What to get up to in Sandton

Posted by Selinah on Mon July 16, 2018.

Famously known for being the “the richest square mile in Africa”, Sandton is more than just a retail and business hub. The area offers a wide range of interesting and diverse venues, regular events, attractions and historical sites. Here are some options to explore on your next visit:

Browse through a market

There are a number of regular markets in and around Sandton, offering great food, entertainment and craft. One of the most prominent is the Bryanston Organic & Natural Market, which was established back in 1976 and has remained a holistic haven in the area with its focus on organic and natural products.

Look forward to wholesome food, art, sculpture and fine handcraft, quality clothing and jewellery, entertainment and children’s activities. Also look out for a number of health and wellness stalls, accessories, stylish homeware and much more.

So whether you’re looking for healthy organic products, a tranquil break from the city’s bustle of a coffee and sweat treat, this is the place to be.

The market, at 40 Culross Road, Bryanston, is open on Thursdays, Saturdays and selected public holidays from 9am until 3pm.

Pop out to a nature reserve

When you think Sandton, you inevitably think skyscrapers and congestion. While nature reserves are probably the last thing on your mind, did you know that the Rietfontein Nature Reserve is a quick 20-minute drive from this commercial hub? The 24ha reserve in Paulshof is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including antelope, mousebirds and Southern masked weavers, and offers amazing views of the city.

There’s a walking trail suitable for everyone, including kids. The Friends of Rietfontein is a group of volunteers who help to protect, preserve and promote the reserve. Check their page online for Johannesburg City Parks contacts if you’d like to arrange a special event in the reserve.

The reserve is open daily from 6am to 6pm and entrance is free.

Take a step back in history

Some of South Africa’s most significant historical sights are in Johannesburg. A stone’s throw from Sandton is Liliesleaf farm in Rivonia, which played an integral part in the liberation struggle against apartheid.

Liliesleaf served as an operations base and safehouse for freedom fighters for almost two years in the early 1960s and was the site where six of the 10 accused in the infamous Rivonia Trial were arrested for planning to overthrow the apartheid government.

Today the farm is a heritage site, operates as a museum and has an onsite café.

Liliesleaf is open daily for self-guided and educational tours, unless the venue is closed for a function. Groups of 10 or more need to book their visit in advance. For more information and opening hours, click here.

Nelson Mandela Square

When all is said and done, there’s a reason why Sandton is known for glitz and glamour, so you can’t visit Johannesburg without actually experiencing it. Few areas exemplify the dazzle and excitement more than Nelson Mandela Square.

Refurbished and renamed in 2004, the square is dominated by a huge, striking bronze statue of former president Nelson Mandela. The statue is usually surrounded by tourists and locals grabbing the opportunity to be photographed with their icon.

The square is located adjacent to the landmark Sandton City shopping mall, and boasts exclusive shopping, upmarket restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating, and the Theatre on the Square for those wanting to take in some culture.

The space is also home to the Sandton Library, a tranquil three-storey  public building housing more than 92 000 books, newspapers, audiobooks, videos and more.

Shop until you drop

Looking for contemporary, hassle-free shopping? Woodmead Retail Park along Woodmead Drive offers more than 80 retail stores, restaurants and service outlets, such as optometrists, car-wash services, a vet and a travel agent.

Whether it’s fashion retail therapy, grocery shopping, coffee with friends or a stylish evening out you’re after, the centre has what you’re looking for – as well as ample safe parking.

Once you’ve checked out some of the country’s biggest retail brands housed in the centre, head to the News Cafe cocktail bar next door,  a stand-alone addition to the retail park.