It’s that time of year when malls start decorating in red, white and gold. It’s that time of year when smart people get out on the weekends and start buying presents because they know it’s going to get crazy soon. It’s also that time of year when we all get split into two distinct groups – The people away on holiday and those left behind in Jozi licking wounds and trying to substantiate our depression.
So its Christmas time (or at least the ad agencies seem to think so), the weather has picked up from the unfortunate British winter we just experienced and smiles are starting to cross recession striped faces once again with the hope that mounds of sweet gammon smothered in roast beef, chicken and gravy might make you forget your boring job, poor family and Julius Malema. So what can you do to beat the boredom this December? We have some ideas…
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 out way 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 although fun, tend to eat into your valuable slacking time. If for example you start a scuba course in Mauritius the day you arrive, you will only have the license four to five days later meaning you probably go out the grand total of… once, if you aren’t counting the swimming pool lessons. 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. The only tip I can give you is that some of these schools will include your first Mozambiquan 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 for the announcement and schedules concerning mall opening/closing times on our homepage.
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 some food havens littered around Joburg offering the discerning foodie something a little extra special over the festive season. Fournos do a catering service offering the most beautiful bits and pieces from glazed gammon to snack platters and little mince pies. You could buy your lunch and then pretend to all the guests that you’ve been slaving over a hot stove and get a little sympathy. There are few good markets doing Christmas themes one of those is Hazel Food Market taking place from Thursday, 2nd of December to Saturday, 4th of December, 2010 in Pretoria. You can pick up the most amazing produce at these markets which would make for some impressive Christmas treats. Also try Blubird Market in Illovo, just off Corlett Drive. Bryanston Organic Market also do a few Christmas themed markets and evening markets during the build up so keep an eye out for those too.
Try a getaway this December and not an expensive one. 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 and 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 offer a unique experience and let’s face it the family and matric rush in Durban and the surrounds is 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 Pilgrims Rest offering an interesting insight to the gold rush in smaller South African towns (tip: some of the lodges in the area will teach you to do goldpanning and give you informative tours in that respect).
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… So get your good spirits in gear and do a little community work. I recently watched a guy from my neighborhood 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 neighborhood you’d expect to find in the greater Sandton area. Things like that, however arb can transform not only area you do it in but more importantly the people that inhabit that area. And that’s deep.