Johannesburg

Load shedding in Joburg - where to go and what to do when the power goes out

07 Sep 2020
'Load shedding' is, unfortunately, a uniquely South African phrase that seems to crop up every couple of months. It's that unfortunate moment when the national power supplier Eskom runs out of capacity and is forced to restrict the nation's electricity supply through rolling power cuts. Otherwise known as an absolute pain in the neck!

Load shedding comes in ''stages'', the higher the ''stage'' the longer the planned power outage lasts. The highest stage is 8 although South Africans fortunately have only experienced up to Stage 4 so far in recent cuts. There are now plenty of handy apps available that can help you understand if you might be getting 'the sheds' in your area. The EskomSePush app is currently one of the most popular and reliable - it's also free for Android and Apple.

Load shedding isn't a new phenomenon, this has been an issue for many years, and small business owners, particularly those in the hospitality industry, have grown savvy, prepping themselves with generators so that when the city's lights go out their kitchens keep working. Even if the power may be off yet again there’s no reason to miss that game, eat another sad sandwich for dinner or spend the night bored in the dark.

Here are just some ideas on where to go if you've got no electricity.

Cafes, coffee shops and restaurants

If all you need is a strong cup of coffee, a working WiFi connection and a place to while away the daylight hours with your phone plugged in, look to your local coffee shop. The local chain Motherland Coffee Co is always a reliable spot with access to generators and several convenient locations including in Sandton City, The Zone@Rosebank and Parktown North. In Linden The Whippet Coffee Company serves simple and tasty freshly made cafe-style dishes whatever the load shedding stage and their coffee and tea selection is top rate. In the middle of the inner-city’s historic Main Street Mining District City Perk Cafe is a great lunch stop before plunging back into the madness of the downtown traffic jams caused by faulty traffic lights. 

While many restaurants' full menus might not always be available during load shedding, if all that’s in the fridge are dodgy leftovers and the fixings of a truly sad sandwich, there are plenty of restaurants that are well set up for load shedding. Most major shopping malls now have their own generators and if the power is out at home, then you can rest assured that the restaurants at your local mall will most likely be ready and waiting to cook you dinner.

If for whatever reason you'd rather stay indoors with your candles for company look no further than local delivery apps Uber Eats and Mr Delivery, or of course you can always dig out the charcoal and fire up the braai!

Here are a few more ideas about where to eat out in Joburg when the lights are out.

The Hussar Grill, Morningside
You'll be hard-pressed to find warmer, friendlier service this side of the city than at this famous grillhouse in Morningside Shopping Centre. Classic steaks and the atmosphere and personal attention is perfectly suited to both family gatherings and business meetings.

Che Argentine Grill
This atmospheric candle-lit Argentine steak house cooks all its meats over an open-flame meaning that when the loadshedding kicks it won't affect the perfection of your magnificent steak at all.

Delta Cafe
A firm family favourite on the grounds of the REEA Foundation in Craighall overlooking Delta Park, this popular cafe and pizzeria has its own generator, while the oven is wood-fired meaning no matter what happens you can always get stuck into a pizza.

Piza e vino
With locations in many of Joburg's bigger shopping malls, this reliable pizza chain is always open, ready and waiting to serve pizzas, wines and other Italian classics like bolognese or carbonara.

Saint
Located in The Marc building, Sandton’s newest celebration of all things bling, David Higgs' Italian restaurant Saint is the place to be seen in Sandton Central and beloved of those who enjoy a glass of Champagne or two with their pizza.

Parea 
An Illovo stalwart that has been serving up Joburg's best Greek fare since 1993. Head here early for a quiet meal or join in the boisterous Greek dancing and smashing crockery from 20:30 on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Foundry 
Part bistro, part craft beer bar, head here if you're in the mood for a dinner followed by chilled sundowners and mingling with Parktown North's cool crowd. 
  
Bellagio 
Illovo's Bellagio is one of Joburg's great seafood-focused restaurants with a delicious Mediterranean-styled menu and an excellent array of daily specials. 

DW Eleven-13 
Relaxed yet stylish, Dunkeld West's DW Eleven-13 is classy comfort food at its best, served up by Chef Marthinus Ferreira’s excellent team. 

Turn ‘n' Tender 
If you're in the mood for a hearty steak, then head to one of Turn 'n' Tender's branches in Illovo, Parktown North, Bedfordview, Bryanston and Bassonia.

Joburg's load shedding heroes

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