At the end of 2014 news broke that Joburg had come in tops in the Rough Guide 2015 - a compilation of the best places to travel this year.
Months later the City of Gold welcomes droves of tourists who chose it (maybe as a result of the Rough Guide accolade?) as their jumpstart to the region.
Joburg was picked from a veritable list of condidates, many without the challenges it confronts. A new transport system better connects the inner city to the suburbs and we finally have a hop-on, hop-off bus for touring.
But there has also been determined development of vibey, lively inner-city precincts in recent years, bringing residents back into areas which had previoussly ybeen neglected. Also significant is that the recognition comes on the back of an explosion of venues promoting arts and culture - not just in the inner city but also in the townships.
"New clusters of forward-thinking museums, galleries and shops are set to emerge in 2015, though better-known attractions like Constitution Hill and the poignant Apartheid Museum should still be on the to-do list of any first-time visitor."
"Joburg has a reputation problem" begins the blurb in the Rough Guide Top 10 Cities for 2015, a pick from top countries to the hottest cities. This isn't a head-in-the-sand review of what the city should be. It has it's issues, but it's still a great place to visit... and the time for that is NOW!
Better known for his direction of Hollywood blockbusters District 9 and Elysium, Neil Blomkamp was born and went to school in Joburg. So it's no surprise then, that Rough Guides used a quote from him in the publication!
Johannesburg represents the future. My version of what I think the world is going to become looks like Johannesburg.— Neil Blomkamp
It would be safe to say that most of those tourists visiting newly-endorsed Joburg or well-known Cape Town would not have included comparatively small Tzaneen on their South African touring schedule.
The farming town came in at number 27 in an online list of 50 Unpredictable And Non-Clichéd Places To Travel To.
The truly interesting part?
The online travel guide targets under 20's! Elite Daily punts itself the premier website for and by Millennials, globally.
The hidden gems of the world are becoming hot spots for tourists — so all the more reason to visit these places sooner rather than later.— elitedaily.com
Their "Non-Cliche and Unpredictable Destinations list starts with the Isle of Skye in Scotland but with more than 40 million unique visitors, inclusion in this list - even at number 27 - is a punt the Limpopo Government should pay attention to!
Tzaneen is a tropical town located in the north of South Africa. It’s beautiful and full of natural attractions, including a monkey sanctuary.
Blurb on Elitedaily.com
According to Wikipedia, Tzaneen is Limpopo's second biggest town after Polokwane. It is situated in a lush, high rainfall fertile region producing about 40% of South Africa's avocados, 40% of South Africa's mangoes, 20% of South Africa's bananas and 90% of South Africa's tomatoes.
Safarinow.com list local attractions as including the Debengeni Falls ("a magical spot for picnicking or swimming in the crystal pool"), Agatha Crocodile Ranch, The Tsonga Kraal, State Forests and the Tzaneen Museum.
While they offer little justification for their destination choices, Elite Daily should be commended for at least going beyond the obvious and the over-traded. Elite Daily's target market shouldn't be the travel traillblazers - yet they're encouraging them to be.
And just perhaps, when those 20-somethings flock to "non-cliche" Tzaneen, they may even be lucky enough to stumble across some of the other diamonds in Limpopo's crown... just down the road, for example. are Magoebaskloof and Haenertsburg.
Now that WOULD be unpredictable, wouldn't it?
This article first appeared on 702 : While Joburg basks in Rough Guide glory, Tzaneen grabs a new travel spotlight!