Beginners Guide to Joburg: The Basics

Welcome! If you're anything like me, the thought of moving to the big city was pretty anxiety inducing. I knew nobody here, had hardly ever visited before and, coming from a small town, was scared of the big bad city that everyone down south wanted to avoid at all costs.

2 years on and I wouldn't swop my spot in the 011 for the world. Our move up here has been such an enriching and incredible experience. Joburg has her flaws but she doesn't disappoint. With some of the most amazing people in the country and an energy that's intoxicating. So please, don't be stressed. You've made the right choice. Now let's get you ready for the move.

Moving Company

I've used Eezi Move for my past 4 moves, both inter provincial and around Joburg. These guys know what they're doing. Well priced, reliable and safety assured. They always go above and beyond and I've never had any damages or stolen items. The biggest plus for me is that they do shared loads where you only pay for the amount of space you use in the truck.

The quote and booking process is all done via their online application form and is super easy and quick. They also offer storage facilities in the city which is helpful it you're heading to the city with all your stuff but want to stay in an airbnb for a few weeks while you figure out where you want to commit to long term.

You can visit their website here.

Car Transport

If you're heading up from Cape Town to Joburg Anos Transport is your man.

You can visit their website here or whatsapp him on 082 566 1553.

They pick up on Mondays and deliver to your door by Wednesdays usually. Our pick up and drop off locations were pretty central so cost was around R3 750.

I used him for my most recent move after Lockdown. I was in a bit of a tight spot and messaged him late on Sunday Night. My car was picked up Monday first thing and they surprised us with early delivery just over 24hrs later. Incredible service.

Especially because I've burnt my fingers with var moving companies in the past. I've previously paid more than double and that was for delivery to a dodgy depot. Imagine driving on the outskirts of a city you hardly know, it's in rush hour traffic and your google maps loses reception. Not a good time. Not worth it, just call Anver.

Where to Stay

This is where it gets tricky.

My Advice

Figure out what's a priority for you and pick accordingly. Whether that's work and career, security, somewhere leafy or being close to restaurants and nightlife. There are suburbs for everyone's needs. You just need to figure out what's yours and search accordingly. Rent can be expensive in a city but I found Joburg to be particularly well priced with a wide range of options. Flat shares via gumtree or similar is also a nice way to be able to afford a nicer area and make friends.

How we picked our place

Joburg is big. There are many suburbs, many of which are great but the good ones can be pretty far apart and so if you're not careful of where you start in the beginning you can end up feeling pretty isolated. When we first arrived Alex was working in the Southern outskirts of the city so we stayed in Bedfordview to be closer to work but all of our friends (we had like 2 friends when we arrived, lol) were closer to Sandton. So we were spending most of our weekends driving back and forth and really didn't enjoy it. We later decided the prospect of being closer to friends and restaurants and activities outweighed the cons of a longer commute to work so we moved to Dunkeld. But, again that was our personal preference.

My favourite Neighborhoods (in order of preference):

1. The best of both worlds

Dunkeld/ Dunkeld West- No surprise there, I've become a die hard Dunkeld girl. Safe, leafy and super friendly for newcomers. This area is close enough to all our favourite restaurants and parks whilst right off of Jun Smuts meaning you're under 6 min from Sandton without needing to face crazy traffic. Don't get a fright when you look on property 24. This suburb is home to some ridiculously expensive houses.But it's also dotted with some apartment blocks and townhouses at a much more affordable rate. (Also see, Craighall park, Hyde Park, sometimes Rosebank but be weary of noisey blocks)

2. Sociable & Accessible

Illovo - More spacious and sometimes more affordable options. BlueBird shopping centre and the local Planet fitness would be enough to convince me straight away for the convenience factor. Not to mention the Illovo Junction and proximity to great bars and restaurants. Leafy with lots of character (Also see the Melroses, Kilarny and Birdhaven, Linden, Greenside).

3. Family Friendly, Easy Commute

Morningside, Parkmore, Riverclub.

Safe, suburban and leafy feel. Close to the highway and Sandton for easy commuting. With a good selection of larger places for less.

4. Real City Slickers.

Sandhurst -You prioritize convenience and short commutes. Be willing to pay a premium or get stuck with slightly less desirable spot. Some blocks can be busy or noisy at rush hour. But just because these spots are so central doesn't mean they aren't amazing. Think very cool skyline views and bachelor pad vibes. (Also see Sandown, Benmore Gardens).

Please remember, these are not the only or best suburbs in the city but these are the ones I know best and feel most comfortable with recommending.

Final Tips:

- Do a test run. Before signing a long term lease try rent an airbnb in the area for a week or so. Airbnbing can be pricey but I promise it's cheaper than trying to get out of a lease later when you're unhappy in a location.

- If you can't wait then ask a friend. We had one friend in the city who was kind enough to go check out the first flat we'd found on gumtree and give us an idea of if it was safe and what the vibe was like. Getting some advice before you arrive works wonders for ensuring peace of mind. If you don't have a friend here, consider me a friend. I know how daunting it can be so feel free to send me a message, I'm happy to answer any questions if you're unsure.

Here's my full Joburg Beginners Guide:

Lastly, if you enjoyed this post please let me know and share with anyone you think would find it helpful. If you have anything else you'd like me to write on or something I've forgotten please let me know!