Hotels in Sandton, South Africa
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Sandton: An Affluent Hotspot North of Johannesburg
Taking its name from its two suburbs: Sandown and Bryanston, Sandton is widely known as ‘Africa’s richest square mile’ . Although once offering little more than a sedate pace of life for the white upper classes, the modern Sandton is one of the country’s most prestigious business and financial districts, complete with soaring Manhattan-style skyscrapers and a variety of high-end businesses. It’s not all work and no play in Sandton, though. Luxurious hotels, coupled with an abundance of cultural attractions, high-end shopping, and a thriving dining scene, makes this affluent spot a great base for any trip to South Africa.
Indulge in a Little Retail Therapy
Sandton is something of a must-visit for shopaholics. Kick things off by heading to the landmark Nelson Mandela Square, where a six-metre tall bronze statue of the legendary Freedom Fighter offers the perfect backdrop for your Instagram selfies, and more than 80 boutiques and African-themed stores will help you part with some of your holiday spends. Directly opposite the square, you’ll find the Sandton City Shopping Centre, home to around 300 shops as well as an extensive food court and a movie theatre. Additional stops on your shopping trip could include the designer outlets found at the upmarket Michelangelo Towers Mall or at the stylish Melrose Arch urban precinct near Rosebank, where more than 140 shops, including iconic South African stores and International high-street boutiques, are dotted around an elegant open-air Square.
Get Your Culture On
Art galleries abound in Sandton. Some of the best-known can be found at Nelson Mandela Square, including Art Now International and Gallery on the Square. Also in the square is the Auto & General Theatre on the Square, a medium-size venue showcasing everything from local comedy and award-winning international dramas. Keep your eye out for the lunch hour concerts on Fridays and the regular dinner and show packages. The nearby Old Mutual Theatre offers an alternative spot to enjoy live theatrical performances. At the Sandton City Convention Centre, one of the largest and most important venues of its kind on the continent and a former host of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, you can explore more than 22,000 square metres of exhibition and special event space or catch a show at the 4,500-seat Pavilion.
Green Spaces to Relax In
Sandton may not be known for its natural attractions but there’s certainly a green space or two that will tempt you out of your hotel for the afternoon. Innesfree Park (Katherine Street and Grayston Drive) is one of the more easily accessible spots in the area. Here you’ll find lush green lawns, two tranquil dams and shady trees, not to mention a lively calendar of community and regional events. James & Ethel Gray Park in nearby Melrose is another popular spot and one which offers extraordinary views of the Johannesburg downtown skyline. Head a little further afield to visit destinations such as the 128-acre Kloofendal Municipal Nature Reserve, the winding Braamfontein Spruit Trail and the Walter Sisulu National Botanic Garden. Officially founded in 1982, the latter is a 300-hectare reserve in Roodepoort that is home to a breeding pair of Verreaux’s Eagles and more than 600 plant species.
Day Trips and Excursions to Enjoy
Options to explore the surrounding area are plentiful in Sandton. Johannesburg, for example, can be reached in just 20 minutes by car or in less than ten minutes on the train. Here, you’ll find that the attractions range from the thought-provoking Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill to the light-hearted SAB World of Beer and Gold Reef City amusement park. From the modern surroundings of Johannesburg, turn to the past by paying a full or half-day visit to the UNESCO-listed Cradle of Humankind, a 181-square mile area where thousands of animal and hominid fossils have been discovered across a network of 300-plus caves. Highlights here include the grass-covered Maropeng Visitor Centre and the Sterkfontein Cave, the latter the location of the longest continual paleoanthropological search in the world. Other potential day trip ideas include the South African National War Museum in Randburg as well as the Union Buildings and the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa in Pretoria. As night falls, head to the plush Montecasino in Fourways to see if you can win big.