Arguably, you can’t have a complete travel experience in South Africa without visiting Johannesburg. There are plenty of places of interest in Johannesburg that every tourist would love to see. And if you are planning to visit the beautiful city then let us dive in.
Welcome to Johannesburg, the pulsating heart of South Africa. This sprawling metropolis, fondly known as “Jozi” or the “City of Gold,” is a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. As the largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg is an urban playground that never fails to enthrall its visitors with its vibrant energy and diverse attractions.
Johannesburg provides a wide variety of activities for all types of travelers, from breathtaking natural scenery to bustling marketplaces and world-class museums. Johannesburg has something exceptional to offer, whether you’re a history enthusiast looking to learn more about South Africa’s past or an adventurer yearning to explore the vast outdoors. And there are plenty of places to visit in Johannesburg for free without breaking the bank, so budget shouldn’t be a problem.
In this article,` Mrpocu.com` will delve into the top places of interest in Johannesburg, unveiling the city’s hidden gems and iconic landmarks. Join us as we embark on a virtual journey through this captivating city, discovering its rich heritage, remarkable architecture, and vibrant tapestry of cultures that define Johannesburg’s unique character.
Places Of Interest In Johannesburg
Adler Museum Of Medicine
The Adler Museum of Medicine, which is housed on campus as a part of the medical school in Parktown and is funded by the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits University in Johannesburg, houses a collection of over 40 000 items that depict the history of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy through the ages.
In terms of modern medicine, the Adler Museum is a real mine of information. In addition to the vast collection mentioned above, there are other items related to medical history including records, photographs, films, sculptures, philatelic and medallion collections, and a library of rare literature.
There are replicas of an early Johannesburg pharmacy, dental office, doctor’s office, and optometry display if you’re truly into medical or just want to see how far we’ve gone. There are also exhibits of a few alternative treatments, like acupuncture, Chinese medicine (which, let’s face it, has been around a lot longer than modern Western medicine), Tibb, and Ayurveda, just in case you thought this was a fairly one-sided picture of holistic care.
In addition to this, the museum organizes public lectures, tailored school visits, movie screenings, and transient exhibitions on a variety of topics.
ABSA Money Museum
The only banking and money museum in the nation, the ABSA Money Museum, has a fascinating history of how changes in the economy, politics, and society can significantly alter a currency.
The Absa Money Museum’s archives reach all the way back to the early days of Johannesburg, and its collections span from rather primitive types of money, such as cowrie shells and Venetian glass beads, to gold coins found in sunken ships. The core of the museum’s exhibits is numismatics, the scientific study of money and its history. View the museum’s approximately 600 money boxes to learn about bank-related crime, how to use an ATM, and the value of saving money.
Of course, the Absa Money Museum goes into great detail on the banking behemoth’s past, allowing visitors to follow the growth of money in South Africa as well as the country’s financial history. It is also one of the best museums in Johannesburg you should visit.
Even though we typically associate money with coins, banknotes, credit cards, and checks, historically, humans have traded using commodities like salt, seashells, metal, and even live animals. In essence, this kind of proto-money shared the same fundamental characteristics as money in use today: it was rare and difficult to counterfeit. Long before people learned to write, money had been used for 4500 years. And in Swaziland, for example, the practice of exchanging red ochre may be at least 100,000 years old.
The Braamfontein Spruit, one of many streams in Johannesburg, flows through the northern suburbs of the city, giving those who bike, trek, and trail run along its banks a much-needed breath of fresh air.
The’spruit’ extends from Paulshof to the south of Johannesburg, near the Melville Koppies. It meanders through Emmarentia, Parkhurst, Craighall, Riverclub, Bryanston, and Rivonia along the way, totaling about 25 to 30 kilometers.
The Braamfontein Spruit now looks very different because of the phenomenal growth of mountain biking. It undergoes routine cleanings and maintenance initiatives, such as those done by the Hollard JUMA MTB Adventure, City Parks, and Johannesburg Water in advance of the urban mountain biking race in July 2014. The spruit is much busier now than it was previously because it is such a well-liked MTB track.
The triumph of the human spirit over adversity is the subject of the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Over 20 million individuals were made second-class citizens by the white-elected National Party government beginning in 1948, dooming them to a life of servitude, humiliation, and torture. The story of a nation’s resistance, bravery, and fortitude reached its climax in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela, the prisoner who became president.
Discover the real history of South Africa in just 15 minutes from OR Tambo International Airport or 20 minutes from Sandton, the country’s business district. Whoever you are, you can’t help but leave with a better appreciation and understanding of this country, its worst moments, and its greatest victories. The museum is one of the best historical places to visit in South Africa.
The Apartheid Museum, the first of its type, depicts apartheid’s birth and fall: the racially discriminatory system that hampered much of its advancement and the triumph of the reason that culminated half a century of battle. A multidisciplinary team of curators, filmmakers, historians, and designers put together and organized the Museum.
Brenda Fassie Memorial
The Brenda Fassie bronze sculpture outside of the Bassline music venue in Newtown, Johannesburg, is one of 40 memorial artworks erected across the nation by the Sunday Times to commemorate the newspaper’s 100th birthday and to foster a sense of national identity. The sculpture, created by artist Angus Taylor, measures 1570 meters in height and depicts the best-selling pop diva, affectionately known to her followers as Ma Brr, in an unconventional stance. Jose Soberon Villa’s bronze sculptures of John Lennon sitting on a park seat and Ernest Hemingway supporting a bar in Havanna served as the inspiration for the artist.
The microphone in front of Fassie, who is sitting on a barstool after having it broken and fixed in 2012, is broken. The empty barstool next to her, however, invites onlookers to sit down and “chat” with her. To get visitors to engage with the sculpture, there is a stool. Several statements from Fassie are engraved in tiny letters in bronze. if you take the time to pause, then search for them.
The ‘Madonna of the Townships’, Brenda Fassie was an anti-apartheid Afropop singer. She was the ninth child of nine, and she was born in the Langa township in Cape Town. Brenda began performing for visitors to earn money after her father passed away, with her mother playing the piano to accompany her.
At the height of apartheid in the 1950s, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo operated the nation’s first black law firm out of a small three-story structure known as Chancellor House. The main focus of their wholesome profession was to support persons who were being held accountable for crimes against the state and for breaking the repressive laws of the day in South Africa, the majority of which were passed laws. Ironically, a few of these were the same offenses for which the two lawyers would ultimately be found guilty (they were both charged with high treason and detained in the latter part of 1956).
Mandela was cleared of treason charges but was forced to leave Chancellor House in 1960 due to his political activities (Tambo and his family had already fled the country in 1958 due to concerns that the ANC would be outlawed). Mandela resumed practicing law from a nearby apartment.
Today, Chancellor House is located near the courts, at the intersection of Fox and Gerard Sekoto streets. The homeless were its only tenants up until 2010 when it was abandoned and left to rot. They had no qualms about lighting fires within the structure to stay warm, utterly destroying the original interior design.
Cumberland Bird Sanctuary
An official 5.2-hectare “protected area” with its entrance on Cumberland Avenue, hence its name, is located directly across from the Bryanston Country Club. It is kept under lock and key the majority of the time, however, it is occasionally accessible to the public. Try to take advantage of these opportunities because the sanctuary is home to 82 different kinds of birds, despite the high concentration of exotic trees. A pair of black sparrow hawks that breed there are perhaps the sanctuary’s most well-known visitors.
The bird hide is located at the small dam; there isn’t a clear path leading there, so it can be challenging to locate. While you are in the hide, common moorhens, thick-billed weavers, mousebirds, and even red-eyed doves and southern red bishops make their presence known. The reeds may also produce a small rush warbler.
The sanctuary has a picnic area with benches and tables that is also a wonderful place to see crested barbets, laughing doves, turtle doves, and white-rumped swifts. On the Bryanston Community News web pages, keep an eye out for Sanctuary open days on Sundays.
In the northern part of Johannesburg, between the neighborhoods of Victory Park, Blairgowrie, and Craighall Park, is a sizable green space known as Delta Park. The park has always been well-liked by locals and their dogs, but at one point it received some negative attention and was seen as only being safe to visit in groups. However, there are plenty of reasons to visit this part of the world thanks to the magnificent cycle lanes that are available and the Delta Users Committee’s frequent treks through the park.
During the school year, Delta Park, a girl scout and guide camp, is bustling with activity. Parts of it join to form Trefoil Park, which is also frequently utilized for events. Here is also the location of the Delta Environmental Centre, which offers environmental advice and education. In order to encourage and assist schoolchildren in leading greener lifestyles, they are an independent non-profit organization that provides a variety of courses and curriculum-based programs. They rent out an auditorium and a function room, which are ideal for workshops.
East Rand Flea Market
The East Rand Flea Market, located in Boksburg, just outside of Johannesburg, is next to the East Rand Mall and, as a result, is open almost every day of the week, save for Mondays. Shoppers enjoy the variety of goods offered, which include African artwork, a wide range of handcrafted items, a developing home industry, and just about every kind of plastic gadget known to man.
The East Rand Flea Market is one of many in Johannesburg that are traditional and distinctively South African. Each of them often carries a wide variety of African art, such as drums, beaded dolls, street wire art, and wooden carvings. Jewelry, apparel, ceramics, and any other cheap mass-produced items are included in the deal. Furthermore, one should be on the lookout for fake DVDs and PlayStation games at the East Rand Flea Market.
Since the East Rand mall is almost across the street from the flea market, shopping need not finish after perusing the booths and stopping at one of the many foods stands for a hot dog, boerewors roll, or samoosa. Numerous big-box retailers, specialty shops, coffee shops, restaurants, and a nine-theater movie theater are all available.
East Rand Mall
With a wide selection of eateries, boutiques, chain stores, and franchises to suit the preferences and needs of all types of shoppers, the well-known East Rand Mall makes the most of this location’s great positioning. The fact that it is fewer than 10 kilometers from the airport only to its appeal.
Along with being the biggest Pick ‘n Pay Hypermarket in the nation, East Rand Mall also houses over 175 additional retailers. The well-known apparel retailers Woolworths, Edgars, Truworths, Mr. Price, Milady’s, Uzzi, Big Blue, Legit, Guess, and Cotton On are just a few. It’s also great to explore specialty stores like Hyde’s Man’s Store, The Ghetto, and Bra Bar.
The variety of health and beauty retailers is lavish, enticing customers to stock up on all the goods they require to groom and pamper themselves or to purchase as gifts for friends and family. In addition to others, these shops sell Sorbet, The Body Shop, Obey Your Body, Mica Beauty, Dream Nails, Ginger Genetics, and Eden Perfumes.
Ellis Park Stadium
Ellis Park Stadium received extensive renovations to accommodate the millions of foreign players and supporters who traveled to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, despite the fact that it was already a frequent venue for important sporting events (it was first built in 1928).
The City of Gold’s preferred location for rugby and football (or soccer) is the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, Gauteng. As part of the renovations, additional upper decks were built behind each goal, increasing the stadium’s seating capacity from 60 000 to 70 000. It is a classic square-shaped open-air stadium, but the sides are slightly curved, adding to its aesthetic appeal.
It presently has nine conference spaces, executive suites, state-of-the-art audio-visual and technical equipment, media facilities, access to physically challenged people, and banqueting facilities. These improvements guarantee that this stadium is of the highest caliber and prepared for virtually any gathering of people, whether for business, sport, or entertainment.
Emmarentia Dam, located near the Botanic Garden in Emmarentia, north of Johannesburg, is reputed to be the city’s best dog walk. This expansive and well-liked park is ideal for getting away from the city, with peaceful lawns where families can gather and play and walks dotted with wooden seats arranged thoughtfully to allow for moments of calm and introspection.
Even though the name refers to a single dam, there are actually numerous that makeup Emmarentia Dam. Dogs enjoy the water there and can be seen splashing around, while the main dam is used extensively for canoe club training and is a popular spot for canoeists and windsurfers all year long.
Emmarentia Dam is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Johannesburg on weekends, and many weekend visitors enjoy picnicking and barbecuing on the lush lawns there because of its picturesque location surrounded by water and trees. There are woodland and open spaces with grass, as well as a tea parlor with excellent scones.
Diagonal Street is located in the city’s central business district, which is typically characterized by imposing architectural features and skyscrapers. Helmut Jahn, a celebrated German-American architect with experience across the globe, created the landmark structure known as Eleven Diagonal Street. The City of Gold and the jewels that it has produced throughout the years are well complemented by its distinctly diamond-shaped design.
The use of flat glass surfaces that reflect the sun in various directions to provide a glittering look has enabled this. Eleven Diagonal Street is one of the City of Gold’s architectural wonders, towering over the skyline of Johannesburg and dazzling as the sunlight catches and reflects on its many glass facets. This building, as its name suggests, is only one of the attractions that can be seen on Diagonal Street.
Duma Nokwe Monument
The Duma Nokwe Monument is located on Pritchard Street in front of the Johannesburg High Court, next to the legal courts. The two-meter-tall work of art, created by artist Lewis Levin, is a tribute to the first black advocate admitted to the Johannesburg Bar. However, given the reality of practicing as an advocate, this honor seems quite hollow.
In March 1956, Duma defeated his closest contender, Nelson Mandela, to become the nation’s first black advocate. After Hendrik Verwoerd, the minister of native affairs rejected his request for apartments at His Majesty’s Building, he continued to share George Bizos’ chambers with him unlawfully from 1956 to 1962.
Nokwe additionally had the humiliation of having his own bathroom and changing area in the Pretoria Court. The Common Room was off-limits to non-white people. Due to the State of Emergency, the accused and their attorneys were unable to communicate for more than five months, making it nearly impossible for the trialists to manage without them.
The FNB Stadium and The Calabash (after their recognizable shape) are the two most well-known monikers for Soccer City. The 2010 FIFA World Cup’s opening and closing games were played in this stadium, which is located in Nasrec, close to Johannesburg’s Soweto Township. The main World Cup stadium required extensive modifications in order to be ready for the tens of thousands of football fans and international players.
The traditional African pots known as calabashes, which are frequently crafted from or modeled after gourds, were the inspiration for it spherical shape. The coating resembles delicate mosaics that depict fire and earth, while the lighting that surrounds the stadium’s base mimics the flames of a fire that is burning beneath the “pot.”
Gandhi Square is a well-liked tourist destination and a hive of urban commerce and retail activity. It is located in the center of Johannesburg’s Central Business District, 25 minutes away from the OR Tambo International Airport, which receives millions of foreign travelers each year, as well as Sandton, the city’s business hub.
Gandhi Square bears the name of the legendary Mahatma Gandhi. This Indian politician was a well-known human rights advocate who was instrumental in influencing the opinions of numerous people. In truth, a lot of what he said and thought still shapes people’s ideas and ideals today.
The enormous statue of Mahatma Gandhi that stands in the middle of the square is its greatest attraction. This was a component of a plan for urban regeneration in Johannesburg’s central business district. It started with the renovation of the bus station and grew from there.
Gold Reef City
A theme park and casino are both part of the enormous and incredibly well-liked entertainment complex known as Gold Reef City. You can have experiences at Gold Reef City that you won’t find anyplace else; it combines fun, fantasy, and historical information in a setting that is safe and has excellent parking.
The casino at Gold Reef City is open 24 hours a day and features a fun ambiance, highly skilled employees, and a wide variety of games. The arena offers a variety of gaming options for players of all skill levels, including slots, tables, sports betting, Salon Privé for high rollers, and more.
The attractiveness of Gold Reef Cities is extensive. The complex’s offerings of traditional African music, dance, and history are enjoyed by visitors from around the world. Visits to South Africa must include a stop at the Museum to view the meticulously researched history of Apartheid, which is horrifyingly and exquisitely shown there.
Hector Pieterson* Memorial
In 2002, the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum was established in Soweto, not far from the location where Hector Pieterson, then 12 years old, was shot on June 16, 1976, during the Soweto Uprising, which is still remembered as a symbol of resistance to the cruelty of the apartheid government. South of Johannesburg is the city of Soweto, which was created during apartheid as a township for black people. The Hector Pieterson Memorial Site is included on many trips through the area. Its occupant’s number around two million and live in homes that range in style from modest hovels to opulent mansions.
Schoolchildren had assembled on June 16, the day Hector was slain, to oppose the need that Afrikaans be taught in township schools. The police opened fire as youngsters started singing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika before they could be dispersed, according to conflicting versions of who really issued the order to shoot first. The chaos that followed claimed the lives of about 20 kids.
James Hall Museum of Transport
The James Hall Museum of Transport is an amazing collection of over 400 years’ worth of different land transportation, including animal-drawn carriages, early bicycles, and cars of every hue and shape (or pretty much) known to man. It is located in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, across from the Rand Stadium.
There is a sizable James Hall Museum of Transport. In addition to housing a number of noteworthy and uncommon cars, it offers a fascinating look at the history of transportation in the nation, from field carts through the first taxis employed in the townships to modern vehicles.
The museum is organized into several types of power, such as animal power, steam power, and pedal power, making it simple to focus on one’s preferred mode of transportation.
Johannesburg Art Gallery
The walls of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, which is located in the middle of Johannesburg’s central business district near the intersection of Klein and King George Streets, are adorned with works by Rodin, Dante, Gabriel Rossetti, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, and Henry Moore.
Joubert Park may be a little sketchy, but the gallery is located in a stunning structure created by Edward Lutyens, who was heavily engaged in the planning and construction of New Delhi. The art gallery, the largest on the subcontinent with a collection larger than that of the SA National Art Gallery in Cape Town, is a treasure trove in the middle of a bustling, pulsating third-world city.
Because of the collection’s size, only 10% of the artwork is ever displayed at the gallery; the remainder is kept in storage. The gallery regularly adds to its collection of artifacts thanks to generous donations from Anglo American and the City of Johannesburg and a sizable trust fund.