Red Bus Tour
It was a Sunday morning and Cait had been building up the whole week to a surprise that she had planned for us. We left home at 10:00 with strict instructions to be there by 11:00. Where? I didn’t know a thing. ‘Wear something comfortable and bring your camera’, Cait instructed me.
We parked the car at the Rosebank shopping centre and embarked on our journey with the Hop on Hop off bus at 11:00. SURPRISE SURPRISE!
TRAVEL SOUTH AFRICA LIKE A LOCAL
These double decker, open top, red buses are scattered across the globe and offer such great insight into each destination it travels. In this case it was to travel South Africa, my home. We used the bus in Greece a few months back and it was definitely one of my highlights of our trip. Once you get on board, you are welcomed warmly by the Red Bus tour driver, we show our bus ticket (R170,00 pp) and we are handed earphones. Cait and I climbed the stairs to the top deck of the bus to get the most of our views and to enjoy the the sunshine. Learn more.
THE CITY SIGHTSEEING RED BUS TOUR TICKET = R170
We plugged in our earphones and as the bus embarked, we were introduced to three different voices through the sound system. The bus follows lines (a map), and you are able to hop off and hop on at any specified markers. As the bus drives along the route, the stereotypical voices of the country accompany us through the journey, ‘’If you look to the left now you will see the Zoo Lake. When I was just a young girl, I would beg my daddy to come to the park on Sundays. During our times, blacks were not allowed to use such facilities, but this lake and its surrounding areas was created for all types of people in South Africa, ahhh, how I use to love coming and feeding the ducks here’’. As we pass by the lake there are teens playing basketball on the courts, families having picnics and a few humans’ rowing boats on their hired out boats.
We continued with the bus, listening to interesting stories of the birth and childhood of Johannesburg. The bus stops its green line at constitution hill. At this point, you may continue on the blue or red line. The blue line goes deeper into town, the red line takes you through Soweto. You can’t do both in one day, its just too much. We continued with the blue line into town and hopped off at the tallest building in Africa, the Carlton Centre. Boasting 50 floors, we travelled to the very top for R30,00 pp. From the pinnacle, you have a breathtaking, panoramic view of Johannesburg. Spanning from North to South, you can walk around the entire rectangular shaped floor and view all approaches of the city. After a short 30-minute gaze, we hopped back onto the bus and continued our date day adventure.
I had no idea where we were stopping next, but both of us were getting pretty hungry. The bus went passed Turffontein where we listened to the stories of Dasiy the assassin and early days of the South. The bus stopped at Gold Reef city and the apartheid musem, but we continued through. The Sci-Bono discovery theatre was our next hop off, which was conveniently placed opposite SAB WORLD OF BEER.
A large, triple-storey warehouse, The Sci-Bono Discovery museum is EPIC. Here, you can learn all about movement, sound and history of science and research. The space is extremely interactive for both kid and adult (although, I feel in this place everyone is a kid). Individulas are educated on how radio frequencies work, or simple weight management and pendulum swings or how force and energy can be transferred from one object to another. Here we also enjoyed a brownie and a cappuccino overlooking a replica of the first ever airplane designed and built by the Wright brothers. We didn’t have much time here as Caitlin had provisionally planned for another experience, which too involved a science of sorts.
THE SAB WORLD OF BEER TOUR = R180
This included a guided tour through the history of beer in Africa and South Africa. We enjoyed a milk stout in the replica of one of the oldest bars in Johannesburg. We drank nqhombothi (traditional South African beer), and watched a short-film on how the ladies of South Africa brew this delicious beer. We learnt how the brew comes alive and its processes and ingredients. Then, we enjoyed a beer tasting of 6 SAB Beers. BUZZ ON!! To top it off, the ticket price included 2 x free draughts in the tap room which serves beer obviously as well as other light meals in burgers and sandwiches. Our guide thanked us, seated us and placed a complimentary bowl of simba chips on our table whilst we enjoyed our 2 draughts of Castle Lager. Big ups to SAB, they have done a great job in creating a fun and interactive space where locals can learn more about their heritage and our local produce. Who needs Heineken when you got a Zamalek!
Styling out of the SAB world of beer with our complimentary SAB world of beer glasses. We jumped on the bus and headed off to Braamfontein for a sundowner. Braam is best known for its social features and spaces to party with mates, Kitcheners, The Greyhound and the Bannister hotel. You’re in the heart of the city and it is a great backdrop for some pretty cool city photographs. Just look after your belongings. We stopped over at the Bannister for two beers and then caught the last bus back to Rosebank at 17:50.
We arrived back at Rosebank and finished the day off at Paul’s Homemade ice cream bar. A fantastic, local ice cream shop. We doubled up and dipped my rocky road sugar cone into the thickest, most natural chocolate dip you can imagine. I WAS SWEETED OUT!!!
My beautiful lady and I headed back to our car and called it a day. A day filled with epic memories, intriguing information about our land, and leaving us feeling even more proudly South African.
PS: Massive shout to the people of Johannesburg for keeping the city so tidy. I was astonished by how clean it was. And another massive holla to the old buildings in town I never knew existed. I’m serious! We live in a damn fine country.