Beginners Guide to Joburg: Getting Settled

In Part 1 we covered the basics of moving to the city. If you've not seen it yet you can find my previous post here. But there's a difference between staying in Joburg and living in Joburg. So, next up let's get you having fun and making friends in the city.

1. Get out and get to know the areas

Just a reminder, Joburg is a metro - not a city. This means that most of your time is spent navigating suburbs and weighing up the distance to "worth it" ratio.

Eager to get out and see people - Alex and I would enthusiastically say yes to meeting friends for drinks at a bar somewhere. Only to almost pass out when realizing the Uber between Bryanston and Bedfordview was going to spend our entire drinks budget for the week. Rookie mistake but a fun night nonetheless!

The best way to find your feet fast? Just get out there. Understanding the difference between Parkhurst, Parkwood and Parktown became way easier once I started associating different suburbs with different experiences. Every area has something unique to offer and the only way you'll find a vibe that works for you is to try them out!

But don't worry - I've done a lot of the hard work for you.

It's a tall order to expect you to aimlessly drive around the city so I've set up a guide of reliable places to aim for in different suburbs. See this as a mini checklist for exploring some of the main areas in Joburg. And feel free to digress if you find alternative places you prefer. The aim is just to get you out there! If you have no one to go with? No problem! Many of these, especially the restaurants, are perfect for an outing for one. Bring a book of a podcast along for company if you're feeling a bit awkward at first. But remember, the nice thing about Joburg is that everyone is too busy in their little own world to be judgy or for you to feel weird.

Here is my checklist for places to eat at.

Here is my checklist for places to grab a drink.

P.s. Some of the places on the original post have changed or closed thanks to Covid19. I will get around to double checking all of them but in the meantime see it as a good starting point. And remember, google maps and uber is your friend.

2. Find an activity

Okay, so now that you sort of know you your way around it's nice to have something to do that doesn't always mean spending money on a meal. Thankfully, you have plenty options! Many of these are also perfect for solo missions.

Again, I've done a lot of the work for you in the below posts to make it easier.

Here is a post on all our favourite fun activities. From escape rooms to adventure golf; there's bound to be something on this list that will help you beat the weekend boredom.

Here is a list of nature escapes if you're craving a break from the concrete jungle.

3. Get Sociable

Maybe you get on really well with all your colleagues or have plenty friends up in Joburg already. But it's also okay if you don't. I didn't really and being in such a big busy city can feel really lonely when your isolated. Even if you're a really cool calm and collected introvert, everyone needs some human interaction to keep sane. And small talk with colleagues and clients doesn't count.

Exercise is your friend when making friends

Joining a Sports Club like Wanderers can give you access to wide variety of options. From Tennis to Snooker there really is something for everyone. Also See; Sandton Sports Club, Bryanston Sports Club, Switch Playgrounds,

I know, I know. Trust me. I'm no sporty spice either. But Team sports or joining a gym class can be so valuable in getting you in contact with people you would otherwise never have met.

Alex got me to join a crossfit class for like 3 weeks. I hated how sore my legs were after but I met the sweetest bunch of people in my beginners class and we had a great time complaining together. Am I now a hardcore crossfit gal? Lol, no. But was it was SO worth in for the de-stress and social aspect.

Get Creative

Learn a new skill, get creative and connect with new and interesting people? What more can you ask for. City Sessions offer a wide variety of arts and crafts workshops to keep you busy in the city. Punch Needling, Gouache Painting, embroidery and much more. Their sessions are well priced and beginner friendly!

You can follow their insta page here.

Also see; Colour Cafe in Hyde Park

Get Vulnerable

Moving and uprooting your life and your social safety net is a big deal. It takes bravery that many people just don't have. Be proud of yourself for how far you've come and don't feel bad for feeling lonely. It's okay to tell people that you're looking to find friendships. I've had many cases where I meet someone that I think would make a good friend but then feel a little weird and self conscious to not come across overbearing. A fool proof way to find a friend is to tell someone that you've heard about an activity in the city and you really want to check it out but you don't want to go alone, would they want to join? If they say no then you've dodged a bullet because what boring person wouldn't want to try adventure golf or join a pottery class? If they do then yay. Little wins. x

Other times, you may not know many people in the city but friends and family from before might. Have them set you up on friendship dates. I've been on multiple of these. Sure, some were a bit more awkward than others but you know what they say. You miss every opportunity you don't take! Also see: Bumble BFF (the friend searching version of your favourite dating app), Meetup or if you're really struggling you can DM me! We're always looking to expand our quiz night crew.

Here's my full Joburg Beginners Guide:

If there's anything you think I've missed or would like to add please let me know. I'd also appreciate if you could share with friends and family if you know someone could use the advice.