Inner city Joburg’s renaissance is being driven by passionate people who want to spread the word about all the area has to offer. We chat to Bheki Dube, the force behind Maboneng-based walking tour company MainStreetWalks, who also co-owns Picnics in the Sky.
Who came up with the idea of having “picnics in the sky” and what was the inspiration behind starting them?
Greg Solik and I founded Picnics in the Sky with the idea of providing a culinary tour that would reintroduce people to the city. At the time (2011), domestic and international travellers were starting to re-engage with Joburg again, and we felt that our Picnics in the Sky tours offered a more relaxed way to experience the city than an intensive walking tour does. We also felt that there was a niche market for culinary tours within Joburg.
Tell us more about them.
The Picnics in the Sky take place every Sunday. We meet at Market On Main at 11am and provide you with a picnic basket, blanket and eating utensils. We then give you the opportunity to buy various food and drinks at the market and fill up your baskets (at your own cost). Once you’re done, we take a shuttle to the Carlton Centre building and go up to the 50th floor. At “the top of Africa”, you can dig into your picnic basket as we narrate and conduct a tour of Joburg, 223m above the ground.
You can also sip on local craft beers and wines as you learn the fascinating history and heritage this city has. The tour finishes at 1.30pm when we take you back to the market.
Is your clientele mostly local Joburgers or do you get a lot of tourists?
The Picnics in the Sky tours are targeted at domestic clientele: 85% of our guests are local and 15% are international travellers. It’s a very family-friendly tour that encourages people to re-engage with this incredible city.
Where do the moonlight picnics happen and how often?
Moonlight Picnics take place on rooftops around the Maboneng Precinct, every full moon. You can visit our website and social media to see when the next one is.
011 614 0163
Words: Belinda Mountain