Johannesburg is South Africa’s biggest city, the capital of Gauteng province and the second largest city in Africa. More than 3 million people are now calling Johannesburg their home.
It began its life as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement and its sprawling Soweto township was once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
The home where Nelson Mandela once lived is now the Mandela House museum. The other Johannesburg museums recount the struggle to end segregation and they include Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill a former prison complex.
The city is often referred to as Joburg or Jozi for short and it offers all visitors an experience that is as unique and diverse as the city is itself.
There are many ways and means to have the best holiday ever in Johannesburg and it will not matter whether is it a cultural experience, a thrill-seeking adrenaline adventure or a relax and unwind break, this city can offer all of those things and much more. Read More...
On Sightseeing Tours Visit the Many Museums That Include Mandela House Museum or Explore Intriguing Archaeology Site
The social aspect in Johannesburg is second to none. Most of the people living here are culinary connoisseurs, and this is very obvious in the many high-end restaurants that you can choose from.
There is also a market that stays open till there is no one around and there, you can taste some local cuisine that is cooked right in front of you.
The entertainment and nightlife will not let you down either as there are many bars and cafes, music venues, theatres and nightclubs to be found.
After a long tiring but thrilling day of sightseeing tours, you can either have a lovely relaxing night or, alternatively, to make the most of your holiday go Wild!
Top 10 Things to Do in Johannesburg
Take a guided tour of the Apartheid Museum within a Museum complex in Johannesburg. It is a very informative museum illustrating apartheid and the 20th-century history of South Africa. It focuses on the oppressive system of racial discrimination and segregation that once dominated the lives of South Africans. There is a special exhibit on Nelson Mandela. A very excellent tour. The beginning of the tour is very unique!
Gold Reef City
Take a private tour to Gold Reef City and experience a fantastic amusement park. It is located on an old gold mine that closed in 1971 and the park is all themed around the 1886 gold rush on Witwatersrand. Not only does this park have the most thrilling, fastest and nerve-wrecking rides, there is the only 4D theatre in South Africa and a mining museum with an underground mine tour that is totally fascinating.
Take a guided tour of Constitution Hill, the living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s turbulent journey to democracy. The site itself was once a prison and military fort that bears testament to South Africa’s tempestuous past. Presently it is also home to the country’s Constitutional Court which endorses the rights of all citizens. There is so much to learn on the history and stories of many well-known prisoners.
Take a fascinating sightseeing tour of Lion Park. This is a 600-hectare wildlife conservation enclosure in the Gauging province that is mainly for Transvaal lions but also home to cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, Zebra and antelope to name a few. When you visit her, you get an opportunity to interact with the animals in Cub World area and they include a giraffe feeding platform where you get to be eye to eye with them.
Cradle of Humankind
Take a guided tour of Cradle of Humankind which is one of eight world heritage sites found in South Africa. It is here you find a landscape that is dotted with subterranean limestone caves that have now turned up a rich fossil record for human evolutionary studies. It is here you get to see history in the flesh and you will be one of the tens of thousands of visitors that come here to see the fossil in the caves.
South African National Museum of Military History
On a guided tour, visit the South African National Museum of Military History which was opened by the then Prime Minister Jan Smuts in 1947. It was established to preserve the history of South Africa’s involvement in the Second World War and a memorial to those who died in or as a result of the military actions. It is a fascinating tour to take with lots of historical military artefacts and memorabilia to see.
Johannesburg Botanical Garden
Located in the suburb of Emmarentia, take a sightseeing tour to the Johannesburg Botanical Garden. Originally these gardens started life as a Rose garden in 1964 but have expanded now to cover an area of 81 hectares. There are themed gardens, paved jogging paths and the Emmarentia Dam where you can take part in various watersports. The gardens contain many rare indigenous and exotic species of plant life.
On a tour of the Johannesburg Zoo, you will see a zoo that is dedicated to the providing shelter, enrichment and medical care of wild animals. There are about 2,000 individual animals of some 320 species. See the rare White Lions, as this in one of the few places in the world where you can see them or see the largest cats, the Siberian Tigers in the only zoo to have successfully bred them. Do the nighttime safari tour for extra fun.
Hector Pieterson Museum
Take a guided tour of the Hector Pieterson Museum which is a large museum found in Orlando West, Soweto. It is named in honour of Hector Pieterson who was just 13 years old when he was shot by police in June 1976, two blocks from the museum. The museum commemorates and gives information about the events leading to the Soweto uprising of 1976. It celebrates the student's role in the struggle for freedom.
Johannesburg Art Gallery
A very good guided tour to take is the one to Johannesburg Art Gallery. It is the home to one of the biggest art collections in South Africa. The building itself was designed by the same person responsible for the city’s Anglo-Boer War Memorial, Edward Lutyens. There is historical art such as 17th-century Dutch paintings, 18th and 19th-century European art and South African art from all centuries. It is a tour that is well worth taking.
Travel Tips for Johannesburg
Best Time To Visit Johannesburg
The best time to take a trip to South Africa will depend on what you want from your it. Weatherwise, during the months from October to April, are recommended. October, November and April are the ideal months for private tours or sightseeing tours as the weather is cooler, there are fewer crowds and it may also be a slightly cheaper time. January and February are hot, so if it is just a beach holiday you are looking for, it is a perfect time.
Typical Costs in Johannesburg
Probably the most expensive thing about South Africa is getting there because when you are there, it is relatively inexpensive. The biggest expense is likely to be accommodation, but if you are not too fussy you can get a night in a b&b, with an evening meal, that is basic but clean for $60. Activities are more expensive in peak season, as are private tours, but shop around as prices vary with different tour operators.
Know Before Visiting Johannesburg
Sadly, there is nowhere in the world that is crime free, so when in South Africa be careful of your belongings. Only carry enough money to do you for the day and keep it somewhere safe on your person as there are pickpockets everywhere. Never walk alone at night in unpopulated dark areas. Tipping in restaurants and bars is between 10-15 percent but never feel obliged to leave a tip if the service was a disaster.
Weather in Johannesburg
South Africa has a lovely climate that is temperate with plenty of sunny, dry days. Winter is June, July and August when it is generally dry and cool with snow only falling in the mountainous regions. September and October are springtimes. Summer is December to February and it also is the rainfall season with The Cape getting most of the rainfall. It can get extremely hot during January but perfect for getting that golden tan you always wanted!