Johannesburg - Itinerary culture

Johannesburg in 4 stops

Jam-packed with galleries, theatres, museums and historic sites, Joburg is South Africa’s cultural hub. You’d need more than a week to sample it all – which means it’s difficult to know where to start! Mixing parts of South Africa’s tumultuous history with some of Johannesburg’s most iconic and emotive locations, this itinerary makes a great introduction to the Rainbow Nation.

NB: This itinerary requires a lot of travel by car. We advise hiring a taxi from one the city’s licensed firms. (Our featured image is by Mister-E)

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Stop 1: It’s no good trying to soak up culture on an empty stomach. Enjoy a hearty breakfast at Espressos Café (Shop 23, 4th Avenue, Parkhurst +27 11 447 8700) in the affluent northern suburb of Park Town.


Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg. Photo by jvc


Stop 2: The Apartheid Museum (Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Road, Johannesburg) is a 30-minute drive away from Park Town. Though racial segregation existed in South Africa long before, Apartheid has shaped South Africa more than any other thing. The emotionally charged exhibits in this museum chart the factors that led to its establishment, and the dramatic struggles of the majority to overthrow it.


Hector Pieterson Memorial Site, Johannesburg

Hector Pieterson Memorial Site, Johannesburg. Photo by rapidtravelchai


Stop 3: One of the most significant milestones on that long road to the freedom was the Soweto uprising of 1976. The museum at the Hector Pieterson Memorial (8287 Khumalo Street, Orlando West, Soweto, +27 11 536 2253), a 20-minute drive away, contains a well-curated collection of oral testimonies, pictures, audiovisual displays and historical documents covering the seminal event.


Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, South Africa

Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. Photo by Derek Keats


Stop 4: After all that heavy history, you’ll probably want to unwind a little. The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens (Olifants Road, Emmarentia, Johannesburg, 2195, +27 11 782 7064) a 30-minute drive away in Emmarentia Dam, is the perfect place. Especially if you’ve picked up some lunch on the way. If you’re here during the summer, you might catch one of their Summer Sunset Concerts later in the day.

Like this? Read Cape Town in 6 stops: what culture vultures need to see

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Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

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