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5 Healthy Days in Johannesburg




Giraffes in JohannesburgThe next stop on our five healthy days tour is South Africa’s Johannesburg, which is affectionately called Joburg, Jozi, and Egoli (City of Gold).

Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and is considered the commercial heart of the country.  There is a lot to see and do in this bustling destination, so here’s how you can do and see it all while staying healthy.

Day 1

Breakfast: The Whippet is a trendy coffee shop with impeccable food. Start your day here with the mushroom breakfast entrée – grilled Portobello mushrooms on bread with warm tomato, rocket relish and a poached egg. Be sure to try one of their many espresso drinks or boutique teas, which are freshly brewed right at your table.

Workout: Take a jog through Emmarentia Dam/ Johannesburg Botanical Garden, one of the city’s best running spots. There are plenty of well-marked and paved tracks through the garden’s beautiful scenery.

Lunch: District Six Eatery is touted as a great restaurant by international visitors. Their chicken and vegetable curry are both tasty and healthy options.

Mind/body balance: Head over to Gandhi Square, which was the site of the city’s first courthouse. It was originally named Government Square and later Van der Byl Square, but it was renamed in Gandhi’s honor, along with the construction of a statue, to commemorate the contribution he made in Johannesburg’s struggle for liberation and justice.

Must-see attraction: The Apartheid Museum is one of the top-rated attractions for travelers in Johannesburg. The museum uses film, text, audio and live accounts to illustrate the rise and fall of Apartheid in South Africa, in addition to inspiring accounts of the struggle toward democracy.

Dinner: Get an authentic taste of Africa at Narina Trogon. Its menu of locally sourced seasonal food is always changing, but keep an eye out for the butternut and sweet potato curry for dinner.

Day 2

Breakfast: Fuel up for your day at Junipa’s café and bistro with the continental platter of local cheese, preserves, sliced meats and artisan bread.

Workout: Try the Art of Running’s boot camp, which will challenge your strength, balance, coordination, and agility. Make sure you bring a mat, towel, water and suitable running shoes.

Lunch: If its name doesn’t give it away, the restaurant Le Soufflé specializes in both savory and sweet soufflés. Try the soufflé of shrimp and asparagus with a touch of coriander.

Mind/body balance: Constitution Hill overlooks the bustling city providing a unique perspective of Johannesburg and its rich history. The exhibitions on display here showcase South Africa’s heritage and advocate human rights.

Must-see attraction: Market on Main showcases the best in arts and food that Joburg has to offer. This market, which is set in the Arts on Main complex, houses some of the city’s leading galleries and artist studios.

Dinner: Head to Canteen restaurant right in the Arts of Main complex to finish out your day. Opt for this spot’s Scottish salmon.

Day 3

Breakfast: You’ll be relaxed and feel like you’re sitting in the middle of a garden at The Pudding Shop. This restaurant specializes in vegan dishes, so you should try the sautéed sweet potatoes topped with field mushrooms, baby spinach and Rosa tomatoes to kick start your day.

Workout: Drop into one of Yoga Warrior Studio’s classes – they have classes for yogis of every level.

Lunch: Take a mid-day break at the Burnside Café for lunch. Indulge in the mozzarella and veg salad – a salad of marinated peppers, grilled zucchini, roasted tomato and bocconcini (a type of Italian mozzarella) with a chili basil dressing.

Mind/body balance: Explore the Johannesburg Zoo and its collection of farm animals, from small to giant breeds, both indigenous to the country and from abroad.

Must-see attraction: The museum CIRCA on Jellicoe, though small, was designed with the idea of conveying the importance of architecture to support public space, and the need for people to be able to socialize and gather in places in which they feel comfortable, safe and inspired. It not only houses works of art, but the building itself was created to celebrate art, architecture and the way of life in Johannesburg.

Dinner: Five Hundred at the Saxon is the best fine dining restaurant in the city. Order the four-course dinner with courses including green tomato soup, halibut, seasonal squash, and the apple dessert dish (it’s okay – you can splurge on dessert one night).

Day 4

Breakfast: Moemas may specialize in cakes and pastries, but you can have a healthy breakfast here of fresh fruit paired with house-made granola, Greek yogurt and honey.

Workout: Head to Joburg’s brand new Metro Park, which features a free outdoor gym with an instructor.

Lunch: The Leopard restaurant is known for its fusion of French and Ethiopian cuisine. Similar to other restaurants in the city, The Leopard’s menu is constantly changing based on the availability of fresh ingredients. Try their tapas of white anchovies with parsley, lemon rind and Spanish onion on toast.

Mind/body balance: Walk hand-in-trunk with elephants at The Elephant Sanctuary. Learn about these majestic creatures while getting up close and personal with them.

Must-see attraction: Whether you’re a history buff or not, the Ditsong National Museum of Military History is one of the most popular attractions in the city. This museum was opened in 1947 to preserve the history of South Africa’s involvement in WWII.

Dinner: Gwefey isn’t like every other Asian-style restaurant in the city. This dining spot offers up traditional dishes from Beijing to Shanghai, Thailand to Tokyo. Start with the soup “Tom Yum Koogn,” which is a prawn broth infused with lemon grass, limejuice, fresh coriander and chili. End your meal with steamed king scallops in a crushed garlic sauce.

Day 5

Breakfast: The Green Peppercorn serves breakfast until noon. Get your day started with the muesli granola served with fresh fruit, yogurt and mint.

Workout: Head to Zoo Lake for a nice run around the small lake. You could even stop in to The Zoo Lake Sports Club for a boot camp session if the run isn’t enough for you.

Lunch: Get your fill of authentic African food at Moyo. We suggest you try the line fish yassa – fresh line fish grilled with a bell pepper base sauce, paprika, and sliced olives on couscous.

Mind/body balance: Step into Mary Fitzgerald Square. It’s a public space named after Mary “Pickhandle” Fitzgerald, who is considered to have been the first female trade unionist in the country, and who played a key role in the 1910 miners’ strike.

Must-see attraction: Stroll through Joburg’s Neighbourgoods Market – a local source for farm fresh foods and specialty goods in a modernist building that has a 15-story wall mural by the artist Eduardo Villa.

Dinner: Finish out your last healthy day in Joburg with dinner at Lucky Bean, which specializes in African cuisine. While many people may tell you to try their ostrich burger, keep it healthy with this restaurant’s main dish of quinoa and beets consisting of roasted beets and butternut squash with beetroot purée and nuts.


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Linda Barbara

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