Trend spotting with Johannesburg In Your Pocket: September’s top 5 features

This month South Africa finally reached ‘lockdown Level 1’, the lowest level of restrictions in the country’s risk-adjusted response to the pandemic, meaning that we have passed the peak of infections and more areas of the economy can finally reopen, including South Africa’s international borders.

As always, at Johannesburg In Your Pocket, we are committed to presenting our readers with new ways to see the city, sharing fresh and informative content about how to get out and explore Joburg and support small businesses and throughout lockdown we have worked hard to continue being the essential guide to this city.

Trending this month: Reflecting what is likely to be a longer-term trend that is here to stay, our readers are have fallen head over heels for nature. Whether it’s countryside dining, hiking or farmer’s markets, it seems we just cannot get enough of the great outdoors. September is also Heritage Month in South Africa and our guide to this year’s local Heritage Day events was also a big hit.

Here’s a look at our five most popular website features on johannesburg.inyourpocket.com this August:

Beautiful spots for lunch and a hike in the Gauteng countryside

Kleine Rijke in Hartbeespoort

Due to social distancing restrictions and concerns around large gatherings, many couples have postponed their weddings, meaning that beautiful venues in Gauteng’s so-called ‘Wedding Belt’ region around Muldersdrift and the Magaliesberg have suddenly found themselves at a loose end on the weekend. Quick to innovate, many such venues have now developed new hiking routes on their sprawling countryside properties, which combined with upscale gourmet food make for a more than special day trip from Joburg.

From pretty wedding venues and stylish farmhouses to the historic Jan Smuts House museum and the increasingly popular Fourways Farmers Market in Modderfontein, we took a look at some countryside hiking venues where you can combine classy food and a good country walk. Read it online here.

Kwa Mai Mai Market – new review

Kwa Mai Mai Market. Photo by Nkayiso Shabalala for Honest Travel Experience​

One of Joburg’s oldest markets, the Kwa Mai Mai market is also known as Ezinyangeni, or ‘the place of healers’ and has for decades been one of the city’s most established muthi (traditional medicine) markets. Located just a stone’s throw from the Maboneng Precinct, the market’s reputation as a down-earth-spot to grab traditional South African street food has grown steadily in recent years and positively exploded in mid-2020 as lockdown eased and the trendsetters of Maboneng ventured out in search of new tastes.

By late August we had heard so many stories of the market’s legendary gigantic meat platters (usually served atop a piece of scrap wood) that we decided it was high time we paid the market a visit again to see what all the hype was about. Read our new review of Kwa Mai Mai Market here.

Freshly Plated Joburg restaurant news September 2020

A new courtyard cafe, bar and restaurant launched this September at Gallery Fanon in Maboneng

This September we were delighted to find more pop-ups than ever launching in the city, as well as some fresh new cafes, coffee roasteries, bars and restaurants. As ever, sadly there were also some more casualties of the lockdown, particularly in Melville where Nunos, The Whippet, La Stalla, Lucky Bean, The Countess and Pablo Eggs Go Bar all sadly closed.

In our monthly #FreshlyPlated restaurant blog we put a spotlight on all the latest gossip on new dining destinations to check out in the city this month. Read it online here.

Shopping for vintage in Joburg

The appointment-only Wizard’s Vintage boutique

From cut-price vintage designer treasures to thrift shop finds that you can pay for with small change, shopping for vintage and second-hand clothing in Joburg is a pleasure – you just need to know where to look. Thrift shopping is always popular, no matter the season – after all vintage fashion never goes out style.

As the retail market continues to embrace the hybrid nature of combined online and physical storefronts, we took a look at where to feed your thrift shopping habit in Joburg after lockdown. Read it online here.

Where to celebrate Heritage Day

Three quarters of a year into the biggest pandemic of our lifetimes, how could this year’s Heritage Day public holiday be anything less than something out of the ordinary? A combination of great weather, lockdown easing and the all-encompassing global mood best summed up by the words ‘I Need A Holiday’…. we couldn’t wait to take a long weekend off and celebrate South Africa this Heritage Day. And neither could you!

Our guide to this year’s Heritage Day events was by far one of the most popular items online this month. We hope you made the best of the day!

Hiking trails – 10 of South Africa’s most incredible hikes

Photo by SA Tourism

We have totally fallen in love with hiking and after having now tackled a dozen different Gauteng day trails (see our feature here) we are ready to test our stamina on something a bit more challenging. Many of South Africa’s most famous multi-day hiking trails require a lot of planning and preparation – if you are thinking about doing one this summer or autumn you should be booking it now!

To provide some inspiration for all the ambitious new hiking fans out there we put our research caps on to come up a guide to some of SA’s most incredible hiking trails. Read it online here.

Also trending in September

Romantic City – where to take your date in Joburg Could it be that now social distancing laws are easing up romance is returning to our lives again? The stats of the number of people looking up romantic date ideas on our website this September would certainly suggest so! To give the budding young romantics more ideas to impress their new beaus, we put together this guide packed with ideas for fun and quirky dates in Joburg.

Zoo Lake Swimming Pool Unfortunately Joburg’s many swimming pools still aren’t open for social swimming yet (the open-air swimming season usually begins on September 1), but that didn’t stop our readers asking! By far the most popular queries on our website this month were readers all asking the same thing – when will the Zoo Lake swimming pool reopen for leisure? The answer is of course, we don’t really know… but we do hope it is soon!

Westcliff Steps Perhaps it is the scent of the impending jacaranda season in the air? Or maybe it was just Joburgers looking for a new place to stretch their legs this month? Whatever the reason, this steep staircase of 210 steps that climbs the Westcliff Ridge seemed to capture the imagination of a lot of our readers this month.

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