Exploring Sandton, one of Johannesburg’s most opulent areas, is an eye-opener and a joy in itself. Johannesburg has its own city centre and extensive efforts are on for past many years to make it a heart of the city. But Sandton has undoubtedly stolen the march over the city center and evolved as an important financial and business district in South Africa today. Its importance has grown manifold and Sandton has arguably attained a place of prominence in sub-Saharan Africa as well.
The new city of Sandton in Johannesburg was born in 1990 when the first mass exodus to the northern suburb took place. Sandton has ever since transformed itself over the years becoming a safe haven of the ‘white flight’ from Johannesburg’s CBD as well as a vital business center. Today, Sandton has become a sophisticated district and is presently home to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, financial consultants, top investment banks, and of course one of the biggest convention centers in Africa.
Some 50 years ago, Sandton had quite a different landscape. The white upper class lived on wealthy, large estates. The sandy horse trails were a common sight. However, the landscape has now radically altered over the years. The massive farms no longer exist, and have been largely taken over by glass and chrome buildings and a refuge of South Africa’s emerging black middle class gentry.
Sandton is now renowned as ‘Africa’s richest square mile’. It has become a symbol of opulence with a series of Manhattan-style skyscrapers, which have become proud landmarks throughout Johannesburg. Sandton City is easily identified with its pyramid-style rooftop. It is presently home to the famous Nelson Mandela Square, many art galleries and restaurants.
At least 47 of South Africa’s top 300 companies had established their national headquarters in Sandton during the year 1994. This has only grown with more companies establishing their headquarters. It was during the year 2000 that the Johannesburg Stock Exchange was relocated to Sandton. Companies such as Didata, Rand Merchant Bank, South African Breweries, MTN, Nedcor and Investec are among few major corporations to have set up their headquarters here.
Upmarket Sandton – An Insight
The four-story Sandton City cosmopolitan shopping center is situated in northern Johannesburg. It is Gauteng’s ultimate shopping destination. Above 300 famous local as well as international brands are up for sale at the numerous stores here. The Sandton City spanning in 50,000 meters area first opened its doors for the people in 1973. This squared-shaped mall was renovated in late 2011.
If you have planned your day out for shopping at Sandton City, don’t forget to enjoy delicious African, Asian and other international cuisines available at its food court with a wide range of fast food outlets and coffee shops here. If you have completed your shopping and want to satiate your appetite in complete relaxation then get a fine dining experience at one of its many restaurants. Want something more exciting, then entertain yourself at Sandton City’s 11-screen cinema complex.
The mall also has several information kiosks providing information and services to the customers. The information kiosks are open all seven days of the week. On Mondays through Saturdays it is open from 09:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs, while on Sundays you can make use of the information kiosks between 10:00 hrs and 16:00 hrs. Exploring the huge mall is quite easy with the presence of signage and directory boards throughout the shopping center.
The customers are offered access to a wide range of services at the Sandton City. These include unisex baby changing rooms, facilities for disabled shoppers, wheelchairs, store directories and gift vouchers. For Muslim shoppers, the mall provides a special prayer room, which is situated on the lower level.
Visiting Nelson Mandela Square
If you miss out visiting the Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City then you visit to Johannesburg would be considered to be incomplete. It is among the largest open public spaces in South Africa. A huge statue of former President Nelson Mandela is installed here.
The Nelson Mandela Square is a European-style piazza celebrating African style and heritage. This is a great place for shopping as well, where you will discover more than 88 exclusive stores. It also houses cosmopolitan sidewalk cafes and some of South Africa’s finest restaurants. The Nelson Mandela Square also features a huge stage where many local and international events are usually held. Among the facilities offered at the square include designated smoking rooms, baby changing rooms and wheelchair access. The Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square together attract more than one million local and international visitors every month. This premier lifestyle destination in Johannesburg is worthwhile visiting.