We are confident that when deciding to visit the industrial land in Eastern Johannesburg, the top-priority place you cannot forget is the Maboneng Precinct. This place was re-established in 2009, and nowadays, it has become an influential place for designers, content creators, and food reviewers to express their creativity. However, you may not know which things to do in Maboneng.
We understand this concern because we were like you in the past. We’ve come to this location and not knowing what to do. However, after hours of exploring and researching, finally, we can share our experience with you, things we do in Maboneng for you to avoid confusion.
We hope that this guideline will help you broaden your knowledge and reasonably arrange your itinerary. So, let’s dive into the article and see what we’ve got for you to enjoy and explore in this renewed inner area.
Firstly, some of you may not be familiar with this Maboneng location; therefore, we think you should know some basic information about this precinct.
What Is Maboneng Precinct?
As we’ve mentioned before, this corner was neglected by the authorities in the Eastern industrial land, called Johannesburg. It was first developed in the late 2000s by some property developers. However, because of the indifference to this location, it is only populated by warehouses.
In 2009, thanks to the belief about the potentials of this place, it was re-transformed and has become one of the most famous arts and culture hubs.
For your information, the name Maboneng in Sotho means the “Place Of Light.” We wonder that maybe because of the name meaning, the precinct’s atmosphere always full of joy, freshness, happiness, and creativity with visionary projects and designs.
In this inner-city area, you will not have to worry about anything. It has full of boutiques, shops, art galleries, restaurants, and food trucks.
Reading our description about Maboneng, you may find excited about this place; you may want to spend some time in this colorful, vivid place. However, you still want to know some reasons why you should visit this town corner. Therefore, we will briefly conclude with you.
Why Should You Visit Maboneng Johannesburg?
As we’ve mentioned before, the Maboneng District was a prohibited place for tourists and local people. The main reason is that it is an inferior, hazardous place, a no-go zone, as many people warned us. However, thanks to the redevelopment project, the site is now a refreshing, appealing part of the town, as we can see right now.
Because of the project, you will not have to see the industrial warehouses area. Instead, you have the opportunity to enjoy the artistic feel from many art galleries, restaurants, and shops.
When visiting, we are sure that regardless of your emotions before you reach the district, you will soon feel more positive, delighted, lively due to the vibe out there. Also, there are astounding architectures, extraordinary street art for you to enjoy, and you will have many chances to get to know many aesthetic, creative people, just like you. Cool, right?
Now, when you fully know the history of Maboneng and why you should visit this place, how it will be beneficial to your soul, to your creativity. Then, we will highlight for you some typical activities that any tourist stepping on this place must enjoy.
Maybe after a few times, you may find other activities interesting for you; however, these activities are the first-step guide for you to appreciate the beauty of this location.
Top Excited Things To Do In Maboneng
Visit The Market On Main
We notice that this activity is the most favorite place for both tourists and local people. Therefore, we are sure that 11 out of 10 people will suggest you go to the Market On Main on Sunday as a worthwhile spot to visit.
For your information, this attraction is frequently open every Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM. This market situates in the “Art On Main” complex; therefore, if you are on research and some authors switch between two phrases, it is the exact location. Don’t be too confused about it.
People love this place because it features various regionally designed and naturally produced products, from foods, clothes, bags, jewelry, and beauty products.
It will satisfy many people’s needs when only going to one market; they can buy different products they want—no need to go to other stores and markets. This market will hold any product you want.
Moreover, thanks to the market’s existence, it is a unique place to support residential artists and designers. Cool, right? Not many countries have a tourism place to encourage the local people’s creativity. If you are only a tourist, this place will help you indulge in a young, breezy atmosphere.
This Weekend Market will offer you a wide range of restaurants, from Asia to South Africa, with dim sums, cupcakes, macarons, sushi, churros, and so much more. Some fancy restaurants even provide you with cocktails and live performances. The Market On Main also offers many local art galleries opening in a courtyard.
Enjoy Delicious Meals In Restaurants
As we’ve said before, the Maboneng District is famous for spectacular art galleries, phenomenal street arts, and famous for fantastic restaurants with incredible views of the city.
Below here, we will recommend you some restaurants that we may find consistently appealing over time.
For your information, this place is one of the most well-known restaurants cooking Ethiopian dishes. Therefore, if you are eager for Ethiopian food, this will be a perfect option for you.
A fascinating history about this restaurant is that in the first place, the owner only owns a market stall in the Market On Main, the location we’ve introduced to you before. However, after great success, the owner decides to open the Little Addis restaurant in the Fox Street Studios.
When visiting the restaurant, you will surprise that the owner, naming Kassa, still prepares the dishes by himself, and sometimes he will come and talk to you wholeheartedly while you enjoy his food.
The food is also available in vegan options, and the price is reasonable, too!
The Canteen Maboneng
If you are hunger for made-at-home fish, chips, salad, and pies and are thirsty for craft beers, you definitely should go to this restaurant.
For your information, this restaurant locates in the courtyard of Market On Main; some places will mention it in the Art On Main. However, as we’ve mentioned before, it is the same place.
With the calm, serene atmosphere this restaurant brings to you, you will always have time to relax, make new friends after a dynamic trip to the market.
The Living Room Maboneng
One of the tops recommended rooftop bars that any local people suggest is the Living Room rooftop bar. With this bar, you have the chance to experience a combination of the natural and urban atmosphere.
On the one hand, the restaurant offers abundant plants and trees, making you feel like you sit in the greenhouse or a nursery. We bet that it is relaxed, refreshing after hours of walking on the streets and stocking on the traffic. You can simply enjoy eating tapas or burgers and sipping cocktails to experience a beautiful sunset scene.
On the other hand, you will be satisfied seeing the brilliant, dazzling city skyline while vibing with the great music. You also will be amazed to know that this place will turn into a dynamic party on Sunday with DJ and funky music from 11 AM till 7 PM. Ensure to check the restaurant’s Facebook fan page for events like this.
Remember that an admission fee of R60 is imposed on weekends, which fluctuates depending on the event. The cost climbs to R80 after 4 p.m. on Sunday. Monday through Friday, admission is free.
Rooftop BBQ Bar
We are sure that many of you will fall in love with this place because of the views of other surrounding areas, chill and calm live music, friendly and attentive staff, and most important, excellent and delicious foods. We are sure that you will have a memorable experience in this restaurant with your families, friends, or loved ones.
If you are a fan of a combination of Japanese cuisine with African culture, you should go to this place and enjoy a delicious meal. This place will bring you many unique experiences and creative food ideas with various special dishes made from familiar food like sushi, California rolls, wasabi, and sashimi.
This location is a must-see in general for its pure creativity and synthesis of diverse cultural backgrounds.
Enjoy The Unique Atmosphere Of Bioscope Cinema
The Bioscope Cinema is an independent movie house situated in the Maboneng Precinct. You should never miss a chance to go to this cinema; otherwise, you will regret it your whole life.
What’s unique about this cinema is that it hosts theme-based movie nights and activities; for example, you can enjoy a Noodlebox Cinema movie night when you can both watch a kungfu movie and eat noodles.
Moreover, they are well-known for an open space to talk and discuss controversial topics. They also offer some games nights involving drinking games related to various movie titles. Fun, right?
You don’t have to worry about the crowdedness since this cinema only contains a few dozen seats in front of a relatively small screen. There is also a coffee shop providing you with coffee, popcorn, craft beer, and pizza before the show.
Explore Maboneng Using Skateboard Tours
We think this activity is unseeable in all countries around the world. So who would use the skateboard to explore the district? Usually, people will just take a cab or use the tourist bus for touring with a tour guide.
This brilliant idea came from Ayanda Mnyandu in September 2017, aiming to encourage people to use a skateboard as transportation to explore different parts of the city. You may know that we usually tend to pass many unique places when traveling in a vehicle because of the speed.
Therefore, by skateboarding, you can stop broadening your knowledge about Eastern Johannesburg’s history and watching and enjoying many museums or momentums that create this city’s cultural background. And don’t worry, the skateboard tour will also involve this activity, so we are good, right?
Visit The First Design Museum Of Africa, MOAD
Many of you are questioning what MOAD is standing for? For your information, this located-in-Maboneng-district museum is the first African design museum in Africa. And it is abbreviated for the Museum of the African Diaspora. What valuable knowledge, right?
Some of you may not know, this museum is open to becoming a cultural hub, aiming to encourage quick-forward and critical thinking about the growth of Africa and beyond. It’s a safe space for many artists to express their thoughts and ideas about the black culture.
When visiting the museum, you will see many heartening artworks, challenging, inspirational conversations about racist situations, and clear objectives to make the world better-living planets.
For some of you who love to understand taste gin and learn about the technique to craft gins, this tour is an inevitable activity for you when visiting Maboneng.
The Time Anchor Distillery hosts this tour on only Saturdays and Sundays at the Tasting Room for your information.
When joining this tour, you will have an opportunity to know and understand more about the host of the gin tasting event, the Time Anchor Distillery.
After that, the host will offer you up to three of their Crafted Gins. We bet that this part is the most favorite part by many tourists and even local people. Not like you can drink homemade gins every day in your life, right?
This tour also includes a crafted G&T cocktail and an open discussion about craft distilleries and crafted gins. Your mind will soon be filled with valuable knowledge. The cost is R150 per person.
Join the Workshop 17
If you are fond of getting to know ways to grow your business and many things related to the industry, we think you should give this place a chance.
Firstly, this Workshop 17 is a co-working space for professionals and entrepreneurs. When visiting this area, you will see many restaurants, bars, and shops for you to do the sightseeing around the co-working space.
The main reason for this co-working space is that it offers entrepreneurs, professionals, startups, freelancers, and even non-profit organizations chances to connect and develop their companies in a friendly, flourishing business environment. Not every country can create this business complex; therefore, we appreciate the meaning of this location.
Visit Unique Bookstores
Book lovers buy a book from the place they visit is an indispensable part of their trip. Below here, we will introduce to you two famous bookstores that you may visit.
David Krut Bookstore
If you want to find South African books and artworks, you should never pass this location. This book store locates in Maboneng and Rosebank for your information, and it is also an ideal place for famous, well-known South African authors and artists.
In general, it is the perfect place for you to give it a visit to purchase books, arts, and most crucial, to support the local artists and authors.
Unlike the David Krut bookstore, this bookstore is famous for selling second-hand bookstores. Some fascinating history about this bookstore, it was founded in 1974, located in the eight-floor building in Joburg’s east side.
You will be surprised to know that the substantial capacity books and stocks, over one million. You’re shocked, right? We had the same reaction as you when we heard this number.
Moreover, the stock arrives in various types, such as maps, artworks, vinyl records, and antiques. Therefore, you will never have to worry you may not find your book in this store. This store is basically has everything you need.
Explore The Unique Architecture
When visiting Maboneng, we are sure that you can’t miss the transformation of many warehouses into creative, contemporary, unique spaces. Below, we will introduce an apartment and a hotel that may astonish your mind and your knowledge about contemporary art.
Drivelines Apartment Block
As you can see, this apartment resembles the form of shipping containers. However, this apartment does not resemble it; it is actually built from many shipping containers. We think that you can’t keep your eyes off the unique architecture of this apartment.
One more advantage of this apartment block, besides its uniqueness, is the affordable price. It is a pretty risky but still excited decision if you choose to purchase this type of apartment.
With this hotel, you may be shocked to know the difference between the outside and the inside. Our first picture demonstrates the outside; the hotel carries a fancy, shabby chic look, making people feel the inside must be perfectly sophisticated and elegant.
However, in contrast to many people’s belief, the inside looks fresh and charming with the courtyard. There is also a small bar where you can sit and enjoy your drink while calmly feeling the peaceful, serene, and down-to-earth feeling this courtyard brings you.
Moreover, the hotel also offers you a bookshop, many large rooms turning into workshops for artists and an art gallery. Cool, right? Now, you know that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Explore Street Art
You unquestionably shouldn’t miss a chance to see many extraordinary street arts in Maboneng. However, some streets are still no-go zones for tourists; therefore, the best solution is to take a walking tour to feel the imaginative, aesthetic feel of these artworks fully.
We know that some of you insist on seeing the street art without taking the tour because of your reasons. In this case, you should go between Tuesday and Friday. Ensure not to carry with yourself expensive smartphones or cameras to avoid robbing.
Now, we have included some favorite activities that any tourist going to Maboneng will join; however, we are sure that you will explore other activities that suit your personality during your trip. Now, we will talk about some safety precautions when visiting Maboneng since it still potentially contains some no-go zones.
Safety Precautions When Visiting Maboneng
Best Time To Visit On Your Own
You should see the city during weekdays, specifically between Tuesday and Friday if you visit by yourself. However, according to our research, many local people advise the tourists not to see the city by themselves on Monday because Monday is quiet and not the best time to visit.
Moreover, as we’ve mentioned before, Sunday is the time Market On Main is held weekly, so it is the busiest time of the week. Therefore, with both tourists and local people, you should be careful holding your purse, your bag to avoid pickpocketing.
Best Location To Visit
We advise you to visit the main high street if you go on by yourself for your information. The reason is that the main road is full of different people, it may bring you the secure, energetic, safe feeling when walking alone.
Sometimes, you may bump into some tourists, and you will soon realize that you are not alone; you will feel more relaxed and familiar with the street.
In contrast, we advise you to visit another side of Fox street, specifically Commissioner street and Main street, with a tour guide. Many local people have told us that it is not safe for you to walk around that street on your own.
Things You Should And Should Not Bring
You should only bring enough cash for the day and do not bring your credit cards or bank cards with you.
Moreover, you should visit the area with someone else rather than doing it by yourself. This will be the first step for you to protect yourself from danger.
Finally, it is best if you book a tour guide to visit the sightseeing. With crowded people, you will not have to worry or imagine the worst scenarios that can happen to you. You simply have to relax, visit the sightseeing, and fill your mind with fun, exciting, memorable experience and precious knowledge.
You should not bring expensive cameras with you while visiting alone. You should keep it close in your bag and not brag about it while walking on the street about your smartphone and other devices. People with bad intentions may hear and follow you to deserted roads and rob you.
And you shouldn’t bring a shoulder bag with you, your bag should be firm, stable, sturdy and you can wear it in front of yourself. Only this way can you protect yourself and your belongings.
Sadly, but we have to come to an end to this article. We hope that after this article, you will have basic knowledge about Maboneng and some reasons you should visit the city. Moreover, we hope that with a list of things to do in Maboneng, you will find it helpful and use it as your guide to visit Maboneng wholeheartedly. Of course, you may find many other activities besides the ten activities we have shown you; however, our list should be a basic-level tour guide level for you to enjoy your trip to Maboneng. We cannot list all activities because that would be endless.
And when visiting any place in general, you will have to protect yourself and keep yourself safe during the trip. We have included some specific ways to help you deal with the danger when you are in a strange country, not in your motherland. However, do not worry too much because the security in Maboneng and South Africa is getting better daily for people; you should enjoy your trip as much as possible.
Goodbye and see you in our next article. We wish you a happy, fun, and safe trip!