Formerly known as Sandton Square, this hub of city life in Johannesburg was renamed Nelson Mandela Square in 2004 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the birth of South Africa's democracy. Also the home of the Nelson Mandela statue, which was unveiled when the square was renamed, the square serves not only as a tribute to the famed president's historic efforts to bring peace to the nation, but also a focal point where visitors and locals alike can contemplate the country's turbulent past. An Italian-style piazza full of shops, restaurants, and galleries, located near world-class hotels and the city's financial district, this is a must-see for any visitor to Johannesburg.
A unique shopping center, where every shopkeeper owns their store, Oriental Plaza is a true bargain hunters destination. Over 360 shops are housed here, each offering its own unique array of bargains, and best of all, bartering is expected, so the best deals are always within reach. Everything from exotic jewlery, to bright and beautiful fabrics, to spices and toys are available, making this a one-stop center for just about anything you might need. A variety of restaurants are also located at the center, with such delicious options as samoosas, candy, and curry. Contact each shop owner for information about their store. A full directory can be found on the center's website.
At 228 meters/728 feet tall, the Carlton Centre is the tallest building in Africa, making it one of Johannesburg's most popular landmarks. Built in the 1970's, the center has been an iconic part of the city's skyline ever since, with such additional features as the 50th floor, Top of Africa, observation deck, which offers panoramic views of the city, as well as an underground shopping mall, which connects the center to the neighboring Carlton Hotel (currently closed). Located in the heart of Johannesburg's Central Business District, this conveniently located landmark should be a part of any visitor's itinerary.
The Rooftop Market at the Rosebank Mall has been a Sunday tradition in Johannesburg for years. A cultural hub as well as a shopaholic's paradise, the market sells a range of art, trinkets, CDs, clothes, jewelry and antiques of both African and Western origin. African dance performances and other cultural programs are also hosted here from time to time.
Traders from all over Africa sell hand-made curios and collectibles from rural areas, to locals and visitors. The food area is a connoisseur's delight - buy freshly made pesto, pasta, fragrant Italian breads and cheeses. There are also performances of live music by locals, adding to the vibrant feel of the market.
Thorolds Bookshop began in 1904 as a shop selling sewing machines and a few books. It later developed into a full fledged bookstore run by Frank Thorold. More than a century old, the store has a wide range of rare and valuable books and acts as a supplier for important clients like Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Wits universities. Run by Neillen van Kraayenburg, who has vast experience in the industry of law books, it is now one of the principle suppliers to important Johannesburg law firms. Along with law books, the place also sells books on topics like travel history, art, military, South African history and architecture.