Johannesburg, often dubbed the city of gold, stands as a beacon of vibrant cultural experiences in South Africa. Nestled in the heart of Gauteng province, it offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity.

As you traverse the bustling streets of Johannesburg, you’ll encounter a diverse array of attractions that cater to every kind of traveler. Johannesburg never ceases to amaze, from historical landmarks narrating tales of its rich past to vibrant markets showcasing contemporary lifestyles.

Whether you’re a history aficionado keen on exploring the Apartheid Museum or a shopaholic eager to splurge at the bustling Neighbourgoods Market, Johannesburg has something for everyone.

Let me take you through some of the best things to do in Johannesburg from the comfort of your home.

Best things to do in Johannesburg: Museums and Cultural Attractions

1. Apartheid Museum

Embark on a journey through time at the Apartheid Museum. Upon your arrival, you’ll be handed a ticket that randomly designates you as either white or non-white, a practice that mirrors past racial segregation.

This initiates a vivid journey through history, offering a firsthand glimpse into the apartheid era. The Permanent Exhibition and the Mandela Exhibition are must-visits, encapsulating the harsh realities and the heroic efforts of Nelson Mandela during that period.

Plan your visit wisely and immerse yourself fully in this poignant narrative of resilience and unity.

Pro Tip: Before your visit, check the official website for timings and entry fees (an average ticket costs R85, but it’s cheaper for students and senior citizens).

2. Constitution Hill

At the heart of Johannesburg lies Constitution Hill, a living testament to South Africa’s tumultuous history and its journey to democracy.

This historic site houses the Constitutional Court, the nation’s highest court of justice, symbolizing justice and freedom in post-apartheid South Africa.

Visitors can explore the Old Fort, once a place of injustice and brutality, now transformed into a beacon of hope and democracy.

Don’t miss the Number Four Museum and the Women’s Gaol Museum, a grim reminder of the past, and the Women’s Jail, narrating tales of remarkable resilience and insight into South Africa’s history.

3. Nelson Mandela National Museum

Embark on a journey through rich history at the Nelson Mandela National Museum, inaugurated precisely a decade after Mandela’s release on February 11, 1990. This significant site offers a profound glimpse into Mandela’s life and legacy.

Situated in Qunu, where Mandela spent his childhood, the museum is easily accessible with convenient car parking nearby. For a comprehensive experience, consider visiting Mvezo as part of a guided tour.

Allocate at least two hours to fully appreciate the exhibits, which include the Nelson Mandela Youth and Heritage Centre and the open-air museum in Mvezo, Mandela’s birthplace.

While I initially allocated an hour for my visit, I soon realized that such a limited time was insufficient to truly appreciate the exhibits’ profound narrative and rich tapestry.

4. Museum Africa

Museum Africa serves as a portal to the rich and diverse history of the African continent, showcasing the golden era when ancient civilizations like Kemet (Egypt), Kush (Sudan), and Punt (Somalia) flourished.

This museum, distinct for its unique and engaging display approach, is housed in a picturesque building adjacent to the Market Theatre complex in Newtown.

You can immerse yourself in a vast collection focusing on African cultures, history, archaeology, and linguistics, including an impressive assortment of rock art and artworks from local and international artists.

The museum also houses the Workers’ Museum, narrating the history of migrant labor in southern Africa.

5. Hector Pieterson Museum

The Hector Pieterson Museum in Orlando West, Soweto, commemorates the tragic Soweto Uprising in 1976.

Named after a 12-year-old victim, Hector Pieterson, the museum offers an immersive journey through that fateful day, showcasing vivid photographs, artifacts, and personal narratives highlighting the protest against Afrikaans as the medium of school instruction.

Visitors can witness the iconic image of Pieterson being carried by a fellow student, a moment that ignited global outrage and spotlighted apartheid’s brutality.

Nearby, the Hector Pieterson Memorial is a testament to the young heroes’ courage and resilience during the apartheid struggle, offering visitors a profound educational experience.

Best things to do in Johannesburg: Outdoor Activities

6. Johannesburg Zoo

The Johannesburg Zoo, a prominent attraction in the city, offers a delightful escape into the world of wildlife. Spanning over 55 hectares, it houses a diverse range of 320 species of animals from different habitats, including the majestic Big Five – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and buffalo.

During my visit, I was captivated by the close encounters with the vibrant and diverse animal species. This experience brought a deeper appreciation for wildlife conservation and left me with cherished memories of observing these magnificent creatures up close.

The zoo is also involved in conservation efforts, playing a vital role in breeding programs for endangered species. A visit here promises entertainment and an educational experience, making it a must-visit for families and wildlife enthusiasts.

7. Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden

Discover the lush Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, one of South Africa’s nine national botanical gardens, spread over 200 acres of natural splendor. This haven boasts seven unique gardens, each displaying a vibrant array of local and international flora.

Meander through scenic trails leading to the breathtaking Witpoortjie Waterfall, a centerpiece amidst flourishing greenery. Experience the lively Birds and Butterfly Garden, a spectacle of nature’s vibrant hues and sounds.

For a moment of peace, the Shakespeare Garden offers a tranquil retreat, a place I personally find to be a captivating sanctuary amidst the bustling city center.

Pro Tip: Be sure to put on your hiking shoes and explore the trails running throughout the garden; you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Johannesburg.

8. Johannesburg Botanic Garden

The Johannesburg Botanic Garden is an oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling city. Its serene gardens, meandering walkways, inviting arbors, and cozy benches make it a beloved escape from urban hustle and bustle.

This expansive park offers more than just scenic beauty; it’s ideal for leisurely strolls, invigorating jogs, and family picnics by the tranquil waters.

Stretching over a vast area with a circumference of 5km, including sports facilities, it’s a park practically a world unto itself. Some sections even mimic the ambiance of a forest, providing a refreshing contrast to city life.

Don’t miss the charming rose garden and the lake near Emmarentia Dam, perfect for water sports enthusiasts like kayaking.

9. Lion & Safari Park

Explore Africa’s magnificent predators up close at the Lion & Safari Park. While it may not rival the vastness of Kruger National Park, this park offers unique and thrilling experiences.

Get hands-on with lion cubs, walk alongside cheetahs with a guide, or feed a graceful giraffe. As you leisurely drive through the park, you’re guaranteed sightings of lions and other carnivores in the grasslands.

For the best experience, visit during cooler hours, like early evening, when animals seek shade from the heat. Choose between self-driving or diverse tours, including a guided lion and wild dog tour or an exciting safari tour, for an unforgettable wildlife encounter.

10. Gold Reef City Theme Park

Gold Reef City Theme Park, South Africa’s largest, stands as Johannesburg’s trendiest and beloved entertainment hub. With 16 thrilling rides, 7 family-friendly attractions, and 21 kids’ rides, it’s an adventure for all ages.

Delve into the Jump City Trampoline Park and embark on an underground mine tour, a unique Johannesburg gem. Enjoy diverse dining options and explore retail stores.

Transport yourself to the gold rush era while exploring 15 more captivating attractions. It’s an entertainment paradise that promises a memorable day filled with excitement and nostalgia.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to get souvenirs from the historic gold-themed gift shop for everlasting memories.

Best things to do in Johannesburg: Shopping and Markets

11. Sandton City Mall

Sandton City Mall stands as an unparalleled, world-class shopping destination, boasting a diverse array of over 375 retailers. This retail haven excels in delivering top-notch style and variety.

Visitors can indulge in a shopping experience from luxury brands to high-street fashion, catering to all tastes and preferences. For those seeking the latest fashion trends, popular stores like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 beckon.

Luxury enthusiasts can explore iconic brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada.

Beyond fashion, Sandton City offers a wide range of amenities, including gourmet dining options, entertainment venues, and wellness centers, ensuring an all-encompassing and unforgettable shopping adventure.

12. Oriental Plaza

Experience a unique shopping experience at the hand-crafted jewelry, fabric, and artifacts of Oriental Plaza. This vibrant mall pulses with African colors and culture, offering an unforgettable insight into Johannesburg’s diverse communities.

You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to fabrics; the mall is home to many independent tailors who can create custom garments or give your wardrobe a new lease of life.

Browse the bustling shops for the latest fashion, electronics, and jewelry. Uncover hidden gems like carved wooden masks and accessories that make perfect souvenirs for friends back home.

Pro Tip: Bargain hunting is encouraged here – don’t be afraid to haggle for the best price!

13. The Playground Market (previously named Neighbourgoods Market)

Experience the vibrant streets of Johannesburg at The Playground Market, an iconic destination for locals and tourists alike. This bustling market is held every Saturday in the heart of Braamfontein and offers a unique experience for foodies and explorers alike.

Taste your way around the world with vendors selling everything from traditional South African dishes to sushi and Greek specialties. Shop for locally sourced organic produce, fresh dairy products, craft beers, and artisanal wares.

Be sure to check out the live entertainment program at the market, featuring a diverse lineup of international acts and local artists. The vibrant atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for socializing or just relaxing with friends after a long week.

14. Market on Main

Market on Main has become one of Johannesburg’s most popular weekend attractions, a bustling city landmark that attracts foodies and revelers alike.

At this vibrant market, you’ll find gourmet street food from around the world, and local specialties served in a hip atmosphere with live music.

Vendor highlights include The Local Grill for award-winning burgers, Mama Mexicana for Mexican burritos and tacos, and Burger & Relish for juicy steaks.

The market is also known for its eclectic fashion stalls, unique boutiques, and artisanal craftsmen. With so much to explore, you’ll need a few hours to take it all in – but with the great atmosphere, you’ll want to stay longer.

15. Rosebank Sunday Market

The Rosebank Sunday Market is a vibrant hub where you can find a rich array of South African souvenirs and handicrafts from countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Congo. Each stall showcases the diverse cultural traditions and artistic heritage of these nations.

During my visit, I managed to bag myself a beautiful piece of Congolese art, a testament to the market’s treasure trove of unique finds. Engage with the warm vendors who are eager to share the stories behind their creations.

Allocate a Sunday to explore this bustling market and immerse yourself in a rich, cultural shopping experience, open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.

Pro Tip: Be careful of pickpockets and always be vigilant of your belongings; this area is a hotspot for petty crime.

Best things to do in Johannesburg: Historical Landmarks

16. Johannesburg City Hall

Johannesburg City Hall is a historical and architectural gem in the city’s heart. This elegant edifice was constructed in 1914 and is a testament to Johannesburg’s heritage and civic pride.

Its neoclassical design, adorned with graceful columns and intricate detailing, exudes an air of grandeur. The City Hall has played a pivotal role in the city’s history, hosting significant events and meetings.

Today, it symbolizes Johannesburg’s rich past and vibrant present, housing various government offices and event spaces. Visitors can admire its exterior, capturing a glimpse of the city’s storied past while appreciating its enduring significance.

17. Carlton Centre

Step into the Carlton Centre, a towering marvel in central Johannesburg, and prepare to be swept off your feet by the breathtaking 360-degree views it offers.

Standing at a staggering height of 223 meters, this 50-story skyscraper, fondly dubbed the “Top of Africa,” dominates the city’s skyline. For a nominal fee of R30, you can ascend to the upper floor, where the panoramic vistas provide a unique perspective of Johannesburg’s vibrant urban landscape.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the sprawling city from this vantage point, a truly unforgettable experience that showcases the heart of South Africa in all its glory.

18. Johannesburg Fort

Built in 1886, the Johannesburg Fort is an impressive stone structure remnant of South Africa’s colonial past. Located on Commissioner Street, this military fortification was once home to the British garrison during the Anglo-Boer War.

Today, it serves as a museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing South African history. The fort houses artifacts, including photographs, weapons, and other memorabilia from the mid-1800s.

Visitors can also take a guided tour around the grounds to understand more about the fort’s role in South African history. For an informative and educational experience, visit Johannesburg Fort for an authentic glimpse into some of South Africa’s most turbulent times.

19. James Hall Museum of Transport

The James Hall Museum of Transport is South Africa’s largest and most comprehensive collection of transport-related artifacts. Established in 1964, the museum features over 400 exhibits ranging from vintage cars to steam locomotive engines.

Explore a range of vehicles from all eras, spanning horse-drawn carriages to modern-day automobiles. Learn about the evolution of transportation technology in South Africa and marvel at the intricately detailed models on display.

The museum also boasts a fascinating collection of antique motorcycles, bicycles, and airplanes. Check out the interactive exhibits for an engaging experience with hands-on activities. The James Hall Museum of Transport is a must-see for any transport enthusiast!

Pro Tip: Entry to the museum is free on weekends, so it’s the perfect opportunity to explore without breaking the bank.

20. Old Fort Museum and Constitutional Hill

Discover the poignant history of the Old Fort and Constitutional Hill, a vivid window into South Africa’s 43-year apartheid era. This site, once a hub of national segregation, housed notable figures like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi alongside ordinary citizens.

Now a museum, it stands as a beacon of the nation’s journey from darkness to light. The cells, search yard, whipping post, and exercise areas are well-marked and narrated, offering a deep dive into the lives of the inmates.

I would highly recommend utilizing Viator for a guided tour, as their expert guides can truly bring the harrowing stories of this place to life, offering a deeper understanding and appreciation of this significant historical site.

Best things to do in Johannesburg: Food and Dining

21. Maboneng Precinct

The up-and-coming Maboneng Precinct is a vibrant neighborhood in Johannesburg’s heart. Its name, “Maboneng,” meaning “place of lights” in Sesotho, perfectly captures its essence.

This dynamic locale is a major creative hub, teeming with exceptional dining spots, charming cafes, lively bars, unique boutiques, and inspiring art galleries. As you explore, you’ll stumble upon gems like Cornerstone Cafe, The AGOG, Little Addis Cafe, and Rooftop BBQ.

Maboneng’s eclectic mix of attractions promises a delightful journey through Johannesburg’s cultural and culinary treasures.

22. Soweto Outdoor Street Food Market

No trip to Johannesburg is complete without a visit to the famous Soweto Outdoor Street Food Market. It’s an absolute must-visit, with over 30 stalls offering delicious local and international flavors.

Sample mouthwatering treats like spicy vetkoek (doughnuts), freshly baked bread, and fluffy pancakes. Don’t forget to try local dishes like tripe, pap (cornmeal porridge), and morogo (spinach).

The market has something for everyone, whether you’re looking to buy souvenirs or savor a delectable snack. It’s also wheelchair and stroller-friendly, a great spot for families with young children.

23. The Local Grill

The Local Grill is the perfect spot for a quality steak dinner. It’s one of Johannesburg’s most celebrated steakhouses, drawing in locals and tourists alike.

If you want to indulge in premium-cut meats, this is the place to be. The Local Grill offers a wide selection of succulent cuts, including Angus beef, filet mignon, and rib-eye steak.

The sides are just as delicious, with offerings like creamed potatoes, grilled vegetables, and roasted mushrooms. Pair your meal with one of the restaurant’s signature wine selections for the ultimate treat. I would recommend making a reservation in advance to avoid long wait times.

24. Arts on Main

Experience a blend of art and food at Johannesburg’s Arts on Main. This unique venue is situated near the city center and hosts an outdoor food market and multiple galleries displaying contemporary South African art.

In the evening, it transforms into a lively marketplace with numerous stalls offering local organic produce and artisanal goods. Enjoy a meal from the food trucks, then explore galleries showcasing paintings, sculptures, and photographs by local artists.

Complete your visit with live music and refreshing drinks at the bar. Arts on Main caters to diverse tastes in art and food, making it an unforgettable outing.

25. 4 Roomed eKasi Culture

For a unique dining experience, head over to the 4Roomed eKasi Culture. This restaurant is set up to resemble a typical South African township home, with four rooms dedicated to a different regional cuisine.

Enjoy traditional dishes like amagwinya (deep-fried dough pockets) from the Gauteng Province, nqoqo (African spinach) from the Mpumalanga Province, and waterblommetjie bredie (meat stew with water lilies) from the Western Cape.

Be sure to arrive hungry, as the portions are generous, and the flavors are delicious!

Best things to do in Johannesburg: Art and Culture

Discover the Johannesburg Art Gallery, a treasure trove of artistic brilliance boasting an impressive collection that spans centuries, with pieces dating back to the 15th century.

Among its illustrious collection are works by renowned artists like Dali and Picasso, showcasing their iconic creations. Situated in the picturesque Joubert Park, this cultural gem invites art enthusiasts to explore its riches without any admission fee.

Whether you’re a seasoned art connoisseur or a curious newcomer, the Johannesburg Art Gallery promises a captivating journey through fine art, providing a deeper appreciation of the city’s cultural tapestry.

27. Wits Art Museum

Nestled within the vibrant campus of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the Wits Art Museum is a cultural treasure trove. This museum houses an impressive collection of 15,000 works of art, predominantly from the 19th century onwards.

As you explore its halls, you’ll encounter diverse artistic expressions, from classic to contemporary. The Wits Art Museum invites visitors to embark on a captivating journey through time, offering insights into the evolving artistic landscape.

It’s a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and history buffs, offering a unique perspective on the city’s cultural heritage.

Circa Gallery in Johannesburg is a prominent hub for contemporary African art, founded in 2009 by the renowned Everard Read Gallery. This circular architectural gem, designed by Pierre Swanepoel, is an iconic landmark in Rosebank.

It showcases a diverse collection of artworks representing established and emerging African artists. As a vital player in the city’s art scene, Circa Gallery enriches Johannesburg’s cultural landscape.

Pro Tip: Entry is free, so if you are on a budget, this is the perfect place to explore Johannesburg’s art scene without spending a penny.

Kalashnikovv Gallery is a renowned contemporary art space in Johannesburg, South Africa. Established in 2013, it has become a prominent platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their work.

The gallery is known for its commitment to promoting diverse and thought-provoking art forms, including visual arts, photography, and multimedia installations.

Kalashnikovv Gallery has played a pivotal role in shaping Johannesburg’s vibrant art scene and has been a vital space for cultural exchange.

With its innovative exhibitions and collaborative projects, it continues to contribute significantly to the city’s dynamic and ever-evolving art landscape.

30. Bag Factory Artists Studios

The Bag Factory Artists’ Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a celebrated hub for contemporary art creation and experimentation.

Established in 1991, it offers residencies to emerging and established artists, providing a conducive environment to explore their creative ideas and develop their craft.

The studio complex fosters community and collaboration among artists from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. Over the years, it has played a pivotal role in nurturing local talent and promoting international artistic exchange.

The Bag Factory Artists’ Studios remains a cornerstone of Johannesburg’s art scene, contributing to its rich tapestry of creativity and innovation. As a nonprofit organization, it continues to create a platform for exploring contemporary art.

Best things to do in Johannesburg: Entertainment and Nightlife

31. Montecasino

Step into the enchanting world of Montecasino, a sprawling entertainment haven nestled in Johannesburg’s heart. This Italian-inspired marvel boasts stunning architecture and lush gardens transporting you to another world.

At its core, you’ll find a world-class casino, luxurious hotels, and a treasure trove of dining experiences, from gourmet restaurants to casual eateries.

Montecasino’s renowned bird park showcases a colorful array of exotic avian species, making it a delightful attraction for nature enthusiasts. Beyond entertainment, the complex promotes responsible gambling and contributes to various community initiatives.

So, whether you’re seeking gaming excitement, fine dining, or a tranquil escape amidst vibrant gardens, Montecasino offers a diverse blend of experiences for visitors in Johannesburg.

32. Melville Nightlife

Delve into the lively nocturnal scene of Melville, Johannesburg’s hip and happening neighborhood. Known for its vibrant nightlife, Melville offers a spectrum of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues that cater to various tastes.

Start your evening at a cozy cocktail bar like Hell’s Kitchen or Xai Xai, where you can relish exotic concoctions. Explore popular spots like Kitcheners and Great Dane as the night unfolds, where live music and eclectic beats keep the party going.

Melville’s nightlife is renowned for its diversity and inclusivity, making it an ideal destination for a memorable night out. Ensure to check venues for any entry requirements, and revel in the vibrant atmosphere that defines Melville after dark.

33. Gold Reef City Casino

Step into the dazzling world of Gold Reef City Casino, where thrilling gaming and unparalleled entertainment await. Like the Apartheid Museum’s immersive experience, your journey here begins with a ticket, setting the stage for a night of excitement.

Whether you’re drawn to the slot machines or the lively tables, this premier gaming destination in Johannesburg offers a chance to make your luck.

Beyond gaming, the casino hosts live shows, concerts, and events entertaining your evening. To blend in seamlessly, dress smart-casual, and bring your ID for entry. Gold Reef City Casino promises a memorable night with gaming, entertainment, and delightful dining options.

34. The Orbit Jazz Club

Immerse yourself in the soulful rhythms of The Orbit Jazz Club, a Johannesburg gem that beckons music enthusiasts. As you step inside, the lively atmosphere and intimate setting create the perfect ambiance for a jazz night.

The club showcases local talents and international jazz artists, promising an unforgettable sonic journey. Enjoy your favorite tunes while savoring the bar’s delectable dishes and handcrafted cocktails.

It’s advisable to check the schedule for upcoming performances and book your table in advance, especially for popular acts. The Orbit Jazz Club is where melodies come alive, offering an unparalleled musical experience in the heart of Johannesburg.

35. The Market Theatre

Delve into the dynamic world of the Market Theatre, a cultural gem in Johannesburg renowned for its captivating array of shows.

This iconic venue has been a central pillar of South Africa’s theatrical landscape since the challenging days of apartheid, and its influence endures.

With a diverse lineup, including acclaimed productions like “Sophiatown,” “Woza Albert!” and “The Suitcase,” the Market Theatre showcases thought-provoking dramas, musicals, and cutting-edge performances.

Before your visit, consult the official website to explore the upcoming shows and secure your tickets. Whether you’re into powerful storytelling or avant-garde theater, the Market Theatre promises an enriching cultural experience worth cherishing.

Best things to do in Johannesburg: Nature and Parks

36. Emmarentia Dam and Botanical Garden

Unearth the tranquility of Emmarentia Dam and Botanical Garden, a beloved oasis in Johannesburg’s heart.

The lush greenery and sparkling waters provide a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether looking for a leisurely stroll or an outdoor picnic, this idyllic spot is perfect for unwinding.

It’s also a top spot for recreation, with pathways ideal for jogging, cycling and skating. The botanical garden features native flora as well as exotic plant species, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers to explore the beauty of Johannesburg’s natural landscape.

37. Johannesburg Botanical Gardens

Spread across 70 hectares, Johannesburg Botanical Gardens is a haven for nature enthusiasts. This lush oasis showcases an impressive array of global plant species and features vibrant wildlife, including exotic birds and vivid butterflies.

The garden is thoughtfully divided into thematic sections, such as the Rose Garden, Fern Garden, and Indigenous Forest, each offering a unique ambiance.

Visitors can opt for guided tours or leisurely self-exploration along serene pathways. Additional activities like sketching classes, bird-watching excursions, and outdoor yoga sessions are also available.

Before immersing yourself in Johannesburg’s premier botanical garden’s beauty, consult the visitor information for essential details.

38. Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve

Explore the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, a captivating natural escape in Johannesburg, only 10km from the city center. This picturesque reserve is renowned for its extraordinary biodiversity, boasting an array of plant and animal species.

This verdant expanse features meadows rich in biodiversity and offers an idyllic landscape for outdoor activities. The trails are delightful for hiking and cycling, and there’s plenty of wildlife to observe as you wander through nature’s abode.

Be sure to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking views. Check out visitor tips and consult local guides to make the most of your journey. With its stunning scenery and abundant wildlife, Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve is a paradise worth discovering.

39. Delta Park

Discover the Delta Park, an expansive parkland in Johannesburg famed for its scenic landscapes. The park’s rolling hills and lush greenery offer a stunning backdrop for leisurely walks or picnics with family and friends.

The Delta Park is also home to tranquil ponds perfect for bird-watching and observing nature in its most serene form. The site features several trails, including a lovely 2.5km circular route through the park’s lush meadows and woodlands.

Before your visit, consult the official website for opening hours and entry requirements. Delta Park promises an enriching outdoor experience that will linger in your memory for years.

40. Melville Koppies Nature

Melville Koppies Nature Reserve, a Johannesburg City Heritage Site, preserves the city’s geological and cultural heritage. These ridges represent Johannesburg’s pre-gold discovery landscape, spanning three billion years.

Evidence of Early Stone Age occupation, dating back 500,000 years, coexists with Iron Age kraal walls from the past millennium. The reserve’s indigenous vegetation flourishes in stark contrast to the urban surroundings, a testament to highveld grasses, flowers, and trees.

While Melville Koppies CENTRAL offers Sunday access for hikes between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Melville Koppies EAST welcomes daily visitors, including socialized dogs.

Melville Koppies WEST is open daily but best enjoyed during scheduled walks, with caution against carrying valuables into EAST or WEST.

Best things to do in Johannesburg: Day Trips

41. Pilanesburg National Park Safari

Nestled within a volcanic crater, Pilanesberg National Park Safari, just 220 km from Johannesburg’s Tambo International Airport, offers a convenient day-trip destination, a mere 2-hour drive away.

Self-driving through the park is cost-effective for budget-conscious travelers, providing access to the same breathtaking sights. However, guided safaris offer invaluable wildlife insights, enhancing your chances of spotting the Big Five, zebras, giraffes, and more.

Compared to Kruger, Pilanesberg is more manageable, ensuring a rewarding safari experience with diverse wildlife encounters. Brace yourself for an enchanting journey through this remarkable South African wilderness, teeming with astonishing biodiversity.

42. Soweto Tour

Explore the essence of Johannesburg with a Soweto Tour, where “South Western Township” is affectionately abbreviated as “Soweto.” Just a 20 km journey from Jo’burg, it stands as South Africa’s largest township.

Soweto’s captivating history is entwined with civil unrest and resistance against the Apartheid regime, all while celebrating its vibrant cultural heritage.

To truly grasp the city’s soul, a knowledgeable guide is essential. They’ll lead you to iconic landmarks and share their profound historical significance. It’s why joining a guided tour is recommended for exploring Johannesburg.

With Soweto’s rich tapestry of stories and culture, it promises an unforgettable journey through South Africa’s past and present.

43. Balloon Safari

Embark on an exhilarating hot air balloon ride adventure with the Balloon Safari, an experience that promises to leave you in awe of South Africa’s stunning landscapes and captivating wildlife.

Choose from a diverse range of hot air balloon rides, each offering a unique and spellbinding journey.

Rates for hot air ballooning typically average around R2150 per person, ensuring this breathtaking experience is well within reach; I recommend checking out Viator for more details.

So, whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking an unforgettable escapade, the Balloon Safari is a must-book adventure that will elevate your South African journey to new heights.

44. Half-day Tour of Pretoria

Located just 55 km away, a short hour’s drive from Johannesburg lies Pretoria, a picturesque city now teeming with captivating sights that beckon travelers. This intriguing destination boasts a wealth of local attractions catering to diverse interests.

From beautiful gardens to historically significant sites, Pretoria offers a multitude of captivating experiences.

To immerse yourself fully in the city’s allure, embark on a guided tour—a choice ideal for seamless and enriching exploration. Local tour operators meticulously craft itineraries to ensure you experience all must-see destinations.

Pretoria’s warm climate sets the stage for year-round pleasant explorations. Popular tour options include the Pretoria City and Diamond Tour, the Pretoria and Lion Park Tour, the Full Pretoria City Tour, and the Elephant Sanctuary Tour.

These excursions promise an unforgettable journey through this vibrant South African city, rich in history, culture, and natural beauty.


What is Johannesburg best known for?

Johannesburg is best known for its rich history, vibrant cultural scene, and being the economic hub of South Africa. It’s also renowned for its gold mining heritage, which earned it the nickname “City of Gold.”

How can I spend a day in Johannesburg?

You can start your day by visiting the Apartheid Museum to learn about South Africa’s history, explore the vibrant Maboneng Precinct for art and food, take a tour of Soweto to experience local culture, and end your day with a sunset view from the Carlton Centre’s Top of Africa.

Is Johannesburg good for tourists?

Yes, Johannesburg is a great destination for tourists. It offers a mix of history, culture, and modern attractions. However, like any big city, it’s important to stay informed about safety precautions and areas to avoid.

What is the city between Cape Town and Johannesburg?

Bloemfontein is the city located between Cape Town and Johannesburg when traveling by road.

Is Cape Town or Johannesburg better?

This depends on your preferences. Cape Town is known for its natural beauty, while Johannesburg is the economic and cultural heart of South Africa. Both cities offer unique experiences.

Why do tourists visit Johannesburg?

Tourists visit Johannesburg for its historical sites, museums, vibrant arts scene, wildlife reserves, and its role in South African history, particularly the struggle against apartheid.

How many days are enough for Johannesburg?

A stay of 3 to 4 days is usually sufficient to explore Johannesburg’s main attractions. This allows you to experience the city’s culture, history, and some nearby sights.

Is Johannesburg a walkable city?

Johannesburg is not known for being a highly walkable city. It’s advisable to use taxis or rideshare services for transportation, especially in certain areas.

What is the best month to visit Johannesburg?

The best time to visit Johannesburg is during the spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) when the weather is pleasant, and outdoor activities are enjoyable.

Is it safe to walk in Johannesburg at night?

Walking in Johannesburg at night is generally not recommended, especially in less touristy areas. It’s safer to use transportation or stay in well-lit, populated areas.

Is there a train from Johannesburg to Cape Town?

Yes, there is a long-distance train service called the “Shosholoza Meyl” that operates between Johannesburg and Cape Town. It’s a scenic way to travel but takes longer than flying.

Is it safe to drive from Cape Town to Johannesburg?

Driving from Cape Town to Johannesburg is generally safe if you follow safety guidelines and take regular rest breaks. Ensure your vehicle is in good condition, and plan your route in advance.

What are 5 interesting facts about Johannesburg?

  1. Johannesburg is one of the youngest major cities globally, founded in 1886.
  2. The city boasts the world’s largest man-made forest due to its abundance of trees.
  3. Johannesburg is home to some of the oldest human fossils ever discovered.
  4. It’s one of the few cities built on a gold reef, contributing to its wealth.
  5. The city has a thriving street art scene, with numerous murals and graffiti art around town.

Is Johannesburg an expensive city?

Johannesburg can be relatively affordable for tourists compared to some other major cities. Prices for accommodation, dining, and activities vary, but there are options for various budgets.

How far is Johannesburg from Cape Town by plane?

The approximate flying distance between Johannesburg and Cape Town is around 1,270 kilometers (789 miles), with flight durations typically lasting around 2 hours.

What is the coldest month in Johannesburg?

The coldest month in Johannesburg is typically July, with temperatures dropping to around 4-5°C (39-41°F) at night.

Does Johannesburg get snow?

While snowfall is rare in Johannesburg, it has occurred occasionally during exceptionally cold winter periods, but it doesn’t accumulate significantly.


In closing, the city of Johannesburg beckons with a rich tapestry of attractions and experiences, offering a unique glimpse into the city’s past, present, and future.

From the profound lessons of the Apartheid Museum to the natural splendor of Melville Koppies, this dynamic city caters to various interests.

So, I encourage you to embark on your journey of discovery in Johannesburg. Dive into its history, savor its cuisine, and embrace its vibrant culture.

44 Best Things to Do in Johannesburg, South Africa (2023)

Author Avatar


Check out related blogs below!

View of the Castell de Guadalest, one of the top itineraries to visit Guadalest.

Ultimate Guide to Visit Guadalest in Alicante, Spain (2024) 

If you’re in Alicante, you must visit Guadalest, a charming small town renowned for its stunning beauty. It is one of Spain’s hidden gems. You’ll be greeted by a delightful blend of old-world charm and natural beauty as you arrive. Visiting El Castell de Guadalest is like stepping back in time. You’ll be captivated by […]

Cape Cod Lighthouse view in Ptown, one of the best things to do in Provincetown.

20+ Absolute Best Things to Do in Provincetown, MA (2024)

Welcome to the captivating world of Provincetown, MA, where the unique charm of Cape Cod comes to life in 2023.  I’ve carefully curated a list of over 20 of the best things to do in Provincetown. These aren’t just typical tourist spots; they are gems where each corner of Provincetown adds a unique flavor to […]

Birds of Paradise flowers in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, as part of the best things to do in Cape Town itinerary

30+ Best Things to Do in Cape Town, South Africa (2024)

Here is a comprehensive guide to the best places to see and the best things to do while visiting beautiful Cape Town, South Africa.