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Things to do in Johannesburg

Chant with the locals at Ellis Park

Few South Africans would argue that they're not a rugby-mad nation, and national stadium Ellis Park was the site of the country's most iconic moment - winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup and laying the foundation for the settling of racial relations in the country. Nowadays it's home to the Lions, the Golden Lions and, of course, the Springboks.

Eat your fill at the farmers’ markets

Johannesburg has a number of farmers' markets that will keep the most ardent foodie happy. Bryanston Organic Market is on Thursdays and Sundays from 0900-1500, Neighbourgoods in Braamfontein is on Saturdays from 0900-1500, and Market on Main in Magobeng Precinct is every Sunday from 1000-1500. Come hungry.

Get neck deep in wine on the Vaal Meander Wine Route

Every year for six weeks during the winter, venues along the banks of the Vaal River offer fantastic wine tastings (www.vaalwineroute.co.za). The venues - a mixture of bars, shops and restaurants - team up with prominent South African wine estates and will welcome you with open arms and full glasses.

Go big game spotting in safari

There's all manner of safari options to explore around Johannesburg, though most tours will drive you the 405km (251m) to Kruger National Park. There, you'll have a good chance of seeing the 'Big Five' (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino). African Budget Safaris (www.africanbudgetsafaris.com) offer a range of two and three day tours.

Take to the plains on horseback

The dusty plains surrounding the city are perfect for exploring by horseback. Whether your experience is closer to cowboy or choirboy, Danielsrust Horse Trails (tel: +27 82 891 8365; www.danielsrust.co.za) will get your saddled up and trotting around a 1,000 hectare farm full of game like zebra, wildebeest and eland.

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Sunnyside Park Hotel

Built in 1895 as a gracious country residence, the Sunnyside Park Hotel is a National Monument. Set in glorious English gardens, it retains its original magnificent balustrade, wood panelling, historic fireplace and glittering chandeliers, but has been extensively refurbished to provide modern touches. Located just off the M1 freeway in exclusive Parktown, it is a few minutes' drive to the Killarney Mall, Rosebank and Sandton City and 30 minutes to the airport. Its restaurant, Milners, is all starched linen and quiet elegance with a British bent in food, tempered to suit all tastes.

StayEasy Eastgate

This ultra-modern hotel in Johannesburg fits into the budget bracket but is surprisingly well equipped, with air-conditioning, a swimming pool and secure parking. Situated 15 minutes' drive from OR Tambo International Airport and 10 minutes' walk from the Eastgate Shopping and entertainment complex (10 cinemas), it's just off the start of the N12/R24 freeways, within easy reach of Sandton, Pretoria, Durban and Kruger National Park. Continental breakfast is available in the lobby and guests can order meals delivered from local restaurants.

The Palazzo Montecasino

This extravagant Johannesburg hotel is part of the Montecasino gambling, leisure, entertainment and shopping complex in Fourways, just 30 minutes from OR Tambo International Airport. Styled like an Italian palace, its luxurious accommodation overlooks lush, landscaped Tuscan gardens. All rooms have one king-size or two double beds, custom air-conditioning, internet point, hairdryer and refreshments. There is also a fully equipped fitness centre, outdoor swimming pool, plus the 1,900-seater Montecasino Theatre.

The Westcliff

This claims to be Johannesburg's most luxurious hotel and with unique features such as the city's best sunset and moonrise viewing spot, it probably is. It clings to a steep mountainside, with breathtaking views of the Magaliesberg Mountains and of elephants in the zoo below. The rooms and suites are individually furnished; most also feature charming terraces, balconies or private courtyards. Facilities include a magnificent hilltop heated swimming pool. The Westcliff is conveniently near upmarket shopping districts and golf courses.

Faircity Quatermain Hotel

The epitome of gracious living and a home-from-home atmosphere, The Quatermain, located in the upmarket suburb of Morningside, provides a convenient and tranquil base close to Sandton and Johannesburg. Set in manicured indigenous gardens with oak trees and swimming pool, The Quatermain offers Zimbabwean teak furniture and queen- or king-size beds in all 114 rooms.

Indaba Hotel

Set in a 30 hectare (74 acre) country estate featuring indigenous flora and fauna, the white-walled, thatched buildings of this well-equipped hotel are minutes from the N1 highway. There are 210 very reasonably priced en-suite, air-conditioned bedrooms, three popular restaurants, a swimming pool, tennis courts, volleyball, outdoor chess, a beauty therapist and a jogging track.