Business Travellers’ Guide to Johannesburg

Doing business in South Africa? Kenya Airways now flies to Johannesburg with its new B787 Dreamliner. msafiri makes some recommendations for a memorable business trip

Business_JoburgBUSINESS BUZZ
Johannesburg, the most powerful commercial centre on the African continent, is where the deals are made. It is the economic powerhouse of South Africa and the largest economic city in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. Most major international companies doing serious business in Sub-Saharan Africa look to Johannesburg as the gateway. Massmart, Hewlett Packard and IBM’s Southern Africa and South Africa offices are situated in the affluent Sandton area. Petrochemical giant Sasol is developing its new headquarters here.

Jo’burg has a fantastic infrastructure that rivals many developed nations. O. R. Tambo International Airport is the busiest in Africa. Johannesburg is home to the largest inland dry port in the world, making it the largest transport hub for local, cross-border and international travel in South Africa.

Johannesburg is the premier destination for both South Africa’s local and international business tourists, attracting 32% of the country’s international business tourism. The continued economic growth and increased purchasing power in Johannesburg is expected to contribute to increased business tourism. Another boost to business tourism is that Johannesburg is home to over 75% registered head offices of the largest stock exchange in Africa, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). With this profile of head office companies, the business tourism market can be considered secure.

The city’s capacity to host trade shows at five established convention/expo centres appears to have firmly entrenched the city as a business events centre: The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has vastly improved its rating of Johannesburg by placing Johannesburg third on its list of destination cities in Africa to host events.

Johannesburg has once again emerged as Africa’s most competitive city, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) research report, Hot Spots, that was commissioned by the global financial services company Citi. According to the Anholt-GfK Roper City Brand Index, Johannesburg is increasingly being perceived in the global community as a destination of choice for investment, commerce and tourism. A recent MasterCard Worldwide study confirms that Johannesburg is the economic hub of Africa, offering a strong business climate that supports commercial development. The MasterCard Worldwide Centres
of Commerce Index ranks the City of Johannesburg the sole African city to feature in the ranks among the world’s top 50 cities considered the hubs of the new worldwide economy.

Business travellers should make certain to get around while visiting Johannesburg – there are a multitude of interesting, individual and culture-rich places to visit and stay to suit even the most ‘Eurocentric’ travellers’ tastes. And why not ‘tweet’ about your visit to the city – a new study of the microblogging site has confirmed that Johannesburg is the most active city on Twitter
in Africa…

The African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel is located in the vibrant Melrose Arch precinct; a unique city within a city that boasts a variety of trendy retail and leisure amenities for the discerning traveller. Through innovative architecture and design, the hotel has become a destination in its own right, attracting those who take pleasure in modern elegance and sophistication.
Room rates from R2900–R4000 per night dependent on occupancy and suite chosen  | 1 Melrose Square, Melrose Arch Johannesburg | Tel: +27 11 214 6666 |

Close to CBD
The Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel near Johannesburg is located a mere 55 steps away from the Sandton Gautrain Station, providing access via high-speed rail connections to and from O.R. Tambo International Airport, Pretoria, and Rosebank. Situated in the heart of South Africa’s premier financial and business district, the hotel places guests within walking distance from the Sandton Convention Centre, the JSE and the southern hemisphere’s largest shopping centre, Sandton City. The hotel includes extensive meeting and conferencing facilities as well as event venues that can accommodate up to 600 delegates.
Room rate: R2830 per night | Cnr Rivonia Road and West Street, Sandton |
Tel: +27 11 286 1039 |

Best value
The 12 Decades Art Hotel chronicles the history of Johannesburg from 1886-2006. Rooms are designed and conceptualised by some of South Africa’s most celebrated artists and designers. Located in the Eastern CBD of Johannesburg, in the newly developed hub, The Maboneng Precinct, this avant-garde hotel features rooms representing a significant period in the city’s colourful history. The hotel is self-catering, while eating out in the Precinct is an eclectic culinary experience from contemporary Mediterranean to Ethiopian to Modern African township food. Facilities include a neighbourhood concierge.
Room rate per night is R870 | 286 Fox Street, Maboneng Precinct | Tel: +2711 026 5601 |

No expense spared
Nestled in the lush suburb of Morningside Manor, Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa has received many accolades, including the Best Luxury Wellness Spa in SA award 2014 and is rated as one of the top three luxury hotels in Sandton by TripAdvisor global travellers 2014. Its 43 opulent suites and the Presidential Suite have accommodated many international celebrities over the years. During the recent presidential inauguration the Private Villa Residence hosted VIPs wanting a private sanctuary.
Room rates range from R2500-R17,000 per night | 1 Alma Road, Sandton | Tel: +27 11 804 2540 |

Cool and Quirky
Nestled in the heart of Kliptown is one of Soweto’s first 4-star hotels: The Soweto Hotel on Freedom Square. The jewel of Soweto resounds with soulful jazz. A distinct cultural flavour  intermingles with contemporary flair. The interior instils a sense of pride and nostalgia, captured by the eclectic collection of jazz and historical memorabilia which forms the hotel’s interior decor. The two boardrooms are named after two female liberation struggle icons, Helen Joseph and Winnie Mandela. There is also a host of activities and tours available for guests wanting to experience more of the Sowetan vibe such as the Taste of Soweto tour, and walking and bicycle tours of Kliptown.
Room rate is R1347.50 per night | Cnr Union Ave & Main Road, Kliptown, Soweto | Tel: +27 11 527 7300 |

Unleash your inner artist on the chalkboard paint of walls and tabletops at The Chalkboard Collaboration Cafe. In the morning, your works of art will be erased along with your memory, after a combination of their signature Nottingham Road Brewing Company craft beers (286 Fox Street, Maboneng Precinct). Staying with beer, any beer – on tap, craft, local or imported – grab a seat at the informal Yard of Ale. Chase down their Fiery Ginger Beer on tap with a pizza (32 7th Ave, Parktown North). Katzy’s at The Grillhouse is a classy music venue. Sink into one of their large leather couches and enjoy an evening of good music, fine cigars and your choice from more than 100 different whiskys, cognacs and bourbons (Shop 70, The Firs/Hyatt Shopping Centre, Cnr Oxford Road & Bierman Avenue). The Library Bar is open 24 hours and has a colonial ambience. Think warm, mahogany-clad panelled walls, large leather couches, shelves of books. Sip your aged whisky by a roaring fire or enjoy a signature Brandy cocktail over a game of pool (1 Melrose Square, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg). Sip cocktails in the splendour of an unforgettable Highveld sunset on the Pool Deck of the Southern Sun Hotel Hyde Park’s Rooftop Bar or step indoors in winter to savour your favourite whisky and cigar (1st Road, Hyde Park, Sandton).

Where to impress
Celebrated for its multi-sensory experience, Five Hundred Restaurant chefs guide guests on an interactive experiential journey of the senses. Their highlight is creating a menu that reflects their emotions, passions and inspired ideas. Sourcing only the freshest handpicked seasonal ingredients from the Saxon vegetable garden and pairing them with specialised artisan produce, dishes are individually presented to the guests by the chefs and the sommeliers. Every course is paired with the finest local and international wines.
36 Saxon Road, Sandhurst | Tel: +2711 292 6000 |

Best local food
Wandie’s Place is a cosy restaurant in the middle of the ‘township’. Situated in the suburb of Dube, 15km from the Jo’burg city centre, it has become a mandatory stop on the route for virtually all Soweto tour operators. Wandie serves indigenous cuisine in the form of dumplings, mogodu, ting (soft porridge), pap and umqushu (samp). The restaurant has played host to such celebrities as Richard Branson, Evander Holyfield and Quincy Jones.
618 Makhalemele Street, Dube Village, Soweto | Tel: +2711 982 2796, |

Best view
The San Restaurant is a grand cafe-style eatery that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu changes weekly but offers local flavour through South African seasonal ingredients: the chef is determined that produce is sourced within a 100km radius. The show kitchen, situated alongside the restaurant, is perfect for diners or couples who wish to dine while engaging with the chefs. San also includes a semi private and private dining venue, both ideal for small groups, functions and exclusive dinners.
6th level, Sandton Sun, Corner 5th and Alice Streets, Sandton | Tel: +27 11 780 5147 |

Best buzz
Craft Restaurant opened in trendy Parkhurst late in 2013, aiming to please crowds at the height of the craft beer and casual eating craze, with the additional draw of a pizza oven and extensive drinks menu of innovative milkshakes, homemade soft drinks, coffees, and an impressive wine list. Even though your breakfast order may come out of the pizza oven, this still feels like home for many locals.
33 4th Avenue, Parkhurst, Johannesburg | Tel: +2711 788
7111 | www.craft

If you have one hour…
An hour out of your day is all you need to visit the iconic Nelson Mandela Square in the heart of Sandton. One of the largest open public spaces in the country, this European-styled piazza commemorates heritage and celebrates international style with the warmth of African hospitality. It draws a cosmopolitan society to its sidewalk cafes, some of the finest restaurants in South Africa and over 88 exclusive stores. There is always a song or a dance in the air at the square. Entrance is free.
Cnr Rivonia Road and 5th Street | www.nelsonmandela

Half a day to spare…
The Lion Park in Honeydew is an hour’s drive from Sandton. Chosen by Newsweek as one of the top 100 tourist destinations in the world, The Lion Park is home to over 80 lions including the rare white lions. Many other carnivores such as cheetah, wild dog, hyena, jackal and a wide variety of antelope roam freely. Visitors can interact with some of the animals in the Cub World. There’s no need for a bushveld safari when you
can experience the pride of Africa in the middle of Johannesburg. Self-drives and guided game drives through the park are available. Entrance fee is R200.
c/o Malibongwe Drive and the R114, Honeydew | Tel: +2711 691 9905 -11 |

A full day to spare…
Although Johannesburg is packed with inland attractions, adventure flows along the historic Vaal River. The 1210km waterway forms a boundary between the Free State and the provinces of Gauteng, North West and the Northern Cape. Located a mere 45 minutes drive from Johannesburg, the luxurious Riviera on Vaal Hotel & Country Club in Vereeniging is located on the banks of the Vaal. Each suite affording spectacular views of the river. The on-site Zorgvliet spa is a sensuous treat, or play the premium golf course set along the river. The hotel’s floating restaurant allows you to enjoy lazy lunches or moonlight cocktails along the bends of the Vaal.
Mario Milani Road, Vereeniging | Tel: +2716 420 1300 |

The African Craft Market, Sandton, is a celebration of the African entrepreneurial spirit. From African masks and jewellery to interior decor items, you will find whatever you need from the more than 70 skilled African artisans.
Cnr West and Sandton Streets | Tel: +2711 442 4481 |

The accepted type of formal greeting?
South Africa is more relaxed than many world-class business cities, though there is some range between older and younger generations and between black and white citizens. While there are numerous exceptions to this rule of thumb, you’re likely to find that older people and black South Africans tend to be more formal, while younger people and white South Africans tend to be more informal. A handshake is acceptable when you meet someone – male or female – for the first time. Set the tone by initiating with a handshake or respond to the colloquial greeting you are welcomed with.

Any local lingo?
Even though there are eleven official languages in South Africa, English is widely spoken. Pretty much all business is conducted in English. If you would like to learn how to greet your guest or guide in their vernacular, first ask what language they speak and ask them to vocalise their greeting of choice to you. However, do not feel embarrassed if a giggle is shared at your expense. Your gesture will be appreciated.

What’s the local currency?
The South African currency is the Rand (ZAR). One Rand translates to 100 cents. Due to foreign exchange regulations, the use of foreign currency in South Africa is illegal. Bureaux de Change are abundant at the airport and city centres. The use of ATMs in South Africa is safe and reliable for drawing the local currency. There are ATMs in the airport. However, the need for cash is relatively low when travelling to Johannesburg, apart from taxis and tips (you can even pay for your Gautrain airport transfer with a credit card). Credit Cards are widely accepted throughout Johannesburg. VISA and MasterCard are more readily accepted than American Express.

The Gautrain is preferred by many international business executives as a fast and efficient way to get to and from O.R. Tambo International Airport to the Sandton (R135) or Rosebank station (R145) safely and quickly. Gautrain affiliated buses run set routes from the Gautrain station (R6) or taxis can be taken to your hotel. Sandton houses the flagship station of the Gautrain rapid rail link. The station is located on the corner of West Street and Rivonia Road. The system has direct connections to O.R. Tambo International Airport and an inter-city commuter service from Pretoria through Rosebank to Park Station, Johannesburg. | Tel: +27 800 428 87246

Car rental:
The full range of car rental companies have offices within the airport. GPS gear can be hired with the rental vehicle and GPS is well developed in Johannesburg and surrounds. Roads are well labelled, making driving relatively easy. | Tel: +27 800 981 448

Taxis are also a viable option for airport transfers. Airport transfers by car or minivan can easily be arranged by your hotel. If you land without arrangements, the information kiosk in the airport will assist you in getting licensed transportation. The default fare from the airport to Sandton central is approximately R330. It is advised not to accept offers from touts at the airport. Taxis are available at most hotels, but would need to be called from other locations. If you travel by taxi, be sure to have a local mobile number for communication with the dispatcher/driver. | Tel: +27 11 794 8300

Americano coffee: From R14-R30
Bottle of beer at a bar: From R22-R135 depending on the origin of the brewery and whether it is a local or imported beer.
Taxi from CBD to airport: Around R330
500ml bottled water at a cafe: From R16-R35 depending on the brand.