Hillbrow locals have decided to embrace their part of the city. They’ve moved away from shying away from the stigma attached to Hillbrow. The Gauteng Tourism Authority has helped residents come out of their shell and show-off their neighbourhood as a tourist destination, instead of “that part of town that one should avoid”.

This well-known part of Johannesburg was once a hub for entertainment, celebs and the elite, till the neighbourhood lost its value, buildings were hijacked and became infested with drugs and prostitution.

A group of young people conduct exciting tours in Hillbrow. Their tour company Dlala Nje, takes tourist on an exciting journey around the neighbourhood.

The guided walk through Ponte City, Hillbrow and surrounding areas is one of a kind. You’ll get the opportunity to explore the inner-city of Johannesburg through an entirely new lens. From the magnitude of Hillbrow tower and the raciness of Pretoria High street to the stupendous views of the infamous Ponte Tower also known as ‘The big Vodacom building’.

The tour is interesting and racy at the same time, as tourist watch over the shoulders and holding on to their bags and cellphones at the start of the tour. By the end on the tour, everyone is relaxed and have eased into the ‘Hillbrow street life’, many coming to a realization that it’s not as bad as portrayed on TV.

During the tour, hosted by Dlala Nje, you’ll get an opportunity to engage and understand the history of Johannesburg and the ultimate socio-economic impact apartheid. You’ll also get to meet wonderful people and engage in really interesting conversations with the locals.

The tour ends off with a hearty meal in a lavish apartment on the 52nd floor at the Ponte Towers, with a breath-taking view.

Speaking to the SunTeam, the tour guide said “for people who have never been to Hillbrow or who have a certain mentality towards the place, I’d advise them to come with an open mind and leave prejudices at home.”

Dlala Nje conducts their tours on weekends, and accomidate large groups and small groups. They get booked mostly by international travellers, but they would love to tap into the local market too.

Visit their website here: www.dlalanje.org. For a full guide on which places to visit in and around Johannesburg, follow @VisitGauteng on Twitter and Instgram or visit etheir website www.gauteng.net.

Other places highly recommended by the GTA are the Maboneng Precinct and the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein.