Crossing off another continent off of my bucket list, I visited Johannesburg, South Africa. Not my first choice in Africa, but finding decent flights there is a little challenging with the political temperatures and local instability. I managed to find a decent flight to South Africa, which racked up some MAJOR MQM’s as it is currently the world’s longest direct flight (ATL-JNB).
Melrose Arch, Johannesburg
I was advised by my hotel that a car would pick me up, something I found a little odd as it was almost forced on me. Once on the road, I quickly understood – Johannesburg is an area of wealth and poverty. Literally, a mansion is situated right next to the homeless camps. The only thing keeping things separate is an 8ft concrete wall with barbed wire atop.
Arriving at Melrose Arch, I noted the same 8ft, barbed wire-topped wall, along with armed guards controlling access to the area. The Melrose Arch area (inside the wall) is about the same size as a typical American neighborhood. Instead of houses, you’re surrounded by hotels, shopping and restaurants – Think of it as a mini tourist area.
I spent the day wandering around Melrose Arch, wanting to explore more. I was advised by the hotel staff that if I wanted to journey around Johannesburg, it was strongly recommended to have the hotel’s car service take me. Let’s just say, I can read between the lines, so I didn’t explore Johannesburg too much.
I stayed at the Melrose Arch Hotel, a local hotel with a pretty awesome decor and sense of humor. My favorite is the painting on the wall of a burglar breaking into a safe behind a painting. Coincidentally there was a safe behind the real painting – Kudos guys, your sarcasm is strong.