Johannesburg in 4 stops

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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

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a 20-minute drive away, contains a well-curated collection of oral testimonies, pictures, audiovisual displays and historical documents covering the seminal event.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.

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

Johannesburg in 4 stops was last modified: September 15th, 2015 by Brett Ackroyd
Author: Brett Ackroyd (1167 posts)

Brett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to momondo.com.