The Johannesburg Apartheid Museum details the events of the 20th century, a notoriously dark time in South African history when a system of racial segregation and oppression was in place in the country. A visit to the museum helps shed light on the past, as well as the state of the nation's society today.
Joziburg Lane, the hip space in the ground floor of One Eloff building, is a modern development and cool hangout space frequented by Joburg residents. Filled with art galleries, eateries, coffee shops and bars, it's a great place to be any time of day. JoburgPlaces walking tours start from here Tuesday through Saturday at 9am.
The site of an infamous prison reborn as the superb Constitutional Court, art gallery and museum. The history of Constitution Hill dates back to 1892; a prison turned military defence post during the South African War. These buildings were known as "the Fort", and have through the years incarcerated yje likes of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1964 the Fort was declared a National Monument, and in the late 90's it was chosen the new Constitutional Court.
A guided tour of the township is a must. Major sights include Vilakasi Street, where the Mandelas once lived (their little house is a museum); Arch bishop Tutu's home; the Hector Pieterson Museum, dedicated to the 1976 student uprisings, and Regina Mundi church, which also bears its resistance scars. Eat at Sakhumzi’s, the Italian-style Nambitha, or trendy Wandi’s Place. An overnight stay in one of the excellent B&Bs could prove the highlight of your trip.
Gold Reef City is a theme park with a casino, rides and a giant roller coaster, all on a former gold mine. Museums and craft shops are housed in replica buildings of the 1890 gold rush days, tours go deep into the tunnels around the Number 14 shaft. See traditional miners’ gumboot dancing in the theatre.
Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is a fun-filled centre for both adults and children. Have a look at the many cool exhibitions on display or see a science show while you are here. Either way, you cannot go wrong visiting this place; it is an attractive experience to visitors of all ages.
This is one of the most popular attractions in Johannesburg for both locals and tourists. The zoo has over 320 species of animals; amongst these you will find the endangered White Rhino and the Wattled Crane. Enjoy a cooling drink while watching the chimpanzees from the cafe.
The rooftop of trendy Bamboo Centre is given over to Great Eastern Food Bar - a Joburg establishment that takes its Asian fare very seriously. The menu selection and dish quality never ceases to impress, and has earned the restaurant incredible popularity, which makes reservations a must.
Ravenous meat eaters sit around a big open fire and tuck into wild game – eland, zebra, springbok, kudu and crocodile – carved off Masai spears. The Carnivore in Johannesburg is a franchise of the equally famous counter part in Nairobi, and it has received awards such as Best Restaurant to Take Tourists To and Best Traditional Restaurant. Even if you’re not a carnivore, you can still come here and dine on fish and veggie dishes, and have your dinner accompanied by fine wine.
"Moyo is the realisation of one man’s passion for all things African - from art and design to music, cuisine and crafts." Moyo was started here in Johannesburg, and today there are no less than seven establishments under that very name. All of them serve urban African cuisine in a soulful environment.
The Butcher Shop & Grill boasts some of the best steaks in town – game, ostrich, pork, lamb and beef. The atmosphere is laid back and inviting and booking is absolutely essential if you want a table. It is a great place to indulge in South Africa's favourite grills.
Despite its straightforward name, The Grillhouse's menu caters to both meat- and plant-based eaters. Their specialty is, of course, steaks and ribs, but they also have vegetarian options, as well as chicken and seafood. The meat is prepared to perfection - you simply cannot go wrong dining here.
A rare find on the Johannesburg dining scene, Fresh Earth is an establishment specializing in organic, plant-based cooking. The quality and taste is guaranteed ti please even those of a carnivorous persuasion. There is an adjacent on-site shop selling organic (vegan and vegetarian) foods and treats.
The Nice brunch essential is its signature "toast basket" - toast bread filled with eggs, bacon, and tomato relish (or go for the gusto with a smoked salmon basket; vegetarian options available). Meals are accompanied by great coffees and even better books from the on-site Nice Bookshop.
The longstanding Good Luck Bar (originally an old warehouse for transport vehicles) has gone through quite a few transformations over the years, the latest one resulting in the establishment becoming a live music bar with a crowd in the know coming in for drinks and grungy vibes.
Beach Blanket Bohemia is a bar and restaurant with a Mediterranean menu of dishes served at a sun-filled terrace. The lounge area makes for a relaxing evening with live music or a skilled DJ playing in the background. Located at the Sunninghill Village Shopping Centre.
If you happen to be in town on a Saturday, do step by the hip community market occupying two floors of an old warehouse. The market is fit for dining just as much as (if not more than) shopping - local creators showcase and sell their culinary inventions, with a few clothing stands thrown into the mix. Brunch is best had on the second-floor terrace.
44 Stanley might just be one of the most unusual shopping malls you've yet encountered - occupying a re-developed old building, the mall is made up of multiple almost irritatingly stylish shops and boutiques, with hip cafes inviting shoppers to a quaint break in the shaded courtyards.
Located right next to another shopping destination (Sandton City Mall), Nelson Mandela Square has a buzzing, restaurant-filled plaza as its centrepiece. There is plenty of retail therapy to be had, and the Nelson Mandela statue out front is an added-bonus local attraction.
For the greatest retail variety, head to the Rosebank Mall complex. Apart from the shops and boutiques operating during regular hours, the area plays host to the Rosebank Sunday Market and Rosebank Art & Craft Market (the latter operates daily and specializes in African art).
Held on Thursday and Saturday mornings, the Michael Mount Organic Village Market on Bryanston Drive, Sandton, sells only handcrafted goods and organically produced foods, and its tea garden is restful. Local musicians and bands play live in the background.
This first-class shopping centre has been around since 1979, and remains a prime shopping venue in the area to-date. Once the largest shopping center in the southern hemisphere, it may have lost the flashy title, but still remains a great one-stop location for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
OR TAMBO International Airport is Africa’s busiest airport with 24-hour facilities. It lies 25km east of the city. The cheapest way to reach town is use the public transportation - buses and minibuses depart from just outside the international and domestic terminals. Please mind, however, that these may not be either convenient or easy to navigate for first-time visitors. Another way to reach the city is by rail - the Gautrain system connects the airport to multiple suburbs (Sandton, Rosebank, Pretoria, Hatfield and Rhodesfield). Travel time between the airport and Sandton is 12 minutes. Minibus shuttles and metered taxis can be booked in the baggage claim area. The hotels of Rosebank and Sandton are a 30-45 minute drive from the airport. Most hotels offer shuttle services (inquire with your hotel in advance). Train service now runs between the suburbs of Sandton and Pretoria and the airport.
While most locals use minibuses to get around the city, flagging one down and figuring out its final destination may prove daunting to first-time visitors. Instead, make use of the public buses (Rea Vaya buses were introduced during the 2010 World Cup and remain in operation to-date; they are a relatively reliable means of transport). A hop on-hop off Sightseeing Johannesburg bus may be the best bet for short-term visitors. They operate between 9am and 6pm, and stop at all major visitor attractions and multiple locations around the city. Another convenient, safe way of getting around are the trains of the Gautrain system. They connect the stations of Sandton, Rosebank, Pretoria, Hatfield, Rhodesfield and the airport. There is a bus service run by Gautrain from some stations onward. Buy and top-up the Gold Card to use Gautrain.
Metered taxis are the safest way to travel if you are not hiring a car, they are available at major hotels, otherwise you have to phone for pickup. The fare should be confirmed with the driver at the outset (inquire with a local what an average fare for you drive distance would be). One reliable taxi company is Rose Taxis:
Pharmacies have a rota system for out-of-hours service. Most hospitals and clinics with an ER will also have a 24/7 pharmacy on-site. Netcare Olivedale Hospital Tel: +27 11 777 2000 Corner President Fouche & Windsor Way, Olivedale, Randburg Netcare Linksfield Hospital Tel: + 27 11 647 3400 24 12th Avenue, Linksfield West