Bigger and better in 2016, the recently ended Joburg Shopping Festival (JSF) included 14 days of magical shopping deals and lifestyle experiences across the City of Lights. 3 weeks ago, I started my countdown to Africa’s leading Shopping Festival with my official JSF guide. On July 27 2016, I kicked off the popular JSF with 5 African bloggers and influencers from South Africa, Nigeria, and Namibia. Botswana and Kenya. Over the next 3 days, we experienced the legendary GP lifestyle and all that is the JSF. With exciting mall tours and lifestyle adventures. The JSF showcased the South African commercial capital, Joburg as the place to not just shop but also a City that offers its guests a whole lifestyle experience. Here is my rundown of Kicking It with the Joburg Shopping Festival
Taking in Braamfontein
**The Welcoming! **
Juta Street , Braamfontein
After an early departure from Harare, I arrived lifestyle ready in Joburg. Checking into City Lodge Hotel in Newtown (an area part of the inner City regeneration), I was warmly welcomed at the new hotel which is modern and conveniently located adjacent to the Newtown Junction which is perfect for some shopping and dinning. Newtown undeniably offers an urban, modern and cosmopolitan feel to the city.
After settling in, it was time for lunch in Braamfontein at the Smoke House Grill for some delicious grilled treats. The restaurant is located on the vibey and urban Juta street known for its entertainment in Braamfontein
The official welcoming at the très chic, Après-Spa located at the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff.
After a lovely lunch, it was time to get ready for the official welcome cocktail at the très chic, Après-Spa located at the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff. Adorned in a Tapfumanei Munenge Couture creation, we were welcomed by the JSF team to kick off the highly anticipated festival together with South African and African media. The beautiful Après-Spa’s breath-taking views made it the ideal spot to mingle and welcome the festival with fellow bloggers and influencers.
Après-Spa’s breath-taking view
With Fellow bloggers/ influencers (left to right , Knaomi [South Africa], Sean K [Namibia], Lola OJ [ Nigeria], me, Just Joy Kendi [Kenya] , Gwen Isaacs [ Botswana]
**Day 1 “Oriental Deals, Newtown Vibes and Champagne with David Tlale”**
Kicking of the JSF we headed to Oriental Plaza known for its deals, cultural offerings and unique shopping experience.From fabric shopping, Shisha flavours to fantastic gadgets and accessories there are great deals. Known for its affordable pricing yet high quality. One of the highlights of the JSF are the discounts and fantastic competitions one can enter simply by spending R250.
The Potato Shed
After bargain hunting and deal searching at the Oriental Plaza. We returned to Newtown for a rustic lunch at the newly opened Potato Shed. The Potato Shed’s interior is a beautiful fusion of a rustic grill house and hints of traditional shed decor with an avant-garde finish. The menu offers a selection of food and ofcourse potatoes in all shapes and forms ranging from fries, baked potatoes and mash. Funnily enough though, they don’t do wedges lol
Exploring , the innovative Newtown Workshop supporting local fashion
The lunch was followed by the tour of the innovative Newtown Workshop which is certainly a must visit. The trendy spot is a collective of African designers and creators. It allows for local shopping and engagement with designers. From Kisua to Sophia Bali there are several local designers and artists whose works are on sale. The vibe is fantastic and it is a brilliant concept to help drive the local industry.
David Tlale’s Pop Up shop on Fox Street
After shopping at the Newtown Workshop , we headed out for Champagne and Chocolate with the king of Fashion himself, David Tlale at his pop up store on Fox street. The bold and minimalistic space certainly set the fashion scene and allowed for shopping, networking and all around fabulosity with the renowned fashion designer, David Tlale.
A moment with the man himself , David Tlale
Champagne, Chocolate and fashion
**Day 2 “East Rand and Vilakazi, Soweto and Harem”**
The day started off with a quick stop at East Rand mall which also houses a number of stores and shops. I spent a few minutes in the Edgars store which was having a pretty amazing sale all part of the epicness that is Joburg Shopping Festival!
Thereafter, it was time to head to Soweto for the African influencers photo shoot on the iconic Vilakazi street wearing none other than David Tlale styled by Papama Ramogase and photographed by the Sunday Times. Having previously been to Vilakazi street in 2014, it felt wonderful to return. The vibe and atmosphere in Soweto is one of a kind and is such a happening place to be in especially in the afternoon.
Shooting on Vilakazi Street in Soweto
After makeup and wardrobe changes, the influencers took to Vilakazi for some amazing individual and group shots. The buzz and energy was certainly memorable and I will definitely be sharing the photos here on my blog. After winding down the shoot, it was time for some local cuisine at Vuyos.
Touring Soweto and Nelson Mandela’s House on Vilakazi street
The dining and bar experience on Vilakazi are a haven for both local and international tourists. This is certainly a must stop when in Jozi. We also had an opportunity to tour the Mandela family House Museum which he occupied before his arrest. The tour is definitely a must on the site seeing itinerary especially for the history enthusiasts. Vilakazai is a thriving tourist destination spot full of community, history and an amazing vibe.
In true gp lifestyle fashion, we celebrated Friday night at the popular Harem nightclub. Joburg is not just a business and shopping spot but it also a city known for its entertainment. We let our hair down for a fun night of good music, city lights and some bottles of the finest champagnes and spirits.
Day 3 , “Helicopter views and The North”
Still attempting to recover from the night before at Harem. Our last and final day kicked off with us at Rand airport for an exciting helicopter ride with Fly SA Wise.The stunning helicopter ride allowed us to view the city from new heights and what more could a girl want than a bird’s eye view. The hustle and bustle of one of Africa’s largest economies as well as an expanding city makes it an impressive skyline to fly. It is magical!
Bird’s eye view of Johannesburg
After the spectacular helicopter ride, it was time to head to the north for some shopping at Rosebank Mall. The stylish mall does not only have a great selection of shops and eateries but a handy information desk and mall plan. For the new visitor, it is convenient and easy to navigate. Once again there were fantastic deals and stores such as Kameraz had severalcamera products on sale.
Rosebank Mall is also conveniently located next to the Gautrain which has revolutionized transport and travelling in JHB especially for the business and holiday tourists. The Gautrain now means you can get around the city easily and so we took the Gautrain to get to our next stop , Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square.
Dinner at the Nelson Mandela Square
Nelson Mandela Square and Sandton City offers a good variety of high end shops as well as more affordable stores in the heart of Joburg’s most upmarket metropolitan area. The Sandton area is certainly a favourite with tourists as it is known for its great retail offerings, accessibility via the Gautrain and its growing sky scrapers making it a business hub too.
The trip ended with a lovely dinner at the Nelson Mandela Square with my sister before ubering back to the hotel. Uber is another mode of transport making it easier to move around the city. Then it was time to pack and return back to Sunshine City.
The JSF is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the best Joburg has to offer. The City of lights is full of history, businesses, and a thriving entertainment calendar. From site seeing, shopping, dinning to relaxing there is something for everyone. The economic hub that is Joburg allows for great choice for any budget. So whether it is staying at the City Lodge in Newtown or in a suite at the Michelangelo Towers, there are fantastic deals and options. JSF offers you to make some great deals at the participating malls which are certainly a shopping lovers’ dream and will satisfy the savers’ bargain wish list too. Joburg’s gp lifestyle and thriving economy make it a hotspot for us African tourists who flock there. The quality service, convenient transport system, diversity and retail offerings make it a must stop destination. From exploring local fashion in Newtown , to cultural experiences at the Oriental Plaza or luxury retail therapy at Nelson Mandela Square to vibing out on Vilakazi and popping bottles in Harem , one certainly has to explore Joburg. It is no doubt that the City of Lights hosts Africa’s leading Shopping Festival.What a memorable experience. For now , it is time to get saving for JSF 2017! See you soon Joburg…