Johannesburg

Maboneng

more than a year ago
One of Joburg’s greatest regeneration stories, Maboneng was originally a gritty industrial warehouse and factory district with the somewhat forgettable name of City and Suburban. The neighbourhood’s revival began in 2011 with the launch of the Sunday Market On Main at the pioneering development Arts On Main (straddling Fox and Main Streets) which is home to a number of artist studios including William Kentridge’s Centre for the Less Good Idea. Fast forward to the present day and what is now known as the Maboneng Precinct has spread out across a dozen adjacent blocks and has been frequently touted in the international press as “one of Africa’s coolest neighbourhoods”.

Arts On Main still stands at the centre of this growing precinct and on Sundays remains its distinctive heartbeat with a great selection of food inside the main building and a bustling Sunday market that spills out into the street where you’ll find everything from vintage clothing and souvenirs to second-hand books and African fabrics on sale. 

Fox Street serves as Maboneng’s main high street, and here you can take your pick from dozens of pavement cafes, bars and restaurants that all open out onto the street. Movie-buffs should make sure to stick around to watch the latest African arthouse films and documentaries at Joburg’s only independent cinema The Bioscope or if you enjoy theatre catch edgy new works at the POPArt Theatre. Meanwhile the energetic visitor should not miss out on a walking or cycling tour of Mabobneng and the surrounding areas that can be booked through the MainStreetWalks tour company based at Maboneng’s popular backpackers Curiocity, taking in Maboneng's colourful street art and the area's many historic buildings. 

Other notable buildings in the neighbourhood that you won't want to miss include The Cosmopolitan, a Victoria-era hotel that has been converted into a retail space. Make sure to check out Bridge Books for the best selection of local literature and then pop next door to Home of the Bean for an excellent coffee with a view of the lovely gardens in The Cosmopolitan's picturesque courtyard.

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