Johannesburg, often called Joburg or Jozi, is the largest city in South Africa and a bustling hub of cultural diversity. There is a wide range of top-rated attractions and things to do in Johannesburg that showcase its rich history and vibrant present. One thing is there are also plenty of places to visit in Johannesburg for free without breaking the bank.
Everyone may enjoy Johannesburg, which has everything from famous sites to hidden gems. Explore the sad history of Constitution Hill and the Apartheid Museum, or explore the vibrant arts scene at the renowned Market Theatre. The spectacular Cradle of Humankind and the adjacent Lion Park both beckon nature lovers with their breathtaking wildlife encounters and intriguing archaeological finds.
Enjoy some retail therapy at busy malls or search the vivacious street markets for one-of-a-kind finds. Johannesburg is a place that guarantees an amazing experience with its pulsating energy and numerous attractions.
In this post, Mrpocu.com will take you through some of the top-rated attractions and things to do in Johannesburg for everyone looking to get the best out of their trip.
Top-Rated Attractions And Things To Do In Johannesburg
Exploring the Apartheid Museum
The Apartheid Museum is a sobering testimony to the difficult fight against apartheid and South Africa’s violent past. This museum provides visitors with an in-depth tour of the origins, development, and final end of apartheid through its compelling exhibits and interactive multimedia presentations.
One is instantly struck with the stark facts of racial segregation upon entering the museum. The museum exposes the profoundly ingrained system of inequality that has afflicted South Africa for decades through thought-provoking exhibits, historical objects, and human accounts. Visitors can learn about the cruel laws and policies of apartheid, as well as the profound social and economic effects it had on the country.
The exhibit also honors the tenacity and valor of individuals who stood up to apartheid. It showcases the anti-apartheid campaigners’ contributions to the fight for equality and justice, including those of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and many others. The Apartheid Museum encourages visitors to confront the difficult facts of the past by diving into the complexity of apartheid, promoting a deeper knowledge of South Africa’s journey toward reconciliation and the continuous pursuit of a more inclusive society.
Discovering Constitution Hill
The Constitutional Court of South Africa is housed atop Constitution Hill, which is a prominent landmark in Johannesburg. Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi lived in this location, which was formerly a prison complex. Today, visitors may learn about Constitution Hill’s fascinating background and how it developed into a potent symbol of justice and democracy through guided tours.
Visitors can learn more about the challenges that individuals who were held there endured and the tenacity with which they resisted persecution by researching the history of the place. Constitution Hill’s development into a shining example of justice represents the success of democracy in South Africa. Exploring this historical site offers a rare chance to comprehend the nation’s struggle for freedom and the ongoing significance of preserving constitutional rights.
Johannesburg Botanical Garden
A Tranquil Escape at Johannesburg Botanical Garden
The Johannesburg Botanical Garden offers a tranquil haven away from the bustling city. This lush paradise, which spans 125 hectares, welcomes tourists to take in the beauty of nature. Enjoy the wide variety of native flora, soak up the peace of the calm lake, and find comfort in the charming picnic areas scattered throughout the garden.
The Johannesburg Botanical Garden is a place for relaxation, leisurely strolls, and quality time with loved ones. It gives a break from the rush and bustle. Admire the varied vegetation, from brilliant blossoms to towering trees, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere that permeates the area. It is one of the best places to visit in Johannesburg for couples.
The Johannesburg Botanical Garden offers the perfect location to relax and reconnect with nature in the middle of the city, whether you’re looking for a quiet escape or a picturesque backdrop for a lovely picnic.
Encountering Wildlife at Lion Park
Less than an hour’s drive north of downtown Johannesburg is where you can get up close and personal with some of Africa’s famous wildlife at the Lion & Safari Park. The focus here is on interactions between animals. A lion cub can be held, the Cheetah Walk can be taken, and giraffes can be fed by hand.
It is possible to take self-guided tours, but you can also sign up for a game drive in one of the park’s cars to see lions, cheetahs, zebras, ostriches, wild dogs, hyenas, and several kinds of antelope. Other well-liked activities include night feeding tours and river rafting excursions. When driving through the park, be sure to abide by all safety laws and keep your windows up.
Exploring Soweto’s Vibrant Culture
Discover the fascinating South Western Townships, often known as Soweto, which is recognized for its fascinating history and thriving culture. Take a guided tour to properly experience the vibrant ambiance and explore the amazing stories that take place within its boundaries.
A stroll down Vilakazi Street, a famous landmark where two Nobel Prize winners, Nelson Mandela, and Desmond Tutu, previously lived, is a highlight of every trip to Soweto. This one-of-a-kind roadway serves as a reminder of the exceptional contributions made by these famous figures and provides a window into their lasting legacies.
As you move around Soweto’s busy streets, interact with the people and culture there. Learn about the vibrant music, art, and cuisine that help to define the community. Interact with welcoming locals, listen to their experiences, and learn more about their resiliency and spirit through
Cradle of Humankind
Unveiling Ancestors at the Cradle of Humankind
The Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most fruitful and significant paleo-anthropological regions in the world and is only about an hour’s drive from Johannesburg. The Sterkfontein stalactitic caverns, which are comprised of six interconnected underground chambers with a lake at a depth of around 40 meters, are one of the main attractions here. Visiting Humankind is one of the top-rated attractions and things to do in Johannesburg you should consider.
Australopithecus africanus, often known as “Mrs. Ples,” was discovered during archeological excavations here. Its skull is thought to be two million years old. In 1998, researchers found a skeleton that dates the existence of early humans in the valley to 3.5 million years ago. Visit the Maropeng Visitor Center to see connected exhibits and find out more information about this amazing location.
Gold Reef City
Reliving the Gold Rush at Gold Reef City
Eight kilometers outside the city center, Gold Reef City transports you back in time to the days of the gold rush with a number of exhilarating theme park attractions and informative exhibitions. You may explore a defunct shaft of the Crown Mines, one of the richest gold mines in the world, in addition to replicas of historical structures and enterprises at this kid-friendly site.
Children adore the trampoline park, ten-pin bowling alley, and thrilling theme park rides, such as the Anaconda roller coaster, which twists and turns. The park also has a petting zoo and attractions specifically designed for little ones. Gold panning, carnival games, and putt-putt golf complete the activities. You can spend the night at the Gold Reef City Theme Park Hotel if you find it difficult to tear yourself away from all the fun.
Nelson Mandela Square
Indulging in Retail Therapy at Nelson Mandela Square
Nelson Mandela Square, which is located in the upscale Sandton neighborhood, is a renowned center for dining and shopping. An amazing statue of Nelson Mandela that is larger than life stands in the center of the area as a memorial to the legendary figure and a gathering place for tourists.
Enjoy a day of unhurried discovery as you browse the many upscale shops that ring the square. Find prestigious fashion labels, priceless jewels, and gorgeous home goods, providing a wide range of possibilities for the discriminating buyer. After satisfying your desire for retail therapy, reward yourself with a memorable meal at one of the many eateries on the square. The eating options at Nelson Mandela Square offer a variety of cuisines, from gourmet to international, and a sophisticated, elegant atmosphere.
In addition to dining and shopping, the square often hosts cultural events and live music performances, which livens up the atmosphere even more.
Immersing in the Arts at Market Theatre
A significant aspect of Johannesburg’s cultural life is the Market Theatre complex, which is built in a former market building. Some of the best productions in South Africa are presented at its four live theater venues. A bookstore, an art and photography gallery, and restaurants are also part of the complex.
A well-liked jazz establishment, Kippie’s has well-known performers performing in the evenings. Every Saturday, a sizable flea market is conducted in the sizable parking lot that is located opposite the Market Theatre complex. The Museum Africa, located next to the Market Theatre, features replicas of South African tribal clothing, toys, arts and crafts, and tools.
Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial
Remembering the Soweto Uprising at Hector Pieterson Museum
The sad Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial honor the brave youngsters who tragically perished during the 1976 Soweto Uprising. This exhibit offers a glimpse into what happened on that crucial day and the larger struggle against apartheid.
Enter the museum and spend some time exploring the displays, which provide an in-depth analysis of the Soweto Uprising and its historical relevance in South Africa. Visitors can learn more about this crucial moment’s enormous influence through photos, artifacts, and personal accounts.
The museum also pays tribute to Hector Pieterson, a young student whose iconic photo captivated the attention of the world and became a representation of the fight for independence. Learn about his struggle against injustice as well as the stories of other brave people.
We can honor the lives lost and recognize the tenacity and resolve of those who fought against oppression by visiting the Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial. It serves as a constant reminder of the need to work toward justice, equality, and a better future for all. And it is one of the top-rated attractions and things to do in Johannesburg for a historical experience.
Johannesburg Art Gallery
Appreciating Art at Johannesburg Art Gallery
Art enthusiasts will find great delight in visiting the Johannesburg Art Gallery. This remarkable establishment boasts an impressive collection of African and international artworks. Within its walls, visitors can explore a rich variety of artistic expressions, ranging from traditional African art to contemporary masterpieces. The gallery provides a welcoming space where one can fully immerse themselves in the world of art. Take your time to appreciate the carefully curated exhibits, allowing each piece to captivate your senses.
The Johannesburg Art Gallery stands as a testament to the vibrant cultural heritage of Africa and serves as a platform for artists from diverse backgrounds to showcase their creativity. Whether you’re a seasoned art connoisseur or a curious newcomer, this gallery promises to offer a truly captivating experience.
The Lindfield Victorian House Museum
See The Lindfield Victorian House Museum
This “living museum” and Provincial Heritage Site will appeal to anybody with an interest in life in the Victorian era. This middle-class Victorian residence was built by Herbert Baker, one of South Africa’s most well-known architects, and has been owned by Katherine Love since 1967. Katherine Love welcomes guests while dressed in Victorian attire and guides them through the home’s various rooms. It is one of the top museums in Johannesburg you should see.
Along the journey, you may see remarkable collections of furniture, artwork, and domestic objects from the 19th and 20th centuries and discover fascinating anecdotes about the previous occupants and how Victorian culture and customs shaped Johannesburg today. A two-hour trip here will immerse you in the atmosphere of the time. You can complete the experience with a cup of tea on the balcony after the tour.
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
Witnessing Natural Beauty at Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens offer a tranquil corner of wildness on the outskirts of the city if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend some time in nature. One of nine national botanical gardens in South Africa, the garden is run by the South African National Biodiversity Institute. This specific location provides plenty of room and stunning vistas of red-rock cliffs.
The magnificent Witpoortjie Waterfall serves as the garden’s focal point. The falls are surrounded by expansive fields with plenty of great picnic spots, a river, and hiking routes that wind through the well-kept gardens. The Cycad Garden, Fern Trail, Succulent Rockery Garden, Birds and Butterfly Garden, and Geological Display Garden are among the highlights.
The bird hide will be appreciated by photographers and birders, and children can let off steam in the Children’s Garden. Watch out for the many birds and insects in the park, particularly the black eagles that breed there. Visiting the garden is one the top-rated attractions and things to do in Johannesburg on weekends.
The Origins Centre
Exploring Human Origins at The Origins Centre
The Origins Centre, located at the University of the Witwatersrand, is a captivating institution devoted to the exploration and celebration of the origins of humanity. Step into a world where ancient artifacts, rock art, and interactive displays converge to illuminate our shared heritage.
Embark on a mesmerizing journey through time as you navigate the museum’s exhibits. Marvel at the remarkable archaeological discoveries that provide insights into the early origins of humankind. Encounter ancient fossils, tools, and artworks that offer glimpses into the lives and cultures of our ancestors.
The examination of rock art, a profound reflection of ancient civilizations, is one of the Origins Centre’s highlights. Engage with the symbolic meaning and minute aspects of these ancient pieces of art to reveal the historical narratives they contain.
The Origins Centre offers an interactive and engrossing experience with displays and multimedia presentations. Unravel the riddles of cultural diversity, human evolution, and the connection of societies throughout history.
Immersing in Urban Culture at Maboneng Precinct
An excellent illustration of a successful mixed-use urban revitalization project is the thriving Maboneng Precinct. Maboneng, which means “place of light,” is currently a vibrant area after having been quite run-down in the past. Restaurants, cafes, hotels, boutiques, art galleries, and entertainment places that are hip mix well with residential structures.
The weekly Market on Main, which features cuisine from across the continent, is a major draw in this city. Two of the earliest construction projects where warehouses are converted into studios for artists, galleries, and stores are Arts on Main and Revolution House. A community center, stylish hotels, boutiques, and the independent movie theater Bioscope are located in other developments. This is a great place to stroll around, take in the atmosphere of the city, and have a bite to eat or a refreshing beverage.
South African National Museum of Military History
Honoring Military History at the National Museum
The South African Museum of Military History precisely records the history of all the nation’s military wars. The World War II fighter and bomber aircraft, as well as the displays of tanks, ammunition, weapons, and medals, are among the site’s highlights.
The exhibit on medicine during the war, which describes the Zulu people’s use of traditional healing during the Anglo-Zulu War as well as contemporary remedies applied on the battlefield, is particularly fascinating. Life in the trenches during World War I is revealed in another exhibit.
Indulging in Bohemian Vibes in Melville
Bohemian Melville entices with its buzzing atmosphere, chic cafes, and alluring selection of stores. Wander down the busy 7th Street to find a vivid tapestry of interesting shops and alluring eateries.
As you explore the varied selections of Melville’s shops, immerse yourself in the distinctive atmosphere. Find one-of-a-kind items, such as handcrafted crafts, independent bookshops, and art galleries, as well as vintage apparel. Everywhere you turn, you can see the unique personality and creative spirit of the neighborhood.
Melville’s legendary nightlife comes to life as the sun sets. Discover the lively spirit of the neighborhood bars, where live music performances set the mood for special evenings. Join the eclectic crowd that frequents these places, which includes artists, students, and free spirits, and let the music take you away.
For those looking for a unique and artistic experience, Melville is a sanctuary. Its bohemian appeal and vibrant cultural environment make it a place that perfectly encapsulates uniqueness and creativity. Melville offers a dynamic retreat that makes an impression, whether you choose to spend a leisurely day exploring or get lost in the buzzing nightlife.
Apartheid Museum Tour and Soweto Bicycle Tour Combo
Combined Experience: Apartheid Museum Tour and Soweto Bicycle Tour
Take a visit of both the Apartheid Museum and Soweto for a fully comprehensive look at Johannesburg’s history and vibrant culture. Start by going to the Apartheid Museum, where compelling displays and multimedia presentations offer a thorough insight of the time of apartheid and the fight for liberation.
Continue your experience with a guided cycling tour through Soweto after taking in the insights of the museum. Experience the tenacity and spirit of its inhabitants firsthand as you pedal through this historic township. Discover well-known sites like Vilakazi Street, where Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu formerly resided, and develop a greater understanding of their significance.
You’ll experience the bustling ambiance, energetic music, and friendly hospitality that make Soweto a cultural center as you pedal through the busy streets. Engage with the local population, discover their customs, and take in the wonderful changes happening.
You may get a thorough understanding of Johannesburg’s past and present by combining the Apartheid Museum with a cycling tour of Soweto. You will have a comprehensive grasp of the city’s past hardships, the ongoing spirit of resiliency, and vibrant cultural tapestry as a result of this illuminating excursion.
Pilanesberg National Park
A Day Trip To Pilanesberg National Park
One of the most well-liked game reserves in South Africa is Pilanesberg National Park, a popular 2.5-hour trip from Johannesburg. The park is renowned for its unusually diverse ecosystems and diversity of species in part due to its location in a transition zone between the lush Lowveld flora and the arid Kalahari desert. You have an opportunity to view Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino).
In addition to the Big Five, the park is also home to zebras, sable antelope, African wild dogs, and more than 300 different species of birds. Close-up photography is made simpler by cleverly positioned photographic conceals.
Day Trip to Pretoria
Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is worth seeing because of its outstanding collection of historical structures, monuments, and museums. It is located around 55 kilometers from Johannesburg. Pretoria is a city with lovely parks and gardens, and in the spring it is ablaze with the purple tones of jacarandas.
The Pretoria National Botanic Garden, the Voortrekker Monument, Freedom Park, the sizable zoo, and a number of tranquil nature reserves with a variety of fauna and many of birds are highlights of a visit here.