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Things to do in Johannesburg

Blending first and third worlds, Johannesburg, Jo'burg or Jozi is a city of contrasts. Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton offers art performances, Soweto a taste of township life and Top of Africa in the CBD (Central Business District), great city views. Travel back in time to the gold-rush era at Gold Reef City or jump to the beginning of evolution at the Origins Centre. Lions roar in nearby game reserves and at Johannesburg Zoo.

Museum Africa, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Museum Africa
Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Museum Africa
1

Museum Africa

Walk-through history lesson

Founded in Newtown in 1994, Museum Africa is Johannesburg's major historical museum. Evocative multimedia displays and walk-through reconstructions of various historic periods take visitors on a journey from the city's golden era to the present day.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Tue-Sun 9am-5pm

Address

121, Bree Street (Old Market Building), Newtown, Johannesburg 2113

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 833 5624

Transport

Taxi

Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Johannesburg Art Gallery
2

Johannesburg Art Gallery

European and African art

Johannesburg Art Gallery in Joubert Park is one of the finest of its kind in South Africa. It houses an exquisite selection of modern artwork, ranging from Picasso and Henry Moore to South Africans Sekoto, Batisse and Pierneef.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Tue-Sun 10am-5pm

Address

Klein Street, Joubert Park, Johannesburg 2001

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 725 3130

Transport

Taxi

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Apartheid Museum
3

Apartheid Museum

From segregation to freedom

Located in Ormonde, Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum illustrates the rise and fall of South Africa's controversial racial policy through a collection of photographs, videos and artefacts. The emotional journey begins with an entry pass labelling visitors as either 'white' or 'nonwhite'.



Cost

R40; concessions R25

Opening Hours

Tue-Sun 10am-5pm

Address

Northern Parkway & Gold Reef Road, Ormonde, Johannesburg 2091

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 309 4700

Transport

Taxi

Website

Apartheid Museum Website

Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. Photo by Mark Koenig
4

Constitution Hill

Transition to democracy

Overlooking Johannesburg from Braamfontein, Constitution Hill is the former prison for political dissidents, notably Gandhi and Mandela. Today the site, which houses both a museum and South Africa's Constitutional Court, offers exhibitions and tours documenting the country's journey to democracy.



Cost

R22; concessions R15; under-12s R10

Opening Hours

Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; Sat 10am-2pm

Address

1, Kotze Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg 2017

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 381 3100

Transport

Taxi

Website

Constitution Hill Website

Hector Pieterson Museum, Johannesburg. Photo by Babak Fakhamzadeh/babakfakhamzadeh.com
5

Hector Pieterson Museum

Children of the revolution

The Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto is named after the first casualty of the 1976 uprising against the sole use of the Afrikaans language in schools. Video footage and many moving photographs document the protest, which saw 566 schoolchildren killed.



Cost

R15; concessions R5

Opening Hours

Daily 10am-5pm (until 4.30pm Sun)

Address

82-87, Khumalo Street, Orlando West, Soweto, Johannesburg 1804

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 536 0611

Transport

Taxi

Origins Centre, Johannesburg. Courtesy of the Origins Centre
6

Origins Centre

The world's ancestors

Origins Centre in Braamfontein houses a fascinating collection of San rock art, including paintings, engravings and artefacts. A visit sheds light on the birth of humankind, scientific facts and insights into the bushmen's spiritual beliefs plus lectures and workshops.



Cost

R60; under-12s R35

Opening Hours

Daily 9am-5pm

Address

1, Yale Road, University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, Johannesburg 2050

Telephone

+27 (11) 717 4700

Transport

Taxi or hire car

Website

Origins Centre Website

Newtown Precinct, Johannesburg. Photo by Walter Knirr, © South African Tourism
7

Newtown Precinct

All-round entertainment

Newtown Precinct, burnt down in 1904 to combat plague there, is reborn as a buzzing cultural ground offering music and theatre, art galleries, craft markets and nightlife. Attractions include Museum Africa, Nelson Mandela Bridge, Sci-Bono Discovery Centre and Market Theatre.



Cost

Free (individual attraction charges may apply)

Opening Hours

Daily (individual attraction opening times vary)

Address

Scibono Discovery Centre, Miriam Makeba Street, corner of President Street, Johannesburg

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 833 6323

Johannesburg Zoo, Johannesburg. © Jeremy Barker 2006
8

Johannesburg Zoo

Animal kingdom

Johannesburg Zoo in Parkview accommodates around 360 species in 54 hectares. This cosmopolitan community ranges from rare and fascinating creatures from around the world to the local "big five" - lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalo.



Cost

R41; seniors & children R23Parking R10 per car; R20 per bus

Opening Hours

Daily 8.30am-5.30pm

Address

Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkview, Johannesburg 2122

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 646 2000

Transport

Taxi

Website

Johannesburg Zoo Website

Lion Park, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Lion Park
9

Lion Park

Lions night and day

Home to more than 80 lions, including the rare white lion, Lion Park in Lanseria, near Johannesburg, introduces visitors to the king of beasts. Cheetahs, black leopards, hyenas and other carnivorous animals can also be observed at close quarters.



Cost

R100; 4-12s R80; under-4s freeGuided game drives R150; 4-12s R10010 people minimum - must be booked in advance

Opening Hours

Daily 8.30am-5pm (until 6pm Sat & Sun)

Address

R114 on the corner with Malibongwe Drive, Johannesburg 1739

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 691 9905

Transport

Taxi

Website

Lion Park Website

Maropeng Visitors Centre. Courtesy of the Cradle of Humankind
10

Maropeng

Journey through the ages

Maropeng is the new visitor centre at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Magaliesberg, around 45 minutes from Johannesburg. A complex of limestone caves, including the Sterkfontein Caves, and interactive sensory displays present the history of humanity.



Cost

R95; seniors R65; 4-14s R55; including Sterkfontein Caves: R150; 4-14s R90

Opening Hours

Daily 9am-5pm (last admission 4pm)

Address

Cradle of Humankind, R400, Magaliesberg, Johannesburg 1426

Telephone

+27 (0) 14 577 9100

Transport

Taxi

Website

Maropeng Website

Lesedi Cultural Village, Johannesburg. Photo by Roger De la Harpe, © South African Tourism
11

Lesedi Cultural Village

Tribal life

South African tribes give a warm welcome at Lesedi Cultural Village. Set in the bushveld and rocky hills of Lanseria, near Johannesburg, the village features reconstructed homesteads, offering a glimpse into Zulu, Ndebele, Basotho, Pedi and Xhosa life.



Cost

R220; R360 including lunch or dinner

Opening Hours

Tours commence daily at 11.30am and 4.30pm

Address

Portion 198, 493 Kalkheuwel, R512, Lanseria, Johannesburg

Telephone

+27 (0)12 205 1394

Transport

Taxi or hire car

Website

Lesedi Cultural Village Website

Gold Reef City, Johannesburg. Photo by Walter Knirr, © South African Tourism
12

Gold Reef City

Gold-rush era revisited

A hybrid between theme park and living museum, Gold Reef City brings museums, education, rides and entertainment to a former gold shaft in Ormonde. It aims to replicate Johannesburg's mining conditions during the gold-rush era.



Cost

R90-R120; seniors R80Heritage tour R180; seniors R140

Opening Hours

Tue-Sun 9.30am-5pm

Address

Northern Parkway, Ormonde, Johannesburg 2159

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 248 6800

Transport

Coach

Website

Gold Reef City Website

Johannesburg Planetarium, Johannesburg. Photo by Barry Goldman, courtesy of Johannesburg Planetarium
13

Johannesburg Planetarium

Space vision

The second to open in the southern hemisphere, 400-seat Johannesburg Planetarium in Braamfontein introduces stars and galaxies through high-tech satellite images and telescopic views. Its shows change regularly, and it also holds astronomy courses. The website lists the current programme.



Cost

R26.50; concessions R17

Opening Hours

Fri 8pm; Sat 3pm; kids' show Sat 10.30am

Address

Yale Road Entrance 10, University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, Johannesburg 2050

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 717 1390

Top of Africa - Carlton Centre, Johannesburg. Photo by Hein Von Hörsten, © South Africa Tourism
14

Top of Africa

Africa's top view

Located on the 50th floor of the Carlton Centre, Africa's tallest building towering over Johannesburg's Central Business District, Top of Africa is an observation deck which provides uninterrupted views across this ever-expanding city.



Cost

R8; under-12s R4

Opening Hours

Daily 7.30am-7pm

Address

150, Commissioner Street, Johannesburg 2001

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 308 1331

Transport

Taxi

Nelson Mandela Square, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Liberty Properties
15

Nelson Mandela Square

Piazza entertainment

Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton is a cultural public space that stages art performances and shows around a symbolic bronze statue of Mandela, which commemorates the birth of the Rainbow Nation. Trendy cafés, restaurants and shops frame the piazza.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily 9am-6pm (theatres and restaurants trade until later)

Address

Corner of Maude and Fifth Streets, Sandton, Johannesburg 2010

Telephone

+27 (0) 11 217 6000

Transport

Taxi

Website

Nelson Mandela Square Website

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