Spring is almost here, and soon we’ll be out and about on weekends. Hanging out with friends, living it up at spring festivals and enjoying the beautiful scenery as flowers start to bloom. These are just the kind of days we live for as Urban Explorers, - days where the beauty of the world fills us with joy, and we go about doing what we do best, living our best lives.

In this month’s edition of our Urban Explorer, we travel across the country in pursuit of some of Mzansi’s unique weekend markets. On our journey, we find some hidden gems that make our travels worth every minute spent on the road.


Our first stop is in the resort town of Hartbeespoort, just an hour’s drive away from Johannesburg. Hartbeespoort is known for many attractions to travellers, and this is where we find the Harties Market. Set on rolling lawns, under the shade of beautiful large trees, creating a picturesque spot for friends and family to come together to enjoy a beautiful day at the market.

The food stalls are a big attraction, making them a prominent first stop when arriving at the market. The food stalls here have a variety like no other, from the lamb on the spit, gourmet wraps, smoked pork belly, hearty Mexican fare, biltong, homemade preserves, Turkish delight, nougat, chocolates, and the South African favourite, vetkoek. The wine and beer stalls have a very chilled atmosphere in which visitors can let their hair down and relax.

Each vendor at the market is handpicked based on quality, innovation and meeting customer demand; this ensures that visitors receive nothing short of quality service and products. Another attraction at the Harties Market is the hand-made arts and crafts stalls which have mosaics, wooden crafts, beautiful jewellery and gorgeous décor items for the home.

A trip to Harties is sure to be filled with tons of fun activities for everyone as the town has numerous attractions beyond the Harties Market. As much as this small town is tranquil during the week, it sure comes alive on weekends, and that’s where we want to be as Urban Explorers to feel the electric vibe that Harties has to offer.



Our second stop is in the City of Gold, a city known as the Mecca of dreams and bright lights. Here you’ll find a market that’s seen more years than most of us, The Sheds at 1Fox. Rich in history and diversity, The Sheds at 1Fox has seen South Africa grow to what it is today as it was part one of the first mining camps that sprung up at the time of the discovery of gold in the 1880's. Today, this precinct has transformed into a dynamic cultural hub and is home to several unique businesses such as the Fox Junction Event Venue, Good Luck Bar, Mad Giant Brewery, Urbanologi, Ginologist, Little Fox Cocktail Bar and Just Teddy Bakery. 

Each of these establishments brings with it an element of uniqueness and flair, adding to the persona of the venue. One of the attractions to The Sheds is The Good Luck Bar, which is said to have been established in 1895 and was the first bar to open during the gold rush. The Good Luck bar is prevalent throughout the Urban Explorer circles as Jozi’s premier music, and events venue hosting all of SA’s top bands and performers as well as a host of international acts, events hosted here aren’t to be missed. The Sheds at 1Fox is the ultimate weekend destination when around Jozi, it opens Friday, Saturdays and Sundays. Pionieri Pizzeria is also another attraction for those who love to enjoy a scrumptious pizza freshly made as you wait. Pionieri Pizzeria is the only Authentic Neapolitan Pizzeria in Johannesburg. Their Neapolitan pizza originates from Naples, Italy. Neapolitan pizza is made with pure and fresh ingredients: a basic fermented dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil. The pizza at Pionieri Pizzeria is unbelievably good and you’ll have no choice but to order a second one.



Our last stop this month is in Franschhoek, a peaceful town with centuries-old vineyards and Cape Dutch architecture. The trails here wind through flowers and wildlife at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve to views over Franschhoek Valley. This is the one place where Friday nights bring this beautiful town to life as many people travel from afar to attend the Farm-fresh Friday Nights market. 

What you can expect here is good food as the market invites local food producers who share their ethos of healthy, natural products to provide fresh new experiences and tastes for sharing. As you enjoy your meal, you are serenaded by smooth sounds of local talent that will give you goosebumps. So of course, there’s plenty of stellar wines to sample and purchase. Farm-Fresh Friday Nights are the kind of vibe one wants for a laid-back Friday with friends.


As we wrap up this edition of our Urban Explorer series, we invite you to share some of your experiences with us. Till we meet again, explorers, and remember to be alive is to live your best life.