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Airbnb's Joburg Experiences aren't just for tourists

Jozi local Paul Ash reckons he may book an Airbnb Experience to learn how to braai properly, but there's plenty of other options on offer, from boxing with grannies to urban gardening

08 July 2018 - 00:00 By paul ash
Training with the boxing grannies of Cosmo City is one of Joburg'sAirbnb Experiences.
Training with the boxing grannies of Cosmo City is one of Joburg'sAirbnb Experiences.
Image: Supplied

Airbnb has launched its popular "Experiences" platform in Johannesburg, starting with 30 activities led by local hosts who will take travellers to see places and meet people that traditional tourism platforms often miss. The platform, first rolled out in South Africa in Cape Town in 2016, will now expand across the country, Airbnb said this week.

Experiences - which Airbnb also calls "trips" - are activities or excursions led by local hosts who bring their enthusiasm, knowledge and passion to the activity and transform it into a uniquely personal experience. No surprise then that it has been a great success in so many cities.

Launched to much fanfare in Los Angeles in November 2016, the platform now covers 13,000 Experiences in 180 cities worldwide and grew 2,500% last year, Airbnb said.

Now it's Joburg's turn.

"The Experiences in Johannesburg show the vibrancy of the City of Gold," said Velma Corcoran, country manager for Airbnb South Africa. "From urban farming to the real Soweto to some of the best nightlife spots - travellers can truly immerse themselves in one of Africa's most energetic cities."

One of the great attractions of Experiences is that it offers local travellers a new way to see their own city. So you can take a township art tour in Alex with Mohlatlego Harry, go biking in downtown Jozi with Brixton vintage bike-shop owner Emile Kruger and have a boxing training session with the "A-Team", the famous "boxing gogos" of Cosmo City.

Guides can take you on downtown walks in Joburg, mountain-biking in Soweto and walking on the Brixton/Fietas heritage trail. You can have a braai lesson (and just because you're South African doesn't automatically mean you know how to braai) with TV presenter Mynie Steffens, go on a two-hour urban gardening workshop with urban farmer Ashleigh Tumelo or explore Hillbrow and Yeoville with urban discovery initiative Dlala Nje.

The good news doesn't stop there: Airbnb is now open to submissions from entrepreneurs throughout South Africa.

"[This] will help to boost tourism outside of city centres by attracting more people to rural and regional areas," said Corcoran.

For more information, go to Airbnb.