From incredible restaurants, to tours of the city, kayaking, hiking and visiting the wilds… here’s our top 10 list of things to do and places to visit in Joburg!
Johannesburg, South Africa (16 December 2020) – Joburg continues its unprecedented growth – constantly and continuously transforming itself. It’s seen not only as the economic hub of the Continent but also as offering a plethora of cultural, leisure, sporting, fashion and lifestyle activities that is fast making us the leading destination for both leisure and business tourists.
Joburg’s legendary shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife is complemented by fabulous weather as well as an astonishing array of facilities like spectacular golf courses, gyms, spa’s, wellness centres which add to its appeal as a destination.
“The action in Joburg certainly never stops and when the work is over, we encourage our resident locals and visitors to stay, play and enjoy what Joburg has to offer this holiday season,” says Lumka Dlomo (Destination Marketing Manager, Joburg Tourism).
“For those who’ll be heading off for the holidays, be sure to return in safely and in time (and flush with cash) for the fabulous New Year Sales!”
In line with our Welcome to Joburg – A City Reimagined campaign, the city invites you to enjoy exploring and experiencing Jozi, while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols at all times.
So here’s our top 10 list of things to do and places to visit in Joburg!
City Sightseeing Red Bus Tours
If you want to see some of the places that make Johannesburg tick, then the red City Sightseeing Tour Bus is your best bet. The bus gives families a day packed with visits to some of Joburg’s most iconic places to learn about the rich history of the City of Gold at affordable prices. The bus stops at places such as Gandhi Square, James Hall Transport Museum, Wits Origins Centre, Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill.
Spend time in Soweto, probably the country’s most famous township – and renowned for having spearheaded the liberation of South Africa by youth in 1976. Soweto is also where Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s house stands, which has since been converted into a museum. The house is on 8115 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West in Soweto. This is the most famous street in South Africa – and probably the only one in the world- which has been home to two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu. This is where Nelson Mandela lived from 1946 to 1962. Vilakazi Street is a throbbing economic hub with a string of eateries and restaurant that gives visitors a sampling of South African cuisine, along with curio markets where one can pick up gifts and souvenirs.
Experience the vibe of the fascinating Maboneng Precinct in Central Johannesburg – still one of Joburg’s most unique and innovative areas, offering to live, working and entertainment opportunities within a fully integrated urban environment.
Maboneng is also home to artists’ studios, art galleries, bookshops, cosmopolitan restaurants, coffee shops, flagship fashion and boutique stores, quirky and trendy markets. In an exciting development, it is now linked to its recently launched neighbour, Jewel City. The Jewel City Precinct is a residential, commercial and retail development which is an extension of the existing Maboneng Precinct.
The major R1.8 billion Jewel City redevelopment is a massive extension of Maboneng, adding a completely new dimension to this immensely popular and vibrant area, and expands what is very possibly Johannesburg’s best located and integrated lifestyle space.
The mixed-use Jewel City includes 2,700 apartments, which are enjoying exceptionally high levels of take-up, as 20,000sqm of commercial space. Its retail space is already fully let and its offices are increasingly attracting businesses to the area, which benefits from immediate access to all the amenities that employees value most.
Jewel City connects to the landmark Arts on Main and extends across six city blocks, which have been closed for decades and previously housed Joburg’s precious metals and diamond trade, towards the redeveloped iconic Absa Towers Main. Its fully pedestrianized walkways integrate it fully into the Maboneng Precinct. Eight massive murals by local artists adorn the walls of each of the eight buildings comprising Jewel City.
Take a hike in the heart of Joburg in the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve and heritage site. It is the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg’s ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886. The vegetation of the Koppies is entirely indigenous and is a remarkable of the richness of Highveld grasses, flowers and trees so close to a city centre.
Or visit Joburg’s most pristine natural environment, The Wilds Nature Reserve, a 40-acre assemblage of indigenous vegetation, serene water ponds, a fountain, and fetching art installations is a certified tourism allure.
Looking for an urban adventure with a difference? Then make a stop at Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers. Elegant and classy, this is where every visitor enjoys a unique and personal experience of Soweto. Lebo’s hosts day visitors, as well as overnight guests out to enjoy vibrant township experiences that include walks, quad biking, bicycle tours, indigenous cuisine tasting and luxury sleepovers.
Johannesburg has 17 nature reserves and 12 river systems running through it. The city offers a broad range of outdoor activities in its glorious summer climate. These range from golfing on some of the country’s best greens, to canoeing and kayaking on breathtaking dams, strolling, cycling or jogging through one of the City’s gorgeous botanical gardens or parks. www.cityparksandzoo.com
Nature lovers can take a hike through the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, which offers safe, secure and gorgeous 20km hiking trails on an expanse of 700 hectares of bushveld, which features diverse terrain and a selection of game. Here you can book to take a mini safari, where you can spot zebra, red hartebeest and black wildebeest. It’s also highly rated as a birding spot, home to over 200 species. www.klipriviersberg.org.za
Take the Mandela Footsteps tour, which gives the visitor a glimpse into Nelson Mandela’s life – an international icon who came to be known for spending 27 years as a political prisoner, only to become the first democratically elected President of South Africa, once released. You get to visit some of the places that formed a significant part of Mandela’s life in Johannesburg. Spend time at the Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, a renowned heritage site, where he and some of the African National Congress’ stalwarts met to plan and execute the emancipation of South Africa from the oppression of apartheid rule. The route makes a stop at Apartheid Museum, which illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid, Constitution Hill, a jail that housed Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela and now is home to the Constitutional Court and a celebrated South African art collection. The tour makes its way past various notable landmarks in Soweto, before ending in Vilakazi Street. www.getyourguide.com
Similar to New York, Joburg is a city which has evolved culturally from the migrant populations who call it home. This rich infusion of cultures is reflected in the city’s endless variety of restaurants and their equally diverse menus. Almost every culture in the world is represented in Johannesburg’s dishes.
Joburg’s culinary tradition does the city proud with its global cuisine on offer in award-winning restaurants. The city’s eateries range from vibey pavement cafés to elegant restaurants where the country’s leading chefs cater to the tastes of refined palates – a veritable United Nations of options ranging from an ethnic fare, street and fast food to fine dining. Taste a fusion of international and African flavours – from urban delicacies to world-famous classics.
With high-end malls, shopping centres, vintage, thrift, antique shops and markets galore, Joburg is a shoppers paradise. From the Mall Of Africa, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City to the renowned Oriental Plaza and everything in between – there’s something for everyone! Look out for holiday season bargains and the new year sidewalk sales.