Exploring Johannesburg: Zoo Lake

A quick Google search of ‘places to visit in Johannesburg’ is sure to lead you to Zoo Lake.

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Last month, my friend Njeri and I decided to have a girls date on a chill Saturday – talk about New Years Resolutions, hold each other accountable and just catch up on some much needed female banter.

To be honest, I can’t believe the first quarter of the year is already gone. I don’t dread it in the least, April has me feeling positive and ready to press reset refresh. There’s also a teeny part of me that’s had enough and just wants to go on vacation, leading me to sort through months of photos and put this post up for you.

I got a new addition to my photography gear, a sweet 50mm 1:1.8 Canon Lens to go with my Canon 60D. Been experimenting with it a lot recently and love the effect I get out of it so far. These photos were taken between 3 – 6 PM, the sunlight had that perfect dreamy effect special to the beloved golden hour. For the photos of myself, I set up the shot and asked Laura to help me snap them, love how they all turned out.

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Zoo Lake is a public park reminiscent of Uhuru Park in Nairobi. Moyo Restaurant, known for its menu rich in African inspired dishes, sits right at the edge of the lake.

 

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The staff is friendly and attentive, making the restaurant deck a lively and pleasant space to enjoy a meal, while the interior is darker and more intimate.

 

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What We Ate:

Starters: Complimentary bread platter consisting of Moroccan and Tunisian flat break with a chickpea dip. Rating 8/10

Main Course: Mama’s Inkhukhu burger, panko crumber chicken breast served with harissa mayonnaise, avocado, onion rings and fresh tomato on a pumpkin bread roll, and served with hand cut chips. Review – delicious, but the chicken and bread were too dry. Rating 6.5/10

Seared calamari sauteed with olives, broccoli and garlic, drizzled with lemony harissa butter and served with Moroccan rice. Review – too oily. Rating 6/10

Dessert: Decadent brownies, with walnuts drizzled with custard and chocolate sauce, served with vanilla ice cream. Rating 9/10

 

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By the time we were done with dessert, darkness was creeping in so we got to enjoy a beautiful view of the sunset and watch the ducks waddle by unbothered.

zoolake6.jpgHappy travels loved ones!

 

April will be great xx

Soweto Diary

“In judging our progress as individuals, we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education… but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being: humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within reach of every human soul.” – Nelson Mandela, 1977.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me explore Soweto a short while back with my friend Idil while she came to visit in December, which now seems like aaaages ago.

 

We started off at 8115 Vilakazi St, Orlando West which was Mandela’s house before he was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years. The humble red brick house is a must visit if you’re exploring Johannesburg, not just because of the history but also to experience the rich culture that is Soweto.

Soweto’s vibrance comes out in how the people hang out on the street, playing music, roasting meat and talking. Children and performers give a show on the pavements with their dances and songs. There are souvenir vendors all along the streets displaying their wares at a fair price. In that sense, it’s not like Kenya where I can haggle for a better price for close to ten minutes at the Maasai Market. I truly do miss Nairobi, NairobaeΒ as the cool kids on Instagram would say.

In some ways, Soweto does feel like home. In its realness, it’s people and the sense of community.

 

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How gorgeous is Idil?!! MashaAllah!

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On display in the house are Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela’s accolades, awards and honorary degrees. Most of the awards were actually Mama Winnie’s, she went on to fight for freedom while her husband was imprisoned until the last minute when apartheid was abolished.

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Courage..

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Liberation..

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We walked up Vilakazi Street and managed to get a spectacular view of Soweto and The Orlando Towers. We immediately decided, on complete impulse, to try something different from our usual art gallery, museum, chilled type of vibe and instead be crazy and go bungee jumping or free fallingΒ at the Orlando Towers just fifteen minutes away.

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They sent us videos of us free falling and it’s hilarious! You can see the exact moment shock takes over when I realized he’d released the buckle and I was falling down 100 metres onto a not so inflated bouncing castle. Unforgettable.

Hope I’ve convinced you to visit Soweto!

xx

Exploring Maboneng.

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Location: Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg. South Africa.

Maboneng has been on my travel wish list for a long time now. It reminds me a little of the creative artistic vibe I got at Block 338 when I travelled to Bahrain last year, only rich in African art and culture so thick you can feel it in the air. Around the corners you’d find bands of musicians performing reggae and soul compositions. Amidst all this, the streets are filled with colour as artists sell their wares in temporary stalls, similar to Maasai Market in Nairobi. No comparisons, it’s just the best way to describe the vibe.

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I bought two malachite bangles from a lady selling little bibs and bobs, souvenirs and beaded jewellery. These added a flair to my look in the ‘photoshoot’ that followed shortly. I posted one of these photos on Instagram and the love I’ve received from you all was amazing, some even sharing that I look more confident, which I feel I’ve consciously been working on. I’m trying not to brood on mistakes but realize that it’s normal and integral for growth, and remind myself to instead focus on continuous self improvement one day at a time.

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I tipped this old man and his band so he sang a few lines dedicated to me which was kinda cool.

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The rich smell of coffee is too tempting to ignore so I satisfied my cravings at Little Addis Cafe, an Ethiopian restaurant with authentic cuisine that also serves Ethiopian coffee, which is one of the best coffees in the world for its unique roast, flavour and brewing style. Here, they served it in a wooden pot with teeny white coffee cups I’ve also seen in Swahili households, and pop corn on the side for only R40, equivalent to about 4$. Coffee and pop corn go surprisingly well, if you’re wondering.

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A short walk around the precinct reveals more gems to explore next time, like Soul Souvlaki, pictured below, and others like Pata Pata and Uncle Merv’s.

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The architectural character is quite intriguing, with a mix of classical old buildings to contemporary lofts and container apartments. Fascinating. Maboneng is the kind of place for creatives, I left feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the week.

On a random note, in 2017 I’d always keep track of what day of the year it is, like today, Wednesday 15th August 2018 is day 226/ 365. Keeping track of the days like this always feels encouraging, like I have 139 days in the year to do more meaningful things. And then somehow I feel accountable and just want to fill my life with more life changing experiences, travel and beauty in all shapes and forms.

I could say an afternoon in Maboneng is good for the soul and spirit.

Useful links to check out when planning a visit to Maboneng:

I rely heavily on Google Maps when I’m new to a place. It not only is for navigation, but also when searching for local attractions and great places to eat. The links below may also be great for your reference.

www.gauteng.netΒ 

www.mabonengprecinct.com