Excellent museum which takes you through the history of apartheid and obviously has a happy ending (although there is still so much to do).
There are very detailed notes to read looking at the subject from a variety of angles, but if you don't want the detail there is a more concise version. There is also a lot of contemporary video footage to go alongside the other material.
If you are going to give it your full attention you could spend easily more than half a day and I would recommend doing so.
It is a very moving experience - it took us quite a while to recover.
Lovely pizzas and friendly staff, on a well-patrolled street of secondhand bookshops and thrift stores - a rarity in the city. Cash only, so bring some with you, or go to the ATM up the street.
7th Avenue, Melville 2196, South Africa
011 726 2614
Google map: tinyurl.com/39epy4x
The Bohemian (or The Bo, as it's affectionately called) is a live-music Johannesburg landmark. Just round the corner from Melville, this grungy pool hall/pub hosts local bands at least twice a week. The vibe is super-chilled and there is no need to dress up, more important in fact you should be willing to play a game of pool or watch live sport on any of their big screens. There are also half-price pizza specials on Monday and Wednesday nights as well as student specials on pizza and beer. This place rocks literally.
5 Park Road, Richmond, Johannesburg
Not sure what it says about a city when its number one tourist attraction is a beer museum. I'm also not sure what it says about Dani and me that we contributed to such a statistic (and had a blast!) The tour is advertised everywhere in Johannesburg - it's a one and a half hour guided tour organized by SAB brewing (partners with Miller-Coors in the USA) complete with a 3D adventure, an IMAX-style movie, real life machinery depicting the beer making process, and lots more. Oh, and did we mention the tasting?
Included as part of the tour: a taste of traditional South African home-brew, a pint of SAB's Castle, and two more pints from any SAB partner at the end (we had European beers Peroni and Pilsner Urquel), all included in the amazing 25 rand price tag (or three USD per person).
Doing a review of South African's Castle beer is a bit of a cop-out (and we hope to visit Zululand where we can choose a more traditional option). With that said, the elaborate SAB museum warrants some praise. The truth is we like the fact that Castle is a good South African union-made, union-bottled, union-delivered brew - that reminded me a lot of its US counterpart - Miller Light. And while Miller may not be the first beer that comes to mind when I list my favorites, it's affordable, it tastes consistently slightly better than average, and the company provides good jobs.
It would feel weird to make this a "must do" when visiting Jozi - for pete's sake spend a day at the Apartheid museum or touring Soweto - but if you're spending a little too much time on the ground, have a free Saturday afternoon, then we promise you it will be a good time. Plan well though, no walk-ins, as the tours book days in advance.
We stayed at Bob's Bunkhouse because they are the darling of the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree for hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa. The place was nice enough for a hostel (we even had our own bathroom) - but it's also in the middle of nowhere - and to get anywhere in Jozi expect to pay very hefty taxi fees. Bob and his wife are very nice, and they try hard to provide a safe and social environment - but the reek of cigarettes is everywhere, the place is filthy, and there are no local restaurants, either in walking distance or for delivery (except for very average pizza). With that said, Bob's has quick DSL, a coke machine that dispenses beer, and loads of hot water.
Stay at a lion park in Johannesburg and get a chance to feed the animals, play with a lion cub or take a cheetah for a walk.
Amazing opportunity to actually play with both normal and white lion cubs before they get big enough to bite. Then see the prides up close from your own car or a park tour vehicle, including a completely white pride.
If you volunteer you get to interact with the animals much more than the standard park visitors. You can also stay at the park in some of their on site luxury tents.
Do not be fooled by the more commercial 'human zoo' township tours, which will take you in a bus around the township, drop you for half an hour to see the Hector Pieterson museum before whizzing you past the houses of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. The Lonely Planet
recommends a couple of low-key tours led by locals and I opted for a tour which included two days being shown around by a local girl and a
night's stay in a typical shack. I got on so well with my guide that we went out drinking in the evening and I slept on her shack floor instead of in my own place. On the Sunday we cooked lunch all together and I let her daughter and nieces highjack my camera for a while -
they managed to take far better photos than I could have done!
Google map: tinyurl.com/y9uv4po
For those staying in Johannesburg, and want to get away from the malls and the bustle of the city then in easy driving distance are two great places. If wildlife is what you want to see and Kruger is too far away, then head to the Pilanesberg game reserve. You can see all of the 'Big Five' there, and is located in the fantastic crater of a former volcano. It is quite a distance for one night, so visitors could go to Sun City, which is very close to the game reserve.
The other place near Johannesburg is Magaliesberg, which has a wide array of things to do.
If you're looking for an authentic South African meal enjoyed in the company of locals this is the place. Friday nights are busy with young urban types, visiting after the end of a gruelling work week.
Built on the site of the notorious Old Fort prison in Johannesburg, the court is as much a historical site as it is a working museum. It must be the number one spot in the country to appreciate South Africa's past, present and future. Also the architecture is great, uniquely South African and the new court building works very well with the old prison and its walls. The views over the Joburg city centre are also quite amazing.
I was amazed to find this relic of the old South Africa not only still standing but serving exactly the same banana malts (with fresh fruit) and hamburgers as in 1949, when I lived here as a kid with my American family.
Louis Botha Avenue, Highlands North
I am a South African (from Cape Town) who has just toured Johannesburg with my UK friend for five days. We used Jozi Experience. We lived in private houses, went to private parties, personalised Soweto/cultural tours. We felt part of the local community, not tourists.
77, 4th Road, Kew. Johannesburg
Tel: +27 11 4400109
Linger Longer, in the suburb of Sandton–French style food with South African flavours, fantastic place to eat (not for the budget conscious though!), in the elegant dining rooms or on the shady terrace. We had a selection of mouthwatering starters (porcini, enormous oysters, scallops, crocodile curry, langoustines, and more) which barely left room for the delicious main course and delicate desserts!
The sommelier can tell you all you need to know about South African wines. Book to avoid disappointment.
The Apartheid Museum is not to be missed - you need at least three hours to get round and take in all the information. The museum is experiential - as you walk around you ‘live’ the experiences: walk through cages, past cells, around one of the riot tanks they used in Soweto.
The information is presented on panels, on TV screens transmitting key speeches and reports of events under apartheid, there are audio recordings, memory boxes, videos and audio tapes. There is an attempt to trace the origins of racism and apartheid back to the first settlers, but it is the lived history of apartheid and the bloodshed of the first years of liberation which leave the deepest impression and remind us that the torture techniques and tools of repression used in South Africa under apartheid are still being used today.
I left with many questions and a heavy heart, but full of admiration for those who resisted and their descendants who are trying to rebuild a country where the commonality of human experience is more important than difference.
This is a park where they breed lions, both white and tawny, and the public can meet them.
There are also hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, giraffes and several species of antelope.
The biggest attraction is Touch-a-cub, where guests are welcome to stroke lion cubs. It's a real treat to be so close to these beautiful animals.
R114, Junction R512 Hans Strijdom, Honeydew, Johannesburg
Cresta is a Shopping Mall in Jo'burg. It has more down-to-earth shops than the largely touristy Sandton City/Nelson Mandela Square. You will find Woolworth’s, PicknPay, sports, clothing, bookshops etc, and it will be busy as it is very popular. Car parking is safe as it has the usual 'stewards' in every area.
This building, with a mall inside, is the tallest building in Africa with a view deck and restaurant on the top floor. From the top you'll get a great view of Joburg, Soweto, the airport and Sandton. On a clear day you can also see Pretoria (about 30 miles away). Entrance fee to the top (50th floor) is R20.
Visit Mandela square in Sandton City. A vibrant shopping mall with a square that sizzles in the evening from all those lovely restaurants. A good place to eat is Montego Bay. Under the watchful eye of the biggest Mandela statue - you'll enjoy a nice seafood or other dinner.
This is very nice hotel in Fourways. You'll need to rent a car as it is about 10 miles from downtown Joburg. They have the best breakfast buffet on the planet. You can relax by taking a stroll within the safe walls of the hotel, at the swimming pools, bird watching ormake a trip to Fourways mall. Three-star with a five-star service.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com