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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.

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

Museums and Galleries

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  1. 1. Hector Pieterson Museum - Museums and Galleries

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

  2. 2. Constitution Hill - Museums and Galleries

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    Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. © Oscan Gutierrez

    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.Show this on map

    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

  3. 3. Johannesburg Art Gallery - Museums and Galleries

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    Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Johannesburg Art Gallery

    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.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Tue-Sun 10am-5pm

    Address

    Klein Street, Joubert Park, Johannesburg 2001

    Telephone

    +27 (0) 11 725 3130

    Transport

    Taxi

  4. 4. Apartheid Museum - Museums and Galleries

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    Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Apartheid Museum

    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'.Show this on map

    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

  5. 5. Museum Africa - Museums and Galleries

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    Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Museum Africa

    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.Show this on map

    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

  6. 6. Origins Centre - Museums and Galleries

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    Origins Centre, Johannesburg. Courtesy of the Origins Centre

    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.Show this on map

    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

Attractions

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  1. 7. Lesedi Cultural Village - Attractions

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

  2. 8. Maropeng - Attractions

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    Maropeng Visitors Centre. Courtesy of the Cradle of Humankind

    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.Show this on map

    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

  3. 9. Newtown Precinct - Attractions

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

    Transport

    Taxi

    Website

    Newtown Precinct Website

  4. 10. Lion Park - Attractions

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    Lion Park, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Lion Park

    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.Show this on map

    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

  5. 11. Johannesburg Zoo - Attractions

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    Johannesburg Zoo, Johannesburg. © Jeremy Barker 2006

    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.Show this on map

    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

  6. 12. Gold Reef City - Attractions

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

Special things to do

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  1. 13. Johannesburg Planetarium - Special things to do

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

    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.Show this on map

    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

    Transport

    Taxi

    Website

    Johannesburg Planetarium Website

  2. 14. Top of Africa - Special things to do

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    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.Show this on map

    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

  3. 15. Nelson Mandela Square - Special things to do

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    Nelson Mandela Square, Johannesburg. Courtesy of Liberty Properties

    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.Show this on map

    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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