Johannesburg is one of the best and largest cities to visit in South Africa. Johannesburg is also known as Jozi, E-Goli, Jo-burg or the “city of gold” by the locals. There are so many tourist spots here, and it can be somewhat difficult to find an ideal location to visit in Johannesburg. Here are the top tourist attractions in Johannesburg.
Tourist Attractions in Johannesburg
For a better understanding of South Africa’s apartheid era, a visit to Apartheid Museum is a must. The museum graphically displays the apartheid incident through artifacts, photos, film footage, personal accounts, newspaper clippings and a collection of dangling noses representing the execution of 131 government opponents. The cruelty, injustice, discrimination, and supremacy of white minority rule are documented in this museum. “Separation” as the Afrikaans used to call it, started officially in 1948 and ended in 1994. The museum opened its doors for the first time in 2001 and it depends on contributions, sponsorships, and donations to keep functioning and expanding.
Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve
Situated in the northwest part of downtown Johannesburg, Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve is a place where you can also see animals, such as Kruger lion, white rhino, giraffe, hippos, Cape buffalo, ostrich, flamingoes, and many more. The option to take a night or day drive in the reserve’s open-top vehicles is available. You can also choose to drive yourself through the park’s rough gravel roads. Some animals are separated by fences and can easily be seen during feeding times.
Mandela Family Museum
There are many great men and women, who helped their nation to attain independence, but it’s only a few who enjoy global admiration, and Nelson Mandela is one of them. For many years, the former President lived in a simple brick house in Soweto together with his family. This is the home that Mandela returned to after he was released from detention in the year 1990. When Mandela and his wife Winnie decided to break up in 1996, he donated the property and advised that it preserved as a monument for the struggle for the country’s freedom. The building has since been restored, and tourists are welcomed to see the former President household objects with his personal touch and story.
Croc City Crocodile & Reptile Park
Have you ever visited or seen a farm full of crocodiles? Well, this is the experience that you will get when you visit this park. The Croc City Crocodile & Reptile Park is among the planet’s best wildlife filming centers for reptiles, including crocodiles. It’s a perfect tourist destination for both you and your loved ones. Feeding time is the best moment to watch and take pictures as the crocodiles fight each other for meals, especially chickens. You can also take a picture holding a baby snake or crocodile.
Gold Reef City Theme Park and Casino
Gold Reef City Theme Park is situated on a gold mine that was shut down in 1971, but visitors are allowed to go down and see how gold was mined. One ride to look forward to is the gigantic roller coaster, which provides an amazing view of Johannesburg’s city. Those who feel lucky should visit the casino, where blackjack, baccarat, roulette and slot machines are available 24/7.
Cradle of Humankind
The Cradle of Humankind is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Johannesburg. It’s accessible by road, and it’s just about one hour drive from the city of Johannesburg. The area is ranked as one of the best paleo-anthropological sites on the planet. The most exciting attraction here is the Sterkfontein stalactitic caves made up of six linked underground hollows with around 40 meters deep lake depth. A humanoid skull called “Australopithecus africanus” was discovered here. The skull is said to be about two million years old. In 1998, another skeleton dating over 3.5 million years ago was also found here. Visit this place, and you will learn a lot about the origin of humankind.
Lesedi Cultural Village
A visit to Lesedi is always refreshing, as the village gives visitors an opportunity to learn about the different South African cultures and tribes. Situated near the Hartbeespoort Dam, you will find ancient houses here, and the locals will welcome you with traditional dances and other cultural activities of the Xhosa, Zulu, Basotho, Ndebele, Nguni and Pedi people. For a friendly price, you will get a chance to spend the night in a beautifully decorated traditional hut with an inside bathroom. Also, you can enjoy various African dishes prepared by prominent local chefs.
You don’t need to visit big museums to see different types of the country’s best wildlife; they are all available at Johannesburg Zoo. The zoo occupies 54 hectares (around 140 acres) of land and is home to around 2000 animals of about 320 species. The Johannesburg Zoo was open in 1904 and was formerly owned and run by the City Council. Things have changed, and the zoo is now a corporation registered as a non-profit organization. A visit to the zoo and you will get a chance to see wild animals, including pygmy hippos, western lowland gorillas, primates, monkeys, reptiles, chimpanzees, antelope, rhinos, leopards, zebras, and many more.
Southwestern Township, popularly known as Soweto is about 20 kilometers away southwest of the city of Johannesburg. Soweto is a place with rich history about the struggle and fight for South African’s freedom. This is where the locals (black laborers) were housed. Soweto is also the birthplace of the fight for the country’s democracy. In 1976, a group called Soweto Uprisings was formed to end the segregation in South Africa starting from Soweto. The former and first African President Nelson Mandela lived here with his family. Other attractions found here include the Mandela Family Museum, the Freedom Square and Hector Peterson Museum.
Montecasino Bird Gardens
Montecasino Birds Gardens is around 19 miles northwest of downtown Johannesburg. Some people refer to this place as the Las Vegas of South Africa because it’s packed with breathtaking casinos, shopping centers and restaurants. Montecasino is also the home of more than 1000 birds from 60 different species, including the beautiful Scarlet ibis and Nicobar pigeons. Other animals, amphibians, reptiles, and some few mammals like lemur, sloth and antelope also call this place home.