Last Updated on November 19, 2021 by Cody Livingston
Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and it manages to offer a great variety of things to onlookers and explorers who always leave this stunning place with different kinds of experiences and memories. The city has grown tremendously in a couple of years, transforming from a city in shambles to being a cultural corner of South Africa. While you are here, you can find museums, art galleries, cafes, bars, natural reserves and it also serves as a great base to start your African safari journey.
There are a lot of amazing places to visit in Johannesburg but we found the top 10 things for you to add to your itinerary right away and without hesitation.
Let’s dive right in.
1 – Apartheid Museum
Undoubtedly one of the top places to visit in Johannesburg would be the Apartheid Museum. This place takes you on a journey of what the locals and the country saw during apartheid. You can find here sculptures, artefacts, pictures, permanent and temporary exhibitions, talking at length about what the situation was in South Africa during the 19th century. You would need around 2 hours or more to cover the whole museum. We also advise you to go on a guided tour if you want to know about the history of South Africa and this racial segregation in depth.
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2 – Mandela’s House
Nelson Mandela is a name known all over the world and his struggle for equality has been appreciated worldwide. The former house of Nobel Prize Winner Nelson Mandela can be found in Johannesburg which is now converted into a museum and is commonly known as the Nelson Mandela National Museum. The house is located in Vilakazi Street and is named as a UNESCO world heritage site. For getting proper historical information of the place you should hire a guide because a lot of nearby places hold the same importance which you might miss on a self-guided tour.
3 – Johannesburg Zoo
Johannesburg zoo is spread in an area of over 55 hectares and it is one of the top things to see in Johannesburg. You can find over 2000 animals that fall in over 300 species. This place is known for its triumphant breeding program of white lions. Apart from this, this place is the only place in South Africa where the breeding of Siberian Tigers was successful. You can book a tour to Johannesburg zoo or you can opt for interesting activities that are organized here like overnight sleepovers and special night tours.
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4 – Gold Reef City
Gold Reef City is one of the most exciting corners of the city, where you can find fun rides, interesting activities and recreational fun for children. You can discover many replicas of businesses or buildings from the earlier years. This place is located on the top of a gold mine thus same experiences and information are brought for the travellers through the museum that is present on the premises. Roller coaster rides, shops and a grand casino, which contributed highly to attracting tourists can all be found here.
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5 – Cradle of Humankind
Cradle of Humankind is an interesting and important archaeological site that exists in Johannesburg. The discoveries at this place started in 1924 and over the years very interesting things have been found by archaeologists. Due to this, the importance of this landmark was highlighted and that is why the place was chosen as a UNESCO world heritage site. The best way to see this place and the nearby exhibits is through a guided tour that can last over 8 hours, taking you to several significant sites in the vicinity.
6 – Constitution Hill Human Rights Precinct
Earlier a prison, Constitution Hill is now a court that symbolizes the meaning of freedom in the most liberal way. This prison held many locals and reformers like Nelson Mandela. You can get great views of the city from here and understand how the victims were treated and kept here by visiting the desginated prison area. This place now serves as a museum that is open for travellers who want to learn more about the history of the city.
7 – Lion and Safari Park
Spread in an area of 1500 acres, Lion and Safari Park is an important landmark that attracts tourists to Johannesburg time and again. You can spot here the African wildlife up close that includes lions, cheetahs, zebras, ostriches, hyenas and a lot more. There are abundant activities that you can partake in like feeding a giraffe, walking a cheetah or playing with a lion cub while you are here. Apart from this, you can join a guided tour to go deeper into the park to see more varieties of animals in the proximity.
8 – Johannesburg Botanical Gardens
Johannesburg is known to be the oldest urban forest in the world with over 10 million trees spread across the city. The botanical garden of the city is another such corner that is too green to be true. Spread in over 150 hectares, the garden is home to various flora. This place serves as an ideal location for those who need a quiet corner, surrounded by nature, planning a day outdoors.
9 – Market Theatre
One of the best cultural places to visit in Johannesburg is Market Theatre. You can find everything over here from bookshops to theatres, from locals to tourists. Market Theatre is the heart of Johannesburg and has 4 different theatres where many important events and productions are released frequently. There are a couple of venues and bars where you can enjoy live music, which you can experience with wines or crafted beers. It is the best place if you wish to gel with locals and live an evening in Johannesburg like them.
10 – Wits Art Museum
If you want to take a closer look at African contemporary art, then Wits Art Museum is the right place for you. Many temporary and permanent exhibitions keep happening over here, making it an ideal place to explore even multiple times because every time you are here, you are going to see something new and interesting.
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