Where to learn a new skill in Joburg

02 Apr 2024
New year, new you, right? We make our New Year's resolutions with the best intentions and often start out strong, only to lose momentum as the year gains traction (often by February). When you're learning something new it helps to keep it social. Having other people to practise with speeds up your learning, and the friendships formed will keep you coming back.

Take up padel, learn a handcraft, hone your cooking skills, explore interesting new hiking trails, or add another language to your repertoire – Joburg's got plenty to offer. We've rounded up our top picks for the new you. 


Parlez-vous français? Few skills are more valuable than learning a new language. Your travel will be enriched by interacting with people in their mother tongue and you'll gain valuable insights into different cultures. It also improves your memory and problem-solving skills. Of course, there are few things more difficult too. Duolingo's great, but truly learning a language requires practice – and people to practise with. These places in Joburg make it easier with courses tailored to your proficiency in the language.

Learn French and isiZulu at Alliance Française in Parkwood while snacking on some croissants to keep you going. Order your pasta in fluent Italian by heading to Dante Alighieri Society in Houghton and sprechen Deutsch with Goethe-Institut, also in Parkwood. Wits Language School in Braamfontein offers a range of languages that include isiZulu, Portuguese, and South African Sign Language, as well as several courses on translating and teaching English as a foreign language. With options to do the courses part-time or online, you can arrange your learning to suit your schedule.
Just hanging out at The Cirk. Photo: The Cirk.


Head into 2024 moving and grooving. Whether it's ballroom, ballet, pole, or pantsula that strikes your fancy, Joburg's got the studio for you. Choreographer and dance coach Mark Hawkins's beginners' ballet classes for adults in Parkview will help you realise your Margot Fonteyn dreams in a fun and judgement-free space. ​​With studios in Fourways, Illovo, and Fairlands, La Rouge Studio's liberating women's dance classes on offer include pole dancing, aerial hoop, Lyra, burlesque, and Zumba.

If it's good enough for superstar Kelly Rowland, it's good enough for us: dancer and choreographer Bontle Modiselle's studio space at Doormfontein's Hallmark House offers several dance styles with a view, from hip-hop to amapiano. Different variations of pantsula, twerking, and gqom are the standout dance styles offered at the Soweto's Finest dance crew's studio at Newtown Junction (yes, we said twerking). Then, Five 6 Seven 8's Randburg studio offers 27 dance styles including Latin and ballroom dancing.

Secret Sunrise is your go-to if you're after carefree movement, with events all around Johannesburg and Pretoria. And if you’ve always wanted to run away to the circus, well, The Cirk's classes at Cresta Shopping Centre are just the thing for you: in collaboration with Jozi Circus School, swing from the rafters as you learn aerial and acrobatic tricks. They even have kids' courses so your little ones can join in the fun. For more, check out our feature on where to learn to dance in Joburg. Or, mix your own beats to groove to with house DJ Tomby, who offers private lessons for budding to more experienced DJs. 
Ride through the streets of Soweto with Lebo's Soweto Backpackers. Photo: Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers.


There’s nothing worse than taking the stairs at work only to need five minutes to catch your breath at the top so you don’t walk into the office huffing and puffing. With plenty of ways to get active in Joburg, you’ll soon be hitting the top feeling fresh and perky. Dust off your bike and join Banditz Bicycle Club for one of their rides around Joburg. For more, check out our guide to cycling the city. If you prefer pounding the pavements, join the Braamfie Runners or regular ParkRun events, and see where you can start racking up the distance with our guide to running in Johannesburg. For those in the mood for something more social, the latest sports craze is up your alley – find out where to play padel in Joburg and Pretoria, and read our intro to padel here.

Combining movement with meditation, there's Yoga in the Park every Sunday at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, or daily classes at Parktown North's inclusive The Nest Space and Parkview's long-standing Sivananda Ashram, to name a few. The Dabulamanzi Canoe Club next to Emmarentia Dam is your chance to get out on the water in Joburg, and they offer introductory classes to get you started. Adrenaline junkies should check out CityROCK in Fonteinebleau and Friends and Allies in Strijdom Park, two of Joburg's best indoor rock climbing and bouldering gyms. And once you're ready to flex your chops outdoors, here's our guide to climbing spots around the city. For a more high-energy outlet, there are great boxing clubs around the city, including MissFit, Fight Club, and Alan Toweel Boxing Gym.
The Hamerkop Kloof in the majestic Magaliesburg, one of the many outdoor wonders just outside of the city. Photo: MCSA Johannesburg Section.


While Cape Town gets praise for its natural splendour, Joburg and the surrounding Highveld and Bushveld regions aren't short on beauty. The magnificent Magaliesburg mountain range is one of the oldest on the planet, extending over 120km from Pretoria to Rustenburg. Join the Johannesburg chapter of the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) for access to permit-holder-only hiking areas like Cedarberg Kloof and Mhlabatini, or strap on your boots and go mountaineering at these tried and tested trails in Gauteng.

If you're after some nature therapy without the longer drive, Joburg has beautiful parks aplenty – whether you favour long walks, carefully manicured formal gardens, or wild green spaces. Delta Park is one of the biggest green lungs in the city with stretches of grassland and woodland, and prime cosmos-spotting territory in autumn. The beautiful Melville Koppies Nature Reserve plays host to bi-monthly Poetic Licence Sundays, a nature-inspired poetry reading session. For more places to stretch your legs, check out our favourite city parks. Kloofendal Nature Reserve is a cultural heritage site just 25km from the City Centre that hosts fascinating walks and talks each month covering everything from wildflowers to biomimicry and fungi. And if cacti are your game, the Johannesburg Succulent Society has monthly meetings and plant shows celebrating South Africa's succulent richness. 
Up your kitchen skills with What's Cooking Joburg. Photo: What’s Cooking Joburg.


Ditch the fast food and learn how to cook! Not only is it easier on the wallet, but it’s healthier too. The Cookery by The Secret Jozi Chef is a popular cooking school in Craighall Park offering fun, themed lessons to groups. What’s Cooking Joburg has a range of hands-on workshops from upping your knife skills to crafting the perfect bao buns. Download a short-format cookbook from That Food Guy Shop for a crash course on bread-baking, pasta-making, or vegetarian cooking. Book a course at Vitality HealthyFood Studio on the rooftop of 1 Discovery Place in Sandton to learn to cook aromatic Asian cuisine or healthy summer brunch dishes. If you'd like a bigger range of Asian-inspired cooking classes, look at Umami Food Studio's clas schedule. And if cooking from scratch isn't enough for you, HomeGrowers gardening and hydroponics nursery takes it up a notch with butter, cheese, and kombucha-making courses. Find them in Dowerglen, near Edenvale. 
Cats and crafts. Photo: Kim Sacks School of Ceramics.
Cats and crafts. Photo: Kim Sacks School of Ceramics.


It's never too late to learn a new craft or grow your creative skills. When it comes to the art of pottery, Kim Sacks is one of the best – she also offers once-off workshops with experts in botanical dyeing, felting and origami at her ceramics studio in Parkwood from time to time. Love wine and painting in equal measure? Unleash your inner artist at Braamfontein's The Playground Market with their regular Paint and Sip sessions. If you've always wanted to work with textiles, it's worth connecting with the Johannesburg Weavers and Spinners Guild (contact them to find out where the meeting for the current month will be), or follow The Yarn Tree in Parktown for knitting and crochet workshops. Braamfontein's Wits Art Museum (WAM) and the Jack Ginsberg Centre for Book Arts (located in WAM) host book-binding workshops, often tied to the museum's current exhibitions. And if you already ollie and kickflip with the cool kids? The Crispy Academy in Orchards, and in collaboration with David Krut Projects, teaches you how to build your own skateboard step by step, from glueing and pressing to completing your masterpiece with a silkscreen or vinyl artwork.


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