More than 50 years ago this area was the ‘mink and manure’ heartland and the hunt would set off from Inanda Club, today an exclusive members-only polo club. It’s often quoted that the then head town planner for the area described Sandton as a "community of 30,000 whites and 15,000 horses”. From rolling farmland and a pastoral idyll, Sandton later became a rest stop between Pretoria and Johannesburg city centre. The first hotel - Balalaika Hotel, today Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton - opened its doors in 1949 as a tea garden with a few rondavels (thatch-roofed African-style huts) for overnight travellers. Today the lush gardens of this 330-room hotel are still a refuge, but now from the busy business district beyond the door.
Beyond the central business district Sandton spreads north with a variety of suburbs and diverse attractions. Among them is historically significant Rivonia which is home to Liliesleaf - the secret headquarters of the banned African National Congress's Armed wing led by Nelson Mandela in the 1960s - and now an impressive museum. Rivonia is also well-know for it's many Asian food restaurants. In Fourways the vast Montecasino complex is a major drawcard with its offer of 24/7 bright lights and a multitude of attractions, including a range of hotels, a theatre, comedy club, tons of restaurants and a bird garden. Closer to Sandton Central is Kramerville, a hub for interior design that has developed into an after-hours hangout with quirky bars and great views of Sandton's skyline (see above).
Click on the categories below to find your way around Sandton.
Fairlawns Boutique Hotel, 1 Alma Rd, Morningside, Sandton
We think this is Joburg's most impressive-looking spa, inspired by the best of Balinese and other South East Asian spa traditions. Set in a bamboo grove replete with the calming sounds of bird calls and running water, the five-star Fairlawns
Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square
Cnr Sandton Dr and Rivonia Rd, Sandton Central
With easy access to the Gautrain and hundreds of stores, the Sandton City mega-mall is Africa's most prestigious shopping destination. There's not much you can't get in Sandton City whether you are looking for the latest
Bryanston Market is Joburg's original outdoor market, in existence for more than 40 years and still offering a superb range of organic goods and products in a relaxed environment. The market's delicious fresh produce, indigenous superfoods and homemad
Alto234 Bar at The Leonardo, Africa's highest sky bar
The Leonardo, 75 Maude St, Sandton Central
Sitting at the top of Africa’s tallest building The Leonardo, at a dizzying 234 metres you can’t get higher than this Sandton sky bar. An exclusive spot offering unparalleled 360-degree views of the entire city and of course Moët & Chandon Champagne
Les Créatifs Restaurant
Shop 12H, Hobart Grove Centre, 52 Hobart Road, Bryanston
Emma Chen opened Red Chamber in 1989, named after one of China's greatest novels. In a roomy restaurant in Hyde Park Corner (book a round table and spin the lazy susan), with tables spilling into the walkway (good for family meals as the kids get to run
The MARC restaurant and shopping complex in Sandton
Cnr Maude St and Rivonia Rd, Sandton Central
Situated in the centre of Sandton's commercial district, on the corner of Rivonia Road and Maude Street, and with many of Sandton's most prominent hotels within walking distance, including the Hilton, Radisson Blu, Holiday Inn and Protea Hotel Balalaika,