Eyewitness South Africa. Tourism Marketer Rebecca Kambule from Johannesburg

Johannesburg, South Africa's secret capital and most important business metropolis is the country's largest city and the capital of the Gauteng province. The city is located in the eastern highlands, the Highveld, and is home to 3.8 million people.

Rebecca Kambule is a passionate Joburger, tourism marketer and owner of REMPO consulting in Johannesburg. 

Her heart beats for the hospitality industry and everything that has got to do with travelling and tourism. She travels as much as she can and is always on the lookout for the next hot thing on her travels. Every discovery is precious to her, she knows exactly how to best use these finds in her work and having the best time doing it. She tells us about her favourite places in town.

The Touristin: Three words that characterise Johannesburg?

Rebecca Kambule: Raw – Sprightly – Cosmopolitan.

The Touristin: How do you get around Johannesburg?

Rebecca Kambule: We mostly drive – for short trips, Uber is a good option, to and from the airport I would say definitely the Gautrain as you are guaranteed to beat heavy traffic.

The Touristin: What is the best-kept secret about Johannesburg

Rebecca Kambule: I would say the people – we are full of life, we are sociable and we are very passionate about our city. When a Joburger says to a stranger or visitor, “let’s do coffee…” we mean it, and it might turn to lunch, dinner and even an invitation to someone’s home. We love meeting new people and I must say making friends can be easy. I have lived in different cities within South Africa and found that people are closed in and stick to their familiar circle. Here you become one of us in a Joburg minute!

The Touristin: What is your favourite borough/suburb/area in Johannesburg and why?

Rebecca Kambule: It has to be Parkhust. I call it a village with lots of personality, it is quite laidback and yet uber-chic. I love how along one stretch of road (4th Avenue), you will find a corner café, a deli, antique furniture, hardware store, boutique stores and a Spa! There are not many areas in Joburg where you can just sit and have a cuppa on a sidewalk café. Parkhurst has a lot of that and more. It is one of the oldest suburbs in Joburg with some of the original houses still standing solid, lots of sophistication with an emphasis on authenticity as expected by its dwellers and visitors!

The Touristin: The best place for a hot chocolate or coffee in Johannesburg?

Rebecca Kambule: Nice on 4thAvenue in Parkhurst – it is unpretentious, unassuming yet sophisticated and the service is consistently efficient and welcoming. I love their coffee as they use ‘Bean There Coffee Beans’ that are sourced only in Africa under Fair Trade practice, lots of care for the people and the land where the coffee comes from. I just love to see bubbles on the crema that represents the freshness of the coffee beans! I move around a lot to different places but I always come back to Nice on 4th not only for coffee but for their rich, decadent Belgian Dark Chocolate Cake – it hits the right spot!

The Touristin: What is one restaurant we must try out while in Johannesburg?

Rebecca Kambule: I recently discovered Clico Restaurant in Rosebank where they serve a 6-course menu paired with different wines but there is also the option for a la carte menu. Head Chef, Marnus Scholly… Marnus understands the concept of how we eat with our eyes first as all his dishes are presented with such elaborate artistry and sophistication whilst maintaining the classic tastes that are adequately infused with updated ingredients and flavours. When dining at Clico do keep in mind that the Chef might add an element of surprise to the final dish served on the evening, in keeping with global food trends whilst taking into consideration patrons who are prone to allergies and those with other food concerns. I wrote a blog on my experience Chic Food At Clico Hotel.

The Touristin: Where would we meet you on weekends?

Rebecca Kambule: Mostly out on for a walk or sitting at one of my favourite cafés with a friend or by myself reading the weekend paper. I also enjoy the Rosebank Sunday Market.

I love walking around sampling different flavours of food, coffee from different parts of the world. One can also pick up some beautiful pieces, gifts, etc. I just love the vibe and talking to people and using my sharp bargaining skills and charm.

The Touristin: Do you have a favourite museum/gallery we all have to visit when in Johannesburg?

Rebecca Kambule: Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto is a must. For me, it represents what was a turning point in South African history, where basically teenagers in the township took the fate of their education at the time into their own hands, and demanded to be taught in a language they could relate to (mother tongue and English) as opposed to a language that represented the people who were their oppressors (Afrikaans). The museum reminds me of the resilience and determination of a human spirit.

The Touristin: What are some of your favourite places to shop for A) groceries and B) clothes?

Rebecca Kambule: I like to look different and therefore don’t really stick to one place – I love vintage/ classic with an updated twist. I mostly shop at small and uncommon boutique shops. You will find lots of these on 4th Avenue – Parkhurst and 44 on Stanley in Milpark. There are lots of South Africa designer stores from clothing to interior designers, jewellers, etc. If I must go to a mall – Rosebank Mall it is.., I like that I can walk outdoors and not enclosed all the time – Joburg has the most fantastic climate in South Africa and therefore I do not understand the concept of everything under the roof when one can do outdoor, sidewalk shopping and take advantage of the beautiful climate. Rosebank offers a bit of both, which I enjoy.

The Touristin: What souvenir shall we bring back from Johannesburg?

Rebecca Kambule: I like wearable souvenirs or decorative pieces – I find Big Blue in Rosebank has some of the most tastefully done wearable souvenirs e.g African Vibes T-Shirt is my favourite at the moment. But, I think the real souvenir would be that picture you take whilst visiting our world-renowned landmarks … Sakhumzi Restaurant on Vilakazi Street (2 Nobel Prize winners lived on this street – Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu) Mandela House Museum, Constitutional Hill, Hector Pieterson Memorial, etc.

The Touristin: Thank you so much, Rebecca, I can’t wait to meet you in Johannesburg. All the best to you and REMPO Consulting. Meet Rebecca Kambule on Twitter.

From Berlin with love