Never been to Jozi? Well, this summer you should definitely take a drive up to the second largest city in Africa. Johannesburg, affectionately called Joburg or Jozi, is built on a rich history of gold mining. This city is a vibrant hub for arts and culture.
Joburg offers visitors an experience as unique and diverse as the city itself. Whether you’re on business, in search of a cultural encounter, an adrenaline rush or simply want to relax and unwind for a few days, the city of Johannesburg has everything you’re looking for and more.
Here are a few places that you must visit when on holiday in Johannesburg. Not only will you have the time of your life but you’ll also learn a lot about this city and South Africa as a whole.
Eight kilometres from the city centre, visitors are whisked back to the gold rush days through a series of thrilling theme park rides and historical exhibits. This family-friendly attraction hosts reproductions of buildings and businesses from that era. That includes houses, shops, a hotel, a Chinese laundry, a tailor’s workshop, a newspaper office and so much more. You can also tour a disused shaft of the Crown Mines, one of the richest gold-mines in the world, which gives a vivid impression of the work of the gold miners.
The Market Theatre complex housed in a converted market building plays a major part in Joburg’s cultural life. It has four live theatre venues where some of the finest productions in South Africa are presented. The complex also includes a bookshop, art and photographic gallery and restaurants. If you’re a jazz fan, then Kippie’s is just the place to visit when you’re there. Every night they have jazz music by well-known musicians. In the parking lot opposite the Market Theatre, a large flea market is held every Saturday. Adjoining the Market Theatre, Museum Africa has as impressive ethnological departments, with reproductions of the huts, tools, arts and crafts and toys of South African tribes.
Opened in 2012, this impressive museum hosts a superb collection of African art with many works from South Africa as well as West and Central Africa. The museum is part of the Wits University Cultural Precinct in the trendy area of Braamfontein, which buzzes with students and university professors. Frequent temporary exhibitions infuse freshness to the exhibits in the modern, light-filled space. After admiring all the art, you can enjoy a meal or snack at the popular cafe.
Located in the eastern part of Johannesburg’s former CBD, this brand new artsy area is one of the several being created to uplift the industrialised city centre. The vibrant Maboneng Precinct is a fantastic example of a successful mixed-use urban renewal project. Once a rather run-down neighbourhood, Maboneng now fizzes with life. Funky restaurants, cafes, art galleries, shops, hotels and entertainment venues mix smartly with residential buildings. A top attraction here is the weekly Market on Main with food from all over the continent. Arts on Main and Revolution House are two of the first developments where warehouses are transformed into artists’ studios, galleries and shops. Other developments host an independent cinema, a community centre, designer hotels and boutiques. This is a wonderful area to wander around to feel the vibe of the city and grab a bite to eat. Whether you go there on purpose or are making a stop on your way to look at other venues or even go shopping for used cars in Gauteng, you simply must visit the Maboneng Precinct.
This famous township lies 20 kilometres southwest of Johannesburg and offers visitors a journey into the soul of the fight for freedom. Guided tours of the township take visitors there to meet the residents and see how they live. The tours often include a visit to Mandela House Museum, where Madiba lived with his wife Winnie before he was imprisoned.
Overlooking the city of Johannesburg, Constitution Hill is a former prison that provides fascinating insight into South Africa’s history. At the site, visitors can explore provocative exhibits at the Number Four museum and the Old Fort museum. The court welcomes visitors who want to attend hearings and watch the judicial process. Guided tours of Constitutional Hill offer valuable insight into its rich history.
This museum graphically portrays the apartheid story through photos, artefacts, newspaper clippings and film footage. The sights and sounds of the apartheid era assail visitors as they move through the thought-provoking permanent exhibits on an emotional journey through South Africa’s history. Reserve at least two hours and preferably longer to get the most out of a visit here.
You can visit more than one place per day. Wherever you decide to go, just make sure you have your camera with you, take a lot of pictures and explore.