Johannesburg attractions are numerous, varied, and informative, and are frequently missed in favour of other picture perfect sites to visit in South Africa. Jo’burg, also known as Jozi or E’Goli by locals, is also known as the “city of gold” because of its long history of gold mining. Johannesburg is still South Africa’s financial capital, a city that has defined the country’s history and politics, and a place of stark contrasts – on one hand, the poverty and suffering of Soweto; on the other, dazzling skyscrapers and hidden villas for the few wealthy.
Johannesburg, which is usually chosen as the starting point for a safari and is generally enjoyed on a quick layover, has evolved dramatically in the last 20 years.
This sophisticated city is more than just a shopping destination. Here is a list of family-friendly things to do in greater Johannesburg and the surrounding area if you are visiting or staying in the city. You will appreciate them even if you do not have children with you. Mrpocu.com has put together a list of things to see and things to do in Johannesburg.
Things To See And Do In Johannesburg
Visit The Apartheid Museum
This is one of the nicest sites in Johannesburg to visit. Museums that describe a country’s history, for example, are an excellent method to become acquainted with it. The Apartheid Museum of Johannesburg, like the Museo de los Derechos Humanos in Chile, Yad Vashem in Israel, and the Museo de la Revolucion in Havana, Cuba, is a must-see.
There’s no other way to phrase it: the Apartheid Museum is one of Johannesburg’s must-see attractions – and, if you ask me, the one that most warrants a visit if you’re only in town for a few days. It first opened its doors in 2001.
The huge display, which opened in 2001, is made up of newspaper clippings, documents, films, images, and other historical artefacts that take you through Apartheid’s history. Nelson Mandela is the subject of a full display. Some say you should spend at least two hours looking at the exhibit, but I think you should spend at least four.
You will be given an admission ticket upon arrival that will designate you as white or non-white at random. Depending on the hue of the skin, the entrance is varied. This is simply to establish the tone for the remainder of the visit.
Soweto (short for South Western Township, which was a separate municipality until 2002) is a huge township built by the white government to keep the white and black populations of South Africa apart between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
Soweto, roughly 20 kilometres from Johannesburg, is presently South Africa’s largest township, with 1.3 million residents. It rose to international prominence as the site of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final match and closing ceremony.
Soweto has a fascinating, unique, and complex history of civil unrest and resistance to Apartheid, as well as a diverse cultural legacy.
When you visit, you will discover about the harsh realities of life there, despite recent administrations’ efforts to repair the infrastructure. Many people live in dwellings made of corrugated iron. A few large, contemporary, and comfortable homes have appeared in various locations. Despite the challenging living conditions, the locals are incredibly welcoming. Children are ready to pose for photographs, exclaiming, “Shoot me, shoot me!”
Go To The Cradle Of Humankind
When in Johannesburg, you must go to the Cradle of Humankind. This is the site where the first-ever hominid fossil – an Australopithecus Africanus – was discovered in 1924, and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located approximately 40 minutes drive from downtown Jozi and is recognised as the spot where humans began. The fossil is on display at the Maropeng Visitor Center right now.
The Sterkfontein Caves, which are six linked underground chambers with a lake positioned at around 40 metres below ground level, are about 10 kilometres from the Cradle of Humankind. Mrs Ples (a prehistoric cranium) and Little Foot (a full hominid skeleton) were discovered here.
It is advised that you take a guided tour of the Cradle of Humankind.
Visit Constitution Hill
Visiting Constitution Hill will provide you with additional information about the country’s past. The Fort, a former jail, became notorious for its appalling living conditions and violent treatment of political prisoners and other offenders. Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were two of the most famous prisoners.
The Number Four museum, the Old Fort museum (where the whites-only prison was located), and the Women’s Gaol museum are among the fascinating displays on Constitution Hill, which overlooks the city. Where the ancient “Awaiting Trial” formerly stood, the Constitutional Court of South Africa now stands, with guided tours available. Visiting the constitution hill is one of the best things to see in Johannesburg.
Wander Around Maboneng Precint
When in Johannesburg, a visit to Maboneg Precind is a must. The name means “place of light,” and you will undoubtedly find light there. This was formerly a run-down section of town, but a reconstruction effort has transformed it into one of the city’s most up-and-coming areas, with wonderful restaurants, cafés, bars, boutiques, art galleries (don’t miss Arts on Main and Revolution House), and great places to stay.
One of the most well-known markets in town is Main Street Market. Visit Bioscope, an independent cinema, for some fun.
Take A Rollercoaster Ride Through An Old Gold Mine
Gold Reef City, set on an old gold mine, is one of South Africa’s largest and most popular theme parks, themed around the 1886 gold rush. Explore the museum’s original mining houses and take a tour of a real, disused underground gold mine (the only tour of its kind in the city). The Lyric Theatre, a Victorian train station-themed cinema complex, a trampoline park, and a 10-pin bowling alley are among the attractions, but it’s the 18 thrilling rollercoasters and water rides that bring the crowds. The popular Tower of Terror, for example, has a vertical drop into an abandoned mine shaft and is now the rollercoaster with the highest g-force.
Visit Johannesburg Galleries
A bike trip with Micro-Adventures is the ideal way to view all of the galleries displaying local and African artists. With a guide, you’ll be able to visit artists in their studios and visit galleries that you wouldn’t be able to visit on your own.exploring galleries is one of the best things to see in Johannesburg for art lovers.
Try The Flavour Of The City At Neighbourgoods Market
The once-dying central suburb of Braamfontein – the bohemian student district that now hosts one of the city’s most popular weekend events in a parking garage – has been given new life by Neighbourgoods Market. Listen to live music, fill up on locally manufactured goods, then settle down at one of the long mess hall-style oak tables to enjoy anything from paella and pad thai to tacos and sushi in comfort. During the hot summer months, enjoy the magnificent views of the city from the upstairs outdoor patio while sipping gelato. Every first Thursday of the month, there is also an evening market.
Take A Day Trip To Pilanesberg National Park
Pilanesberg National Park is a great place to visit if you want to get out of town. This is an excellent site to see animals, and it’s lot easier to explore than Kruger. It’s only 2.5 hours from Jo’burg.
The park is situated in an extinct volcano crater in a transition zone between the Kalahari Desert and the Lowveld, resulting in a diverse range of animals. The Big Five, as well as zebras, giraffes, antelopes, wild canines, and a variety of bird species, are all expected to be seen.
Explore Walter SisulubNational Botanical Gardens
South Africa has nine national botanical gardens, one of which is named after Walter Sisulu. It’s the ideal place to go if you want to get a taste of nature without having to leave the city. The Witpoortjie Waterfall and the views of red-rock cliffs are undoubtedly its highlights. There’s even a Birds and Butterfly Garden (where black eagles have been known to nest1!) There’s also a Fern Trail and a Children’s Garden.
Visit Lindfield Victorian House Museum
Lindfield Victorian House Museum, a Provincial Heritage Site, is a must-see for anyone interested in Victorian life as much as I am. Katharine Love, the house’s owner and still a resident, will show you around this living museum while dressed in Victorian garb. The furnishings and items on exhibit in this Victorian residence designed by Herbert Baker all date from the 19th and early 20th centuries and are immaculately preserved.
Have A Traditional Africa Meal In Soweto
South Africa’s rich cultural background is mirrored in its cuisine, and sampling the cuisine is one of the trendiest things to do in Johannesburg. Although Johannesburg is known as South Africa’s gourmet capital, a traditional African supper in Soweto is a must-try. Chicken neck, chicken feet, pigs feet, and tripe are also local delicacies, served with a variety of salads and the unmissable “paap,” a maize-based dow that tastes a lot like polenta.
See Johannesburg From Above
Seeing a city from above provides a completely other viewpoint. A hot air balloon flight is one of the most exciting things to do in Johannesburg. This will give you a sense of the city’s size.
Hiking may not be something that comes to mind when thinking of a busy metropolis, but Johannesburg does feature one of the world’s largest man-made forests. Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve and Modderfontein Nature Reserve, which contain natural springs, dams, grassland, and hills, are two reserves in and surrounding Johannesburg where hikers can go. Most of these reserves feature wildlife, so you can see some species while hiking. A tour looking The city from above is one of the best things to see in Johannesburg.
Plan Your Meals At The Neighbourgoods Market
The Neighbourgoods Market, formerly known as Braamfontein, is one of the best things that has ever occurred to Johannesburg. If you drive from downtown, you can get to the market in under an hour. On weekends, this is the finest place to be.
The marketplace is always bustling with people, and live music is always playing. There are several restaurants and cafés in the vicinity, making it a vibrant place. Street tacos, real sushi, and Thai cuisine are just a few of the cuisines available in the restaurants sprinkled across the region. During the hot summer months, the gelato is the best of the bunch.