It’s that time of year when malls are decorated in red, white and gold and when we all get split into two distinct groups – the people going away on holiday and those staying behind in Jozi. If you find yourself in the latter group, here’s some ways to beat the boredom this December.
Scuba Diving Course
This first one is a classic on so many levels. The most ironic thing about doing a scuba course in Joburg is that you know deep inside that to even use that certificate you will have to fork out for a holiday at some point, but the merits far outweigh the brilliant irony. So, why would you want to do a diving course in December in Joburg? The best time to do a diving course, believe it or not, is while you aren’t on holiday because diving courses away from home tend to eat into your valuable slacking time. The other cool thing is that while you paddle around the bottom of a tank in Randburg you can always imagine yourself somewhere more exotic like all the buggers who left Joburg.
Contact: There are so many scuba schools in Joburg, just do a search on Google and you should come up with more than ten. Some of these schools will include your first Mozambican dive in the package.
Joburg might not have a beach or a boringly shaped mountain… but we do have money. That’s right: what we Joburgers lack in natural beauty, we make up for with expensive clothes and plastic surgery. Joburg is a shopping tour de force, the Dubai of Africa, and December leaves a lot of the shops wide open for someone who enjoys shopping. Malls tend to stay open later, so keep an eye out.
Food of the Season
Everyone’s favourite part of Christmas is the food. Big roasts, leftovers and trifle, but how can you do a little extra this Christmas? There are food havens littered around Joburg, offering the discerning foodie something a little extra special over the festive season. Fournos do a catering service and offer the most beautiful bits and pieces from glazed gammon to snack platters and little mince pies. You could buy your lunch and then pretend that you’ve been slaving over a hot stove and get a little sympathy. Also try Blubird Market in Illovo, just off Corlett Drive, and Bryanston Organic Market.
An inexpensive getaway in December? There are many options here but for me, it doesn’t get better than a holiday to a foreign country, considering we are surrounded by them. From Joburg you can get your passport stamped in just over 3 hours. Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia are all tourist friendly and because most of them don’t have a beach they are less popular choices during the hot season… and less popular means cheaper. Each offers a unique experience and let’s face it, the family and matric rush in Durban and the surrounds are worth avoiding. Another quick getaway option is Mpumalanga. There are smaller towns around Nelspruit that make for a great weekend, including Dullstroom, which boasts great fly fishing (tip: they will teach beginners and children for a set fee which includes the use of equipment). Another Mpumalanga highlight is Pilgrim’s Rest, offering interesting insight into the gold rush in smaller South African towns (tip: some of the lodges in the area will give your yours and lessons in gold panning).
Do something Charitable
I’m not sure why I put this last, but none the less, why not try a little charity over the Christmas period because that’s what the whole Christmas thing is about, right? And you thought it was all about presents. Get your good spirits in gear and do a little community work. I recently watched a guy from my neighbourhood re-paint all the important markings on the roads surrounding our area. He did the black and white stripes on the corners, the yellow rims on drainage inlets, and I even saw him re-doing the yellow fire hydrant. This all sounds really arbitrary but he started on Mandela Day with his mandatory hour and finished about three weeks later and the result is amazing. Our little old and grey part of the world has been transformed into a neat neighbourhood you’d expect to find in the greater Sandton area. Charitable activities can transform not only the area but more importantly the people from area. And that’s deep.