As its name suggests, Southdale is located south of Johannesburg. The streets are leafy, like many in the city of gold, even though there isn’t much of the “dale” about it (no green hills). Naturally, the main benefit of staying here is the neighbourhood’s proximity to Gold Reef City, which is located just across the M1 from Southdale.
Gold Reef City is a much smaller version of Disney World’s theme park with a history of gold in the city theme. In actuality, it is outfitted in keeping with the idea of the 1880s Witwatersrand gold rush and sits directly on top of an ancient gold mine. The park’s buildings are decorated to look like they date from the era, the staff is resplendent in period attire, and you can get your picture taken while donning period garbs like parasols and bonnets. There are hotels, restaurants, a casino, and a number of kid-friendly rides and attractions.
There are additional benefits to staying in Southdale. While not always pleasant, a visit to the Apartheid Museum, a museum complex that takes the viewer through a succession of exhibitions depicting the history of apartheid, including the situation in post-apartheid South Africa, is undoubtedly gripping. The Southgate retail centre is also not far away.
To experience Johannesburg “real,” go to the city centre. Johannesburg is continually evolving, and its current appearance is distinctly African. It’s happening in Newtown in particular, and there are several art galleries and museums on the outskirts of the city.