Most popular reads of 2020

What a year 2020 was. We’re not sure about you but we can hardly even remember what was happening in our lives back in January and February. We’re pretty sure we were having a ball, but it really does feel like a long time ago…

Throughout 2020 as the pandemic began to take over our lives we continued to work harder than ever to bring our readers more content that could relate to our new reality and present fresh ways to enjoy Joburg in a time of Covid.

Here’s a look back at your favourite features from 2020, based on visits to our site from more than half a million readers.

1. When they first banned alcohol

Boutique wines from online retailer Publik

If you’d told us back in January 2020 that by Easter we’d be busy working out how to make our own pineapple beer… we would have laughed and marvelled at your wild imagination. And yet, pineapple beer was made and South Africa struggled on through a seemingly endless booze-ban. In fact we’re now on our third booze ban of the year, so this is as good a time as any to look back on what has been our most popular feature ever.

Read our guide to where to buy booze online for delivery after lockdown here.

2. Hiking: A 2020 invention?

De Wildt Adventure Trails

If social media is to be believed, then ‘hiking is the new banana bread‘. Everybody is trying their hand at it and they’ve got the Instagram shots to prove it. While banana bread came and went (are you still making banana bread?), hiking is here to stay. Week after week thousands of Joburgers have logged on to read our online guide to the best hiking trails and we ourselves have continued to update this feature to add more great trails to try out near Joburg.

Ready to head out for a hike this weekend? Read our guide to the best trails online here.

3. Best of budget shopping

Part supplies at China Mall. Photo by Justin Lee for Johannesburg In Your Pocket

What’s on sale at China Mall? Pretty much everything, which we’re guessing is why so many readers keep heading online to read our guide to shopping at Joburg’s China Malls. Need to stock up your PPE? Looking to buy a temperature gun? Or perhaps you are just in the market for cut-price perfumes and a cheap pressure cooker… China Mall is the place.

Find out more about what you can find at Joburg’s different China Malls here.

4. A new meaning for social isolation

Klein Rivier Stone Mountain Cottage

An off-the-grid getaway, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, is definitely top of the wishlist for Joburgers hungry for a holiday. The idea of having a ‘digital detox’ somewhere with no phone signal and wifi also holds an extra special appeal given how much time we are now spending glued to our screens. From the majestic Drakensberg mountains and the vast desert landscapes of the Karoo to the forests of the Outeniqua mountains, we put together the ultimate guide to 10 incredible isolated getaways for the perfect off-the-grid South African holiday.

Get those bookings in and start planning your 2021 off-the-grid escape here.

5. The must-have fashion accessory

Mask by Love Jozi

You’ve probably got at least 10 different face masks at home by now, but back in April 2020 a well-fitting and stylish cloth face mask was something that wasn’t widely available – especially due to the fact that back then you could only shop from fashion stores online. We trawled the web for the funkiest designs and makers projects that support the needy to put together this guide to where to buy a face mask in Joburg.

One can never have too many masks so if you are looking for some new ones, read our guide here.

6. Romance didn’t die in 2020

Stunning city views from the Hallmark Hotel rooftop venue 999

Dating in a pandemic is no mean feat. You have to endure months of courtship purely online before being released from lockdown and finally seeing each other in real life. And then of course there’s planning a date that will both impress but also be appropriate for these socially distanced times. There’s a lot of pressure on that first date – it has to be worth breaking your corona bubble for. We suspect couples locked down at home together in a never-ending cycle of pajama days were also desperately seeking ways to put some romance back into their lives. Our guide to romantic Joburg really struck a chord in 2020.

Need some romance in your life? Here’s a look at some places to take your date in Joburg.

7. Home, park, home. Itinerary 2020

The Wilds. Photo by James Delaney

Shortly after South Africa announced its state of emergency in mid-March, the gates were closed on Joburg’s public parks and gardens as part of lockdown restrictions. As of June private hiking trails reopened to the public, although we had to wait until July 15 for Joburg’s dozens of public parks to finally reopen for exercise purposes. And boy were people excited about it! As of December 28, 2020 many (but not all) of Joburg’s parks have closed again.

If you are craving a walk in the park, here’s a look at Joburg’s best (and which are currently open).

8. Reusing and recycling with style

Wizards Vintage in Westcliff

Thrift shopping is always popular, no matter the season – after all vintage fashion never goes out style – but somehow in 2020 the trend for shopping vintage seems to have really hit the big time. 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 our guide to vintage shopping in Joburg online here.

9. The safest way to eat out

Spilt Milk, Melville

In July 2020 as South Africa’s restaurants and cafes began the process of reopening after months of lockdown for sit-in diners, it was swiftly becoming clear that going forward close and cosy little indoor spots would unfortunately not be a particularly safe or comfortable place to hang out anymore. In recent months the government has continued to emphasise the importance of the three Cs: avoid Close spaces, Crowded places and Close Contact with others, making terraces, gardens and courtyards the choice place to eat out in Joburg.

Looking for local courtyards, terraces and gardens for an al fresco lunch? Here are some suggestions.

10. We discovered Gauteng province

Sunrise at Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa

In July 2020 after months of strict lockdown, restrictions were gradually relaxed and South Africans were again allowed to go on a much-needed holiday at a hotel, guesthouse or lodge in the province where they live. From rustic tented camps to luxurious boutique hotels and some delightful isolated cottages in hidden beauty spots, we took a look at some great places to book a countryside getaway in Gauteng. 

If you are planning a Gauteng countryside getaway, here are our top ideas for where to stay.

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