Ask a Local: #MyJoburg by World Wide Nate

In our weekly Ask a Local series we catch up with locals and visitors who have found themselves falling for Joburg. To get the scoop on what makes Joburg unique, this week we talk to global TV star Nathan Fluellen, aka World Wide Nate.

It was during high school that the travel bug first bit Nathan Fluellen, the creator, host and producer of extreme adventure TV show World Wide Nate: African Adventures. Raised in South Side Chicago on stories about his mother’s mission travels across the globe World Wide Nate started globe-trotting in 2004, and has visited 50 countries and six continents.  His thirst for travel is unquenchable and his escapades span everything from running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, to swimming with jellyfish around the islands of Palau.

One of the first sponsored American tourists to visit Cuba in more than 50 years, Nathan’s travels also contain an element of philanthropy. On a recent trip to Paje, Zanzibar, Nathan teamed up with travel group RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Life on a feeding programme which reached 300 elderly villagers. In World Wide Nate: African Adventures Nathan sets out to demystify travelling to Africa for the average American millennial, showcasing the various cuisines, cultures and adventures that can be experienced on the African continent.

Following his visit to Joburg in May, we caught up with him to find out just what it is that keeps him returning to Joburg.

What brought you to Joburg?
This is my third time coming to Joburg and I wanted to get a better understanding of life here. My previous visits were ‘run and gun’ trips. After doing research I wanted to learn about Yeoville, Maboneng and spend more time in Braamfontein.

Favourite Joburg suburb?
I’ve stayed in Sandton and visited Melrose Arch but Yeoville was electric when I went to the Yeoville Dinner Club. I’m from the South Side of Chicago and never shy away from the grittier areas of a city. It was refreshing and familiar to find fellowship in that part of town.

Three things a visitor should not leave Joburg without experiencing:
Firstly the Yeoville Dinner Club, Sanza is a great host and the food is the bomb. Secondly, check out Maboneng on a Sunday for the market, street vendors and vibe. The Kwa Mai Mai Market is a great experience too.

Favourite restaurant or cafe?
The Neighbourgoods market in Braamfontein on Saturday was fascinating. Food vendors selling cuisine from all around the globe are present. You have one floor dedicated to food, the patio has seating and a DJ spinning and the patio bi-level has independent clothing and accessory vendors selling their goods.

Favourite after-work hangout?
I enjoyed Sin + Tax for its speakeasy vibe and I had great company while there. I also tasted a variety of gins and learned how big craft gins are in South Africa.

Favourite place to shop?
Sandton City Mall is the only place I’ve been to shop so my experience in that area is limited.

Favourite place to relax in the city?
I enjoyed the vibe in Braamfontein. The street culture and buzz of the area is unique. I always stop by The J&B Hive to link with my guys at Favelo Clothing.

Saturdays at Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein, photo by Justin Lee

One thing no-one would expect to hear about Joburg?
I think people would be surprised to hear that its safe to be in the city at night. I mean, you need to have some type of street smarts but other than that, being in the city is where it’s at.

The most underrated Joburg sight or experience?
I think that spending time in Joburg for an extended period of time is underrated. I’m sure during a typical visit, people lay over then head to Cape Town or go on safari. Joburg has a lot to offer when it comes to the variety of culture, food, and things to do.

Top tip for a first-time visitor to Joburg: I think the first place a visitor should go to is Soweto and learn about the anti-Apartheid movement.

View from Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers, Orlando West, Soweto. Photo by Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers

On weekends you’ll find me … On the weekend you will definitely find me in Braamfontein and Maboneng socializing with my friends and eating good food.

Best thing about Joburg: I love the people and their chic African style.
Worst thing about Joburg: The lack of public transportation options.

If you lived in Joburg full-time, where would you like to live? Westcliff for the views of the city.

Three words that describe Joburg… African, electric and inspiring

Follow Nate on Instagram at @worldwidenate, on Twitter at @WorldWideNate or check out his latest adventures at his website

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