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Johannesburg

Affectionately known as ‘The City of Gold’, at first glance this sprawling city may seem utterly impenetrable to a visitor. But just beneath its busy façade, lies a fashionable and electric city teeming with sights, and is no longer the ‘safari stop-over’ it was once known for.

After almost 20 years of decline, Johannesburg (known by locals as Jo’burg or Jozi) is now undergoing an incredible renaissance. The centre of town is the place to come for the best shopping; sleek malls are bursting with designer clothes and glossy shops, and bustling local markets sell all sorts of curios, ornaments and trinkets. The upmarket Sandton City, a highly regarded shopping mall situated in Sandton, has in only 40 years established itself as home to the most exclusive restaurants and retail shops in Johannesburg. Adjoining the shopping centre is Nelson Mandela Square, where the world famous 6-meter bronze statue of Nelson Mandela can be found, and the mall and square combined, form one of the largest retail complexes on the continent.

Johannesburg is a cultural hub in South Africa, with a vibrant art and culture scene. The city is awash with superb museums and art galleries, and by wandering around the many modern art galleries of cultural Newtown and Braamfontein, you can see how emerging artists connect with the city's thought provoking past. If you're interested in discovering more about Jo’burg's rich history and troubled past, the poignant Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, are a must. Other historical attractions include Mandela House Museum, Hector Pietersen Museum and the hipster-friendly neighbourhood Maboneng Precinct.

In the evening, the city nightlife comes alive; trendy bars, booming clubs and buzzy restaurants draw in the vibrant crowds. Join the throngs to experience the buzz of Jozi by night, and we recommend seeking out the newest live jazz talent that Johannesburg is famed for nurturing.

Just outside of the city is The Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's richest fossil sites. Here archaeological excavations have unearthed the skull of a humanoid, estimated to be around two million years old, and scientists have also discovered a skeleton which dates back 3.5 million years ago. There are also the world-renowned stalactite caves at Sterkfontein. The caves were accidentally uncovered in the 1890s by gold miners, but today, they are one of the richest and most productive palaeo-anthropological sites in the world.

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Not all those who wander are lost.
JRR Tolkein

I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India

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