City Guide to Johannesburg, South Africa
Author: Julie Thompson | Last Updated: 9 Mar 2018
Commonly referred to as Jo’burg or Jozi, Johannesburg is South Africa’s capital city. It is a popular tourist destination for people seeking to learn more about the apartheid period and the stories of South African heroes, such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. However, the city has a lot more to offer, and this is a top 10 list of things to do and see in Johannesburg for international tourists.
The Apartheid Museum
Located in the Gold Reef City complex, the Apartheid Museum is a popular site to see for many tourists. Opened in 2001, the museum is a major illustration of life under racial segregation. This facility allows tourists to experience the emotional stories of apartheid by segregation and separation based on their color and other characteristics. It is a site that receives large numbers of visitors throughout the year as it is open on daily basis between 09:00hrs and 17:00hours. You can visit the museum as an individual or as a team and the admission fee is R95.00 per person and an added R5.00 per person if you need a tour guide.
Johannesburg Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
If you want to tour different sites in the city and to do as a group, then the Johannesburg Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour is highly beneficial. This a major thing to do in the city for international tourists, who need tour around the city. At a price of $17, you can ride the double -decker bus with professional guides that will take different routs to major attraction sites. This will help you to discover different museums and cultural centers to experience Johannesburg’s culture.
Mandela House (Nelson Mandela National Museum)
The Nelson Mandela National Museum is a major tourist attraction, which has captivated the hearts of many tourists in the world. Located in Soweto, this is the house where Nelson Mandela used to live in the years between 1946 and 1962. This site features a home that has been converted into a museum, and contains his personal belonging, such as wall hangings, photos, boots, his bed and gifts given to him by popular people among others. Nelson Mandela came back to this home after his release from prison and the house walls also features bullet holes from attacks. The entrance to the site is R60.00 for international tourists and is usually lower for pensioners and scholars.
Pilanesberg National Park
This is a major tourist attraction site, located about 2hrs drive from the city center. The national park receives numerous visitors from different countries due to the availability of animals and different species of birds that tourists can view. At this park, you can comfortably experience seeing the African big five animals, which are elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino. The park also boasts of containing over 300 bird species and an environment that allows tourist to take close-up photos. If you love watching animals in their natural habitats, or bird viewing, then this park is the ultimate tour site for you to relax, take in the fresh air and enjoy breath-taking wild views.
This used to be a prison facility, popular for brutal treatment to political prisoners and other inmates. Among the most popular individuals that served prison sentences in the facility were Nelson Mandela and the Indian Mahatma Gandhi. The facility has since been transformed in to constitution court of South Africa. Its grounds feature provocative exhibits of the suffering during the oppression period. The court is a symbol of freedom functioning to protect people’s rights, and welcomes visitors to attend hearings and witness judicial processes.
Gold Reef City
If you are looking for a place to visit with family, or children, then Gold Reef City is the place to be. Located at Northern Parkway Johannesburg, the Gold Reef City is a perfect reminder of South African gold rush years. It is a recreation of the buildings during that era and also offers tours to a currently disused Crown Mines shaft, which is one of the richest gold mines in the world. Children enjoy roller coaster rides, trampoline, petting zoos and gold panning among other exciting activities.
Soweto (Southwestern Townships) Tour
A visit to Johannesburg cannot be complete without visiting the famous SOWETO slums. This was planned as a housing project for black laborer and featured shacks constructed with iron sheets. Eventually this slum was the birth place of the fight for freedom and a major backdrop in the struggle against apartheid. Soweto has different attractions for tourists to visit. Among then is the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, constructed in honor of Hector Pieterson, who was shot by the police during the Soweto upraising, and was only 12years old. You can also visit the home of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens
If you want to take in clean air and to enjoy breath-taking sites, the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens is the place for you. The gardens feature beautiful red-rock cliffs and the Witpoortjie Waterfall. If you love hiking and well-trimmed loans and gardens, you can enjoy all these in the garden. The park is a quiet place to relax and contains different bird species that you can enjoy watching and taking images.
Lion & Safari Park
This is another major attraction for people who love animals and safaris. The Lion & Safari Park is popular for offering animal and people interaction as opposed to viewing the animals from a distance. Here, tourists can enjoy cuddling a lion’s cub and feeding the giraffes. The facility also offers river rafting tours and nighttime animal feeding activities, which are very exiting to the tourists.
South African Museum of Military History
If you are a history enthusiast, then South African Museum of Military History is the place for you to see. The museum is an exhibition of the country’s historical military conflicts and features even the traditional African battles. There are exhibits of how the Zulu people used traditional healing in the Anglo-Zulu war, and the modern battle field treatments. The museums also feature WWII tanks and arms and an exhibition of life in the trenches during the WWI.
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