Touring the City of Gold
The City of Gold has many attributes to it but is not often considered a top tourist destination. As the Easter holidays loom, we look at Johannesburg as a spot to tour as a local or from other parts of South Africa.
1. Vilakazi Street
This is one of the most popular streets in South Africa. It was home to Nelson Mandela and is still home to Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu on occasion. It is a major mistake to not visit this street at least once in your life. You can see Mandela’s old house which has been turned into a museum or the Tutu house. The street is full of art which tells the history of the street. Ensure you take the time to visit one of the restaurants on the street.
Entrance fee to Mandela’s house: R20 for children and R60 for adults
2. Gold Reef City
This entertainment complex is one of the best ways to learn about made Johannesburg into the hub it is: gold. The amusement park and casino are great but you should really go on the underground tour into the gold mine. Get a real feel to travel 75m underground in cramped spaces. You will also never forget the feeling of underground tunnels or how the noises are amplified by the deep silence. Do not forget to watch liquid gold poured and baked into a gold bar. Flex your muscles by trying to pick it up.
Entrance fee: an additional R85 on top of the R190 entrance to the theme park
3. Apartheid Museum
It is one thing to be told about an event in history and another one to see it. This museum does this for the atrocities of Apartheid. You will be moved by the structures built in memoriam of Apartheid victims, interested in the artifacts used during that time but above all shocked and saddened when you see the videos recording the appalling acts committed. It is a sobering experience but as a South African, it is something you should know about.
Entrance fee: between R35 and R85
4. Cradle of Humankind
Situated on the outskirts of Johannesburg, this is one of South Africa’s World Heritage Sites. This is because of the contribution the area makes to understanding humanity over the last three million years. There are 15 different fossil sites which you can visit. The most popular, and highly recommended, is Sterkfontein Caves. You will see enormous stalactites and stalagmites as well as pools of water which have naturally formed underground. Prepare yourself for small spaces and inky blackness if you are wary of these things.
Entrance fees: R125 for children and R190 for adults
5. Neighbourhood Goods Market
Set in Braamfontein, this market is a replica of the Cape Town one. The market is voted as one of the best in Johannesburg on many lists. Enjoy it every Saturday between 9am and 3pm. Stop by to enjoy some of the best taste explosions in the city including pesto, crepes, waffles, designer cupcakes, curries, stir-fry and many more other food choices. A market in Johannesburg is not complete without a variety of drinks from beer to wine and even smoothies. You can enjoy these fruits of your explorations on the top floor of the building in the sun. Interspersed among the food stalls are different craft stalls as well.
Entrance fee: free
6. Enjoy refreshments at craft restaurants
One thing which Joburg can be proud of is its embracement of craft food and drinks. Spend an evening at the Beerhouse in Fourways, Craft in Parktown, or the Griffin in Illovo. If you enjoy a craft beer or gin or even craft meals visit one of these popular spots. Expect nothing but the best drinks and food as well as an atmosphere that is hard to find anywhere else. Make a booking if you can and if they do not take bookings be prepared to queue. If you like to enjoy the latest crazes, make sure you enjoy what Johannesburg has to offer.
Entrance fee: drinks and meal prices vary between venues
7. Enjoy extreme sports: river rafting, bungee jumping and paintball
When someone says Johannesburg, concrete skylines often come to mind. Yet, Joburg has plenty to offer in the form of extreme sports. While some of these are not in the centre of town they are just over an hour’s drive out of town. River raft down the Vaal river, bungee jump from Orlando towers, zip line across the top of Hartebeesport or enjoy one of the many paintball venues the city has to offer.
Entrance fees: between R250 and R600
8. World of Beer
Drinking beer is a well-loved tradition in South Africa. South Africa is also home to one of the largest manufacturers in the world: SAB. At the World of Beer you will learn about the history of the drink with the help of 3D films, holograms and surround sound in the 90 minute tour. The tour also includes information on beer making from its earliest times to now. The best part? You finish off with two beers on the house in their Tap Room. Whether you are an avid drinker of beer or not, this tour is a must.
Entrance fee: between R20 and R180
Do you want some more ideas?
• Joburg walking tour
• Visit Kitcheners in Braamfontein
• Absa Money Museum
• Oriental Plaza
• See Johannesburg from the top of Carlton Centre
• A-Maize-ing mazes
• The Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
To read last week’s local travel article, click here