage Technician
Industrial Engineering Technician
Environmental Engineering Technician
Life Science Technician
Environmental Science Technician
Health Information Manager
Environmental and Occupational Health Inspector
Marine Safety Officer
Agricultural / Horticultural Produce Inspector
Aquaculture Produce Analyst
Sales Representative (Business Services)
Supply Chain Practitioner
Phone Centre Operator
Telephone Operator / Attendant
Stock Clerk / Officer
Dispatching and Receiving Clerk / Officer
Call Centre Salesperson
Residentjal Care Officer
Aged or Disabled Carer
Community Care Worker
Nursing Support Worker
Hazardous Materials Removal Workers
Aviation Security Tra iner /Officer
Security Electronic Installations
Retail Loss Prevention Officer
Forest and Conservation Workers
Telecommunications Line Mechanic
Clothing, Home Textiles and General Goods Cutter
Apparel and related pattern maker
Concrete batching plant operator
Weaving Machine Operator
Warping Machine Operator
Braiding Machine Operator
Non-woven Machine Operator
Textile Dry Finishing Machine Operator
Textile and Footwear Manufacturing Machine Minder
Bakery and Confectionary Products Machine Operator
The National List of Occupations in High Demand: 2018 is aimed at “improving the responsivenesss of post-school education and training system to the needs of the economy and the broader development objectives of the country”.
The list had three categories: 130+ jobs in highest demand; 110+ jobs in higher demand; and 120+ jobs in high demand.
List of 130+ jobs in highest demand: 2018
General Manager Public Service
Senior Government Official
Senior Government Manager
Chief Financial Officer
Internal Audit Manager
Corporate General Manager
Corporate Services Manager
Physical Asset Manager
Programme or Project Manager
Labour Recruitment Manager
Quality Systems Manager
Sales and Marketing Manager
Director of Marketing
[nteractive and Direct Marketing Strategist
Client Services Advisor
Customer Service Manager
Production / Operations Supervisor (Forestry)
Production / Operations Manager (Manufacturing)
Power Generation Operations Manager (G)
Manufacturing Quality Manager
Construction Project Manager
Supply And Distribution Manager
Road Transport Manager
Chief Information Officer
JCT Project Manager
Data Management Manager
Application Development Manager
Information Technology Manager
information Systems Director
Small Business Manager
Operations Manager (Non-Manufacturing)
Operations Foreman (Non-Manufacturing)
Food and Beverage Scientist
Industrial Engineering Technologist
Production Engineering Technologist
Civil Engineering Technologist
Mining engineering technologist
Agricultural Engineering Technologist
Materials engineering technologist
Materials non-destructive testing operators
Senior Secondary School Teacher (Grades 10-12)
Junior Secondary School Teacher (Grades 8 – 9)
Foundational Phase School Teacher
Senior Primary School Teacher (Grades 4-7)
Financial Markets Practitioner
Quality Assurance Analyst (Computers )
Master of the Court
Family Court Registrar
Civil Engineering Technician
Surveying or Cartographic Technician
Town Planning Technician
Electrical Engineering Technician
Electric Substation Operations Manager
Energy Efficiency Technician
Mechanical Engineering Technician
Pressure Equipment Inspector
Aeronautical Engineering Technician
Clerk of Works
Water Plant Operator
Waste Materials Plant Operator
Water Process Controller
Medical Laboratory Technician
ICT Communications Assistant
Broadcast Transmitter Operator
Camera Operator (Film, Television or Video)
Television Equipment Operator
Radio Station Operator
Production Assistant (Film, Television or Radio)
Tourist [nformation Officer
Child Care Worker
Electrical Installation Inspector
Weapon Systems Mechanic
The information about jobs in high demand was provided with the hope that it would be a source of useful insights into the skills needs of the economy and society. The department noted that the South African labour market is characterised by high levels of unemployment and skills shortages.
Jozi and Joburg are pet names for Johannesburg, which is the largest city in South Africa. Johannesburg is located in Gauteng, one of nine provinces in South Africa. The word Gauteng means the place of gold in Sotho, one of the eleven official languages in South Africa. Jozi’s coordinates are 26.2041° S (South), 28.0473° E (East). According to the City of Johannesburg, there are seven regions in Jozi.
The people in Jozi
The City of Johannesburg has a population of 4,4 million; 76,4% are black people, 12,3% are white people, 5,6% are coloured people, and 4,9% are Indian or Asian. (Statistics South Africa Census, 2011).
Airports in Joburg
There are three airports in Jozi, Oliver Reginald Tambo International in Kempton Park (popularly referred to as OR Tambo International), Grand Central Airport in Midrand, Lanseria International Airport in Lanseria, Rand Airport in Germiston, and Palmietfontein Airport.
Universities in Joburg
Joburg is home to two of South Africa’s best universities, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).
Tourism in Joburg
Some of the top things to see in Joburg are historic sites, landmarks, animal parks, flea markets, private animal sightseeing tours, and street markets. Here are some popular tourist activities:
City Sightseeing Joburg Bus for exploring the Carlton Center, Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill and much more.
Soweto’s Orlando Towers has bungee jumping, where you can jump from a suspension bridge with a rubber cord around your feet.
Apartheid Museum deal with 20th century South Africa, at the heart of which is the apartheid story.
Joburg Theatre is the “home to Joburg Ballet, Jill Girard and Keith Smith’s Peoples Theatre Company – performing throughout the year to children between the ages of 3 and 13 – and one of the country’s most respected community development projects in the arts, the tiny ‘black-box’ theatre known as space.com”.
Johannesburg Planetarium at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)
I have two smartphones that I cannot do without and 7 favourite mobile apps (that I will discuss shortly). No matter where I am going, I always take my Blackberry Priv (which runs on Google Android) and my iPhone 6 (which runs on iOS). My smartphones give me the freedom to access everything at the tap of a screen. The mobile apps on them allow me to access my money, request a taxi, find accommodation and order food. Our smartphones can now do everything that phones could not do decades ago.
Numbers tell a story
Statistically, mobile phones are progressively becoming part of the lives of billions of people globally. More than 62% of the world’s population owned a mobile phone as at 2016 compared to an estimated 50% global ownership of mobile phones in 2006.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the adoption of mobile devices has almost doubled within the last ten years with 44% subscriber penetration as at 2017.
There’s a mobile app for everything
The list of things you can do with smartphones and mobile apps is endless. With your smartphone and mobile apps, you can search for and find everything from schools, jobs, love, cooking recipes, accommodation, protection to transportation.
There’s a mobile app for everything. For example, I have a mobile app that monitors my heartbeat while my wife has a mobile app that monitors her monthly cycle. People have adopted mobile apps as their best friends. These mobile apps’ ability to make our lives easier have increased their global acceptance.
My favourite mobile apps
At the moment, there are 7 mobile apps that stand out for me. These apps’ functionality ranges from messaging, transport, shopping, journaling, training to business enhancement. These 7 mobile apps have helped me to reduce my stress levels and increase my productivity. I will briefly go through each app with a review of my personal experience.
1. WhatsApp – instant messaging app
WhatsApp has significantly cut down costs associated with my phone calls and messaging. Starting with international calls, which are very expensive. The advent of WhatsApp has brought ease in the frequency of calling Lagos (Nigeria) from Johannesburg at any time of the day. Gone are the days when I had to load R110 airtime on my Vodacom phone or R100 airtime on my MTN phone just to make a call for 1 hour or less. At times, my airtime would even disappears. Things have changed, I now use Rain to make calls via WhatsApp’s steadily improving service quality. I finally have more quality time with family and friends across the WhatsApp messaging, video and voice call offerings. This app is a go!
VayaMoja is a public transport mobile app developed by the City of Johannesburg for ReaVaya and MetroBus commuters. Even though I started using the Johannesburg Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) service around July in 2018, my experience has been mostly pleasant.
ReaVaya – safe, affordable and convenient
ReaVaya is tsotsitaal meaning, ‘We are going’. The ReaVaya public transport service presently runs through the bustling inner city of Johannesburg on dedicated road lanes connecting the various townships in Soweto and the Braamfontein areas. The city management has plans to expand to other parts of the city in the future. The bus system is safe, cheap, comfortable and fairly reliable. Compared to driving to certain parts of the city in a car, ReaVaya can be more affordable and convenient. The Reavaya bus is clean with spacious leg room and comfortable seating pads. It also has wide windows that give good street views and if you are standing, there are handheld ropes and poles to keep you safe within the bus. The busses are also well managed as you will rarely find any of their buses abruptly stop in traffic due to mechanical faults (unlike Putco buses).
Increased fuel prices and affordable public transport
Considering the rising cost of petrol, ReaVaya was my common sense mode of transport when traveling to the ‘traffic jammed’ Johannesburg inner city. I downloaded VayaMoja smartphone app because I wanted to be in charge of my trips. Asking for direction from bus station staff or fellow commuters can be confusing and stressful. The app gives users the ability to search for routes, the bus fare, transit points, and bus schedules and of course transit related information.
Find the nearest Metrobus or ReaVaya station via VayaMoja
My favorite feature on the VayaMoja app is the ability to see the closest bus station and service routes to me. Right within the bus route pane, you can also see where a specific bus is coming from and where it is going. This mobile app is user-friendly and it has helped me to plan my trips.
The bad side of ReaVaya
Of course, Rea Vaya has its shortcomings. It is expected to be on schedule but my friend, be ready for unpleasant surprises (sometimes). My first shocking experience of limited busses was at the Library Gardens East Bus Station at Joburg Central Business District (CBD). The number of commuters waiting for pickup was overwhelming. One of the bus station staff members attributed the delay to fewer buses on the trunk routes serving the CBD and connecting my destination. With this experience, I now prepare ahead for the worst case scenario – most especially around late afternoons and weekends.
In conclusion, VayaMoja is a great app that guarantees convenience and ease of access to public transport information in Johannesburg.
Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centreis one of Johannesburg’s hiden travel treasures. I found out about the centre on a Sunday morning during my 10-kilometer hike to Auckland Park. The Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centreis one of many destinations that make Johannesburg a great travel destination.
Fun things to do in Johannesburg
The moment I found out about Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centre, I added it to my list of fun things to do in Johannesburg. Sadly, it is closed on Sundays so I couldn’t go inside the centre. Therefore, it has to go on my list of fun places to visit in Johannesburg.
I will visit Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centre
Prior to finding out about this centre, the only thing I knew about Sophiatown was that there were forceful removals of Black South Africans at some point in history. This is why I was happy to have found that the Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centrehas preserved the history of Sophiatown. Before I visit the centre and share my travel experience, here is what I found out about the Sophiatown of old.
Sophiatown: Past, Triomf and Present
There are three properties in the Sophiatown area that survived the oppressive South African apartheid government. After the destruction of most of the properties during apartheid, the area was renamed ‘Triomf’ which means ‘Victory’ or ‘Triumph’.
It literally means “we (the white people) now have victory over this area and we have dominated it for our use”.
Prior to the destruction of Sophiatown, the area was famous for its rich multicultural flavor. In the 1940’s and early 1950’s, Sophiatown was a melting pot of tribes and races. Several notable artists, politicians and jazz musicians congregated to have conversations and to use their talents to condemn the racist government of their time. It was a breeding ground for anti-apartheid activists.
Trevor Huddleston and Dr. Alfred Xuma
Trevor Huddleston’s and Dr. Alfred Xuma’s houses are two out of three houses that survived the demolision of the old Sophiatown. Trevor Huddleston was a local priest in the old Sophiatown. His house was next to Dr. Alfred Bitini Xuma’s house. Dr. Xuma was an exceptional medical practitioner in his time and he was a former president of the African National Congress (ANC).
We won’t move movement
Trevor Huddleston, Ruth First, Nelson Mandela, and Helen Joseph were some of the anti-apartheid activists who condemned the destruction of Sophiatown. They were part of the ‘we won’t move movement’ when the Sophiatown area was razed to the ground by bulldozers on 9 February 1955. This was done to give way for new housing developments for white people (whites only areas).
Over 2000 fully armed policemen partook in the forceful removals of Black, Coloured, Indian and Chinese people who were living in Sophiatown.
Black people were relocated to a township in Soweto called Meadowlands. The sad relocation inspired the soulful music of Sibongile Kumalo and others. Thandi Klaassen’s even gave a tribute to Sophiatown in her ‘Together As One’ album.
“Sophiatown was indeed the place they all knew. It was where their dreams came true until the white man came to break it down”. – Thandi Klaassen’
Several other artists sang beautiful melodies about the pain of the forced removal of Black people from Sophiatown.
Freedom at last
Thankfully, apartheid’s head has been crushed and Sophiatown’s heritage of multi-plurality has been restored. The rich flavors of art have returned. Life in its fullness is now free for all.
If you have additional information about Sophiatown or Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centre, please share it with me in the comments section. I would also love to read your personal experience of life in Sophiatown. I hope to share more photos of my experience at the museum as soon as I visit.
Google Map of Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centre
The address of the Sophiatown Heritage and Cultural Centre is 71-73 Toby Street corner Edward Road, Sophiatown, Johannesburg. For more information, you can call the Centre on 011 673 1271 or visit their website on www.sophiatownthemix.com.
Nigeria is an interesting and unique country that everyone should travel to at least once in their lifetime. In this article, I will take you through what you need to pack when you are traveling there.
If you are a first-time traveler to Nigeria, please ensure that you read the entire article. I wrote this article with you in mind.
First-time traveler to Nigeria?
Although I live in Johannesburg, I was born and bred in Nigeria so I am confident that the tips in this article will help you.
Nigeria’s weather and climate
Nigeria has two basic weather seasons; dry and wet seasons. This is typical of most tropical countries. The dry season is winter and it starts in November and ends in March. In contrast, summer is a rainy season in Nigeria; it starts in April and ends in October.
The weather in Nigeria is generally hot throughout the year. However, there are varying weather temperatures. The hottest month in Lagos, Nigeria is February with temperatures averaging 28°C. In contrast, July is the city’s coldest month with an average temperature of 24°C.
What you should pack for the trip
Considering the predominantly hot climate in Nigeria, it is important to plan ahead before visiting Nigeria. You should aim to dress for comfort and convenience.
Below is a list of items to travel with and tips to bear in mind while packing your travel suitcase.
Tackle the heat with sunglasses, hat, umbrella, sunscreen, wipes, and a water bottle.
I recommend that you pack polarized sunglasses with a UV filter. The sun’s rays can be hazardous to your eyes so you should protect yourself.
Pack a broad-brimmed hat to keep your hair, skin, and eyes cool. You will need to cover up because the sun’s ray can be unbearably hot in Lagos, Nigeria.
Pack a small fold up travel sun umbrella to shade you from the sun. Come rain or shine, you will be covered.
I find wet wipes to be very useful in weather conditions associated with dust and sweat. They come really handy for neatly cleaning out your face and palms.
Sunscreen prevents sunburn, skin cancer, and skin irritation. Protect your skin by adding sunscreen to your traveling bag.
Nigeria is hot. Therefore you will need to stay hydrated. You should pack a water bottle and buy bottled water from reputable stores when outdoor.
Unfortunately, most taps are dry in Nigeria. Moreover, the water from most government taps is not suitable for human consumption. Therefore, drinking directly from the government taps is risky.
Cotton underwear absorbs your body’s sweat. That is because Cotton is a natural fiber that significantly helps to prevent sweat. Lightweight cotton underwear is breathable and will ensure the flow of air around your bikini area.
Ensure that the swimwear that you pack has cotton linings. The swimwear will come in handy on days when you want to soak in your hotel’s swimming pool or at any of the popular Lagos beaches.
Similar to Durban, Lagos is a coastal city with several beaches.
Cotton socks will help contain the sweat from your feet and prevent that stinky foot smell we all dislike. This will also help when you are visiting religious or cultural centers where it is compulsory for you to take off your shoes e.g. churches, mosques, and monarch’s palaces.
Nail clippers, open toe shoes, jackets and boots
Pack nail clippers. In hot weather conditions, your toenails can be a breeding spot for germs, cut your nails as often as possible.
Ensure that you pack open toe shoes i.e. sandals or flip-flops (Nigerians call them slippers). They are comfortable, convenient and easy to wear in the heat.
It is commonplace to experience sudden weather changes. The weather can change from been hot to cold. In situations such as these, you will need a jersey, sweater or jacket.
Side note: Due to the heat, air conditioners are popular features in homes, offices, and cars in Nigeria.
Bonus Tip: Wear your heaviest shoes or boots when flying. It lightens your luggage load.
Whether you call it Johannesburg Zoo or Joburg Zoo, the zoo in Johannesburg can be a good spot for a family picnic. How do I know? Well, my husband and I recently visited Johannesburg Zoo for the first time.
Pitori to Jozi
We are still new to Johannesburg so it took a while for us to start exploring it. Phela growing up in Pretoria (Pitori), we were told horror stories about Johannesburg (Jozi). Those Jozi crime stories were enough to keep me away from the city of gold. If it wasn’t for my job and husband, I doubt that I would left Pretoria for Johannesburg.
Entrance and parking fees at Johannesburg Zoo
Enough about Pretoria. We’re in Johannesburg now so let me tell you about our first trip to Johannesburg Zoo. We went to the zoo on a Monday afternoon in December. The first thing we did after parking, was to escort our son to the restrooms. We used the restrooms near the zoo’s covered multi-level parking, which is spacious, ample and secure. After paying for parking (R16 per car) and entrance (R80 per adult and R55 per child), the unfriendly zoo staff granted us access. The zoo staff and security guards didn’t feel like being helpful on that day. To add to that, the signage was faded and confusing.
Joburg Zoo has ATMs, food trucks and picnic areas
Despite the cold welcome, we enjoyed watching and (in some cases) interacting with different animals. We started by the birds section so we saw birds, birds, birds and more birds. It was getting boring for me. Luckily, my two favourite people (Akin and Akin) didn’t mind much. Johannesburg Zoo has several food trucks that sell food but I packed a picnic bag full of food. My husband generously carried the heavy picnic backpack everywhere we went. Unfortunately, I forgot the picnic blanket so we had to sit at the concrete bench and chair sets. Luckily, Johannesburg Zoo has a lot of those sitting arrangements – chairs, benches and tables. I was happy to see that Johannesburg Zoo had ATMs on site and rubbish bins throughout the zoo. We bought ice cream from one of the food trucks that had a card machine before venturing off again.
Tiger, woods and a lonely elephant
Eventually, we saw a tiger. It looked exactly like the tiger on the Tiger Brands logo but it was a lot bigger than I expected. We also saw one lonely-looking elephant. The elephant’s home was surrounded by peacocks that appeared to be ready to reproduce. They were running around freely everywhere – some didn’t have their colourful feathers anymore. That was a sad sight. On a brighter note, we also saw a rhino, lemurs, monkeys and antelopes.
Late for the Amazon Exhibition
However, the Amazon animal section, where marine animals, are kept was closed. It was our fault, we arrived a bit late to the zoo. The Johannesburg Zoo is open weekdays and weekends (Monday – Sunday) from 08:30 – 17:30 but the Amazon section closes around 3pm. Trying to get my family to leave the house early (together) is like pulling teeth. It is painful to endure and horrifying to watch (all at the same time).
The tale of the fighting zebras
Speaking of horrifying moments, we came across the zebras. I have always found zebras to be peaceful and uneventful but not this time.
Yoh! The zebras at Johannesburg Zoo were wild. They were so wild that even my son (who can also be wild) was a bit scared.
The boy and zebra
We walked through a narrow passage and passed some white cranes (and squirrels) on our left. The zebras were on our right hand side. My son and I were walking ahead of daddy (who was admiring the cranes even after having seen a billion birds). My son then decided to run and to my surprise the zebra ran along him (behind the mesh fence). This boy showed no fear and continued to run with this wild zebra.
After I asked my son to stop playing with the zebra (in a not so quiet tone), we proceeded to the other side to see more zebras.
This time, we saw sets of zebras, two of which were fighting like wild animals
Yes, I meant to write that!
The end and the beginning of the next visit
The smallest zebra kept on going back for round after round of kicks, bites and what sounded like insults from the bigger zebra. It was interesting to watch at first until the small started zebra crying. This was my first time hearing a zebra cry over and over. These fighting zebras went at this for almost 20 minutes. They were still fighting when we left them.
On my next visit to the Johannesburg Zoo, I am going to check on those fighting zebras. Wish me luck!