The Escape Room Phenomenon hits South Africa

I’m always looking for new things to do and now I’ve found a great way to escape FROM Johannesburg IN Johannesburg.

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Keys, codes, intrigue and mystery – can you escape?

Escape rooms (also known as puzzle rooms) are already massively popular in many big cities around the world and Johannesburg had two relatively newly opened escape room companies that I had already visited when I first wrote this post.  There are now five separate escape room companies (that I’m aware of) operating in Johannesburg, so I’m updating the post to reflect all the escape room options you can choose from.  You will find links to all the escape room companies at the bottom of the post.

If you’re puzzled about what you should do for your birthday/bachelor party/corporate team building/girls night out, read on to find out more about these exciting and intriguing new attractions, where they are and how to get booked in.

If you haven’t heard of an escape room, let me quickly explain, it’s an immersive experience where you and your team mates are locked in a themed room and have an hour to escape by solving a creative series of clues and puzzles.  You might encounter switches, torches, keys, combinations, magnets or codes.  In fact the only limit to the challenges  in the room is the creator’s imagination.   In a nutshell, it’s brilliant fun.

So far, I’ve tested out Escape Room and Hashtag Escape and it’s actually not an either or choice – I would recommend BOTH. While essentially offering the same type of experience the two puzzle room companies manage to be quite different from one another.

Escape Room is based in Dunkeld West.  You have a lot of clues and problems to work through within the hour, but each one is relatively quick to solve and you can manage with as few as two players.  Our team successfully escaped from the room Disappearance and will be heading back to try the new Mine Escape room which opens any day now.

Hashtag Escape has fewer problems to solve, but they are far more challenging and obscure and the minimum team size of three people reflects that. We ALMOST escaped from Rebel Room leaving us even more determined to return for Room Number 2 – not yet named – but due to open in coming weeks with a paranormal theme.

HashtagEscape is in Norwood which is a nice little suburb that I’d never been to before. There’s a fab little coffee shop just over the road called Loof – where we had a post-Hashtag Escape debrief and delicious coffee. Hashtag Escape (and Norwood itself) warrant a return visit. The third planned room won’t be ready for a little while longer, but was tentatively described as having a computer hacker theme – again, it all sounds very exciting.

I suspect there is friendly rivalry between these two escape room companies, but ultimately if you enjoy this kind of puzzle challenge experience, you’re going to want to try more rooms so it’s probably mutually beneficially (for both customers and competitors) for Escape Room and Hashtag Escape to give you a friendly nudge in one another’s direction.

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Looking for something new to do in Johannesburg?  Test your wits in an escape room.

Our all female team of three is plotting a husbands vs wives contest (they can try a room that we’ve already done while we tackle a new one).

We three (myself and two lovely co- onspiritors) are already strategising how to secure our win. Our husbands don’t know about any of this yet.  Hi there guys, if you’re reading this let me know if you’re up for a boys vs girls escape room challenge and dinner?

It’s difficult to tell you too much more without giving the game away so all that’s left to do is provide the links so that you can make a booking.

Escape Room

or

Hashtag Escape

or

Clued In

Clued In opened mid March in Parkview.  They currently have a neat riddle competition on their home page – have a go, the winner will be drawn on 24th April and will get a free pass to try out the room.

HintHunt in Cape Town – they have three puzzle rooms (John Monroe, Zen and Submarine). This is great news for puzzlers in the Mother City. It’s also great news for escape room fans in Jozi – I got in touch with them aaaaand, they’re opening up in Jozi 1st April 2016 at the Thrupps Centre in Illovo. You can already pre-book the John Monroe Room or the Zen Room at the new Johannesburg venue by following this link:

HintHunt

or

I Challenge U

Based in Ferndale, Randburg – they have two rooms, Enigma and Professor’s Revenge.

Update:  17 August 2016

You can also visit Lostland in Rivonia.  

Escape Rooms are immersive, fun, sociable and brilliantly clever.  As word spreads I’m sure the most popular time slots are going to get booked up quickly.

Any questions?  Any escape rooms that I’ve missed out – please get in touch and I can add them?

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