Johannesburg is arguably the most vibrant and cosmopolite metropole in Africa. As a central district with a continuously growing and refreshing scene, Braamfontein is definitely one of the coolest areas of Johannesburg. Because the West Campus of Wits University is in Braamfontein, the streets are packed with students along with bikers, skaters and hipsters. The artsy buildings, galleries and museums add to the bohemian feeling. So, how can you make the best of your visit to Braamfontein? Here are a few suggestions:
- The Johannesburg Fort and Constitution Hill is a signature landmark for those who are curious about the suppression policies of the apartheid government. The former prison accommodated many anti-apartheid activists from Nelson Mandela to Mahatma Gandhi.
- The Wits Arts Museum is probably one of the biggest museums in Africa with more than 9000 artefacts from traditional to contemporary art.
- Speaking of Wits, the university founded some distinguished institutes like the Johannesburg Planetarium hosting documentaries about space and astronomy, and Bernard Price Institute of Paleontology boasting a large collection of fossils. The Origins Centre Museum at the university is guaranteed to take you back in time to where it all began. You can see many exhibitions that contain collections of rock art painting and findings from excavations.
- The grand Joburg Theatre is waiting for visitors who feel like watching local versions of Broadway hits, ballet performances and more.
READ: 24 Hours in Johannesburg
- Braamfontein is home to some of the best street markets of Johannesburg. The Neighbourgoods Market offers a great variety of products from farm products to handcrafts, from hand-made clothes to fresh street food.
- The Neighbourgoods Market was already listed above, but we should put it here just in case.
- Love Food is a cosy yet casual eatery serving lunch buffets. Great prices for delicious, fresh food. This indie-styled cafe is perfect for solo travellers or those needing a space to work.
- POST is a great option for a filling breakfast or lunch. Salmon on rye and flapjacks served with bacon, honey, yoghurt and fruits are the signature meals on the menu.
- Father Coffee is a small but top-ranked coffee shop often regarded as one of the best coffee shops in Johannesburg.
- Velo is renowned for its gourmet sandwiches and cocktail menu.
- The Orbit [Currently closed but seeking investors] was a gathering place for professional and amateur musicians who performed almost every night. The highlights of the menu were lamb stir-fry, Cajun Chicken and oxtail casserole.
- The Wits Art museum complex includes a restaurant called Olives and Plates with a large selection of gourmet sandwiches, salads, wraps and chicken.
- If all else fails, pull into the Nandos of Braamfontein. They serve up flame-grilled chicken in spicy sauces. A favourite meal to most in SA.
- Kitcheners is a thrift store during the day, but it’s also one of the oldest bars in Joburg. Think of it as the Grand Bazaar in Turkey, only with live music, comedy shows and booze.
- Bannister Hotel has a rooftop bar suitable for dancing. The place gets very crowded on weekends and First Thursdays.
- Great Dane is the heart of dancing with so many Salsa – Bachata nights, swing dance events and even free lessons from time to time.
- The Artivist combines live music, gallery art, and drinks to make it the coolest secret hangout in Braamfontein. An exciting new bar worth checking out.
- Randlords is another rooftop venue on the 22nd floor that hosts live music evenings and private functions.
- Republic of 94 is a quirky venue with a 15-meter long bar, a backyard with a beer garden and colourful walls with murals.
“Braams’, Johannesburg’s coolest neighbourhood is rich in art, history, cheap drinks, good food and cool locals. It has a large student population and a boho scene. We invite you to explore the streets of Braamfontein.