Things to do in
Johannesburg

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Our most recommended things to do in Johannesburg

Johannesburg and Soweto: Half Day Tour

1. Johannesburg and Soweto: Half Day Tour

Depart from your hotel, heading to the south west township of Johannesburg. Take a route through the Johannesburg south suburbs and see the sleek cars and spacious freeways. Next, discover Johannesburg city with its tall buildings, most of them built during the apartheid era, while you make your way to Soweto. Watch the beautiful scenery disappear as you enter Soweto. Pass through two iconic landmarks that used to generate power in the township of Soweto and are now normally used for bungee jumping. Drive through Soweto heading to the famous Hector Pieterson Museum with its dark history about the youth uprising in 1976. From here, drive through the township for sightseeing, and finally head to Mandela House Museum on Vilakazi Street. In the museum you will learn about the father of the nation, Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, who became a world icon. Finally, hop on back to the tour vehicle returning to your hotel. On route, you will pass through FNB stadium also known as Soccer City or The Calabash, which hosted the opening and closing matches of the 2010 World Cup finals.  

1 or 2 Day Johannesburg Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour

2. 1 or 2 Day Johannesburg Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour

Discover the top 20 attractions in Johannesburg with a 1 or 2 day ticket for the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. Described as the New York of Africa, take your time exploring the exciting city. On board, you will learn about the history of Johannesburg from the prerecorded audio commentary in 15 languages. Ride the double-decker bus through the city's historic neighborhoods and fascinating attractions, many related to the struggle against apartheid. See the world's biggest man-made forest and learn about why Johannesburg should never have been built where it was. Get on and off as much as you like. Two of the 20th century’s most famous liberation heroes started their legal careers and then their political careers in Johannesburg; Mahatma Gandhi with the Passive Resistance (Satyagraha) movement, and Nelson Mandela with the Defiance Campaign. Trace some of their footsteps between Chancellor House and Gandhi Square in the city center. Join the tour at Rosebank and travel through the city's leafy suburbs to Constitution Hill. Change here to the downtown route for a first hand visit of authentic inner-city Johannesburg. All of the tour stops are safely located and staffed as necessary to ensure you will have a great time in the city.  Hop-on hop-off stops: Green Tour:  1. Rosebank  2. Zoo Lake 3. Johannesburg Zoo 4. Military Museum  5. Constitution Hill Red City Tour: 1. Constitution Hill 2. Mining District 3. Carlton Centre (for the Roof of Africa viewing deck) 4. James Hall Transport Museum  5.  Gold Reef City Casino Hotel (join the Soweto extension tour here) 6. Apartheid Museum  7. New Town 8. Origins Centre at Wits University 9. Neighborhoods Market (Saturdays only) Free Hotel Shuttle bus collection times: Sandton: The Holiday Inn: 08:45 & 10:15 The Maslow: 08:53 & 10:23 The Sandton Hilton: 08:57 & 10:27 The Radison Blue Gautrain: 09:04 & 10:33 Sandton Convention Center: 09:09 & 10:38 Da Vinci Hotel: 9:12 & 10:41

Pilanesberg Nature Reserve Full-Day Safari from Johannesburg

3. Pilanesberg Nature Reserve Full-Day Safari from Johannesburg

Visit Pilanesberg Game Reserve on a full-day safari from Johannesburg. More than 7000 animals roam freely through Pilanesberg, and the park is home to all of the big five game animals (elephants, rhinos, leopards, buffalos and lions). You may encounter zebras, giraffes, cheetahs, hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, jackals, wild cats, various antelopes, as well as over 300 species of bird. On your tour you will enjoy 2 extensive game drives, conducted by an experienced tour guide. After collecting you from your hotel or residence in Johannesburg between 6:00 AM and 6:30 AM, you will travel to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Upon arrival, your guide will take you on an exciting 2.5-hour morning safari in search of animals that inhabit the park.  During the heat of the day, you will enjoy lunch at one of the many rest camps in the Game Reserve. After lunch, you will depart on another 2.5-hour afternoon safari drive in an open vehicle. Ask your knowledgeable guide any questions you might have about the animals and the natural environment. You will leave Pilanesberg between 3:00 PM and 3:30 PM in order to arrive back in Johannesburg before sunset, where you will be dropped off at your hotel.

Johannesburg, Soweto and Apartheid Museum Day Tour

4. Johannesburg, Soweto and Apartheid Museum Day Tour

Johannesburg, Soweto and the Apartheid Museum are the perfect destinations for learning about the City of Gold. Start the day by visiting key landmarks in Johannesburg city, starting with Constitutional Hill where you will learn about apartheid prisoners. Then, head deep into the city, driving through the tall buildings, most of them built during the gold rush period. The next stop will be Top of Africa where you can see the city from above and take photos. The Apartheid Museum tour is the next stop as you dig deeper into the dark apartheid history of South Africa. This will be a 3-hour tour of the museum before heading into Soweto township. On arrival, you visit Mandela House Museum and get a 30-minute guided tour into his former house before he was sent to prison. The Hector Pieterson Museum will give you some inspiration on the language resistance uprising of 1976. Next, will be a quick drive to the Regina Mundi Church to discover the importance during the apartheid era. Finally, drive by Orlando Towers and the World Cup Stadium to finish the tour.

Johannesburg Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket and Soweto Tour

5. Johannesburg Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket and Soweto Tour

See the sights of Johannesburg at your own pace with a 1 or 2-day ticket for the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour. Then, take a 2-hour eco tour of the township of Soweto, described as the “New York of Africa.” Take in the sights of the city where Mandela once lived and Mahatma Gandhi started his legal career. Learn the history of Johannesburg from the audio commentary in English once on board the double decker sightseeing bus. Ride through the city's historic neighborhoods and see fascinating attractions, many related to the struggle against apartheid. Get on and off as much as you like. Hear about 2 of the 20th century’s most famous liberation heroes in the city where they started their legal and political careers. Follow in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi and his Passive Resistance (Satyagraha) Movement, and Nelson Mandela with his Defiance Campaign. Hop-On and Hop-Off Bus Route: Green Tour:  1. Rosebank: @The Zone Mall, next to “Hamleys”  2. Zoo Lake 3. Johannesburg Zoo 4. Military Museum  5. Constitution Hill Red City Tour: 5. Constitution Hill 10. Mining District 11. Carlton Center for the “Roof of Africa” viewing deck 12. James Hall Transport Museum  13. Gold Reef City Casino Hotel – join the Soweto Eco tour here 14. Apartheid Museum  15. New Town 16. Origins Center at Wits University  17. Neighborhoods Market (Saturdays only) Soweto Eco Tour: Reconnect with Nelson Mandela's past, and get an understanding of where he started his fight against apartheid at his family home in Soweto. Now a museum, Mandela House follows the story of the legendary leader in the small rooms where his family lived. The single-story matchbox house is located at number 8115, on the corner of Vilakazi and Ngakane streets. A short distance up the road is Tutu House, the home of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Encounter the eclectic atmosphere of the markets and memorabilia stands, as well as various eateries like the Mandela Family Restaurant. Enjoy drinks on restaurant balconies or at tables dotted along the sidewalks. Soweto is home to thousands of South Africans and the site of some of the most iconic events in the nation’s history. Get a fascinating look into kasi living, and hear the history of South Africa’s freedom struggle. Stop at Soccer City on the outskirts of Soweto before going to Diep Kloof. Discover the renowned Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, the largest hospital in the world in 1997. Go to Orlando Towers to see the site of the world’s highest Suspended Catch Air Device (SCAD) Freefall. Enjoy a drink or some braised meat at the Chaf Pozi shisa nyama and shebeen. Drive past Orlando Stadium, the 1st ever sports facility built for black South Africans in a residential area. Then, go to the Hector Pietersen Memorial in Orlando West to discover a work of art that marks the events of 16 June 1976, a catalyst for the Soweto Uprising. End your Soweto tour at the Kliptown Open Air Museum in Walter Sisulu Square, where 3,000 people gathered in 1955 to adopt the Freedom Charter. See the 10 tenets on which the South African Constitution is based. Another popular landmark, just a few meters from the museum is the 4-star Soweto Hotel.

From Johannesburg: Pilanesberg National Park Safari

6. From Johannesburg: Pilanesberg National Park Safari

Enjoy a convenient pickup from your Johannesburg accommodation or directly from O.R. Tambo International Airport and make your way to the North West Province. Travel in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle and learn interesting facts from your knowledgeable guide on your drive.  Once you arrive at the Pilanesberg National Park, keep a lookout for Africa's Big Five along with the abundance of wildlife that calls this park home. Spot giraffes, wildebeest, elephants, impala, and many other animals. Learn about the fauna and flora from your guide and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the African bush.  Your wildlife safari concludes after around four or five hours in the park, after which you'll travel back to Johannesburg and end your day back at your accommodation or O.R. Tambo International Airport. 

Soweto: Guided Bicycle Tour with Lunch

7. Soweto: Guided Bicycle Tour with Lunch

Embark on a fun and unique tour experience as you explore the urban complex of Soweto on a bicycle. Get to experience the township like a local. Get a glimpse of Hector Pietersen Museum, Mandela House and Tutu House. Start your cycling tour in Killarney, an up-and-coming tourist destination in Soweto. Learn how this township was created in 1904 and share the history of these neighborhoods. Ride to Mzimhlophe and visit Mzimhlophe Women's hostel. Continue to Mama Lilian Ngoyi's house, an anti-apartheid activist. Cycle to Hector Pietersen Museum where the Soweto uprising transpired which was one of the turning points of apartheid. This tour will get you closer to all the highlights of Soweto. See the Mandela House, where Nelson Mandela lived from 1946 to 1962. Imbibe a slice of authentic history on the world's most famous former prisoner. Then, pass by Tutu House on Vilakazi Street, where Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his family once resided. Talk about the Nobel Laureate's contribution to apartheid's downfall in South Africa. Give your feet a break by stopping for lunch. Taste South African sandwiches called kota before cycling back to the starting point.

Johannesburg: Soweto Half-Day Tour

8. Johannesburg: Soweto Half-Day Tour

After being collected from your hotel or residence in Johannesburg, your guide will give you a quick pre-departure tour briefing, before you depart for Soweto (South Western Township). On your way to Soweto, you will pass by the National Football Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Cup 2010. You will then enter the Diepkloof area, where you will take a walk past vendors selling just about anything. In Orlando West you will then visit Vilakazi Street, where you will drive past the former home of Nelson Mandela, and past the current home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. You will also have the opportunity to read about the Soweto uprising that occurred on the 16th of June 1976. On that tragic day an innocent little boy called Hector Pieterson gave up his life and kick-started the liberation of South Africa. During this Soweto tour you will pass by the Mandela House, giving you an opportunity to take photos of the father of Africa’s residence. A visit into the museum is also optional (at an extra cost and payable on arrival). You will continue your Soweto tour driving into one of the shanty towns where you will get to interact with some of the locals. By now you will have seen the good, the bad and the ugly facets of Soweto. You will then drive past the Soweto Campus of the Johannesburg University, and end your tour with a view of the largest hospital in the world: the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

From Johannesburg: Cradle of Humankind Tour

9. From Johannesburg: Cradle of Humankind Tour

Discover the birthplace of humanity and see the place where our collective umbilical cord lies buried on a day tour to the Cradle of Humankind. Start your morning with a convenient hotel pickup and head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site located just outside of Johannesburg, the Cradle of Humankind. Begin your sightseeing adventure with a tour of the Sterkfontein Exhibition Center and Caves. Follow your guide as you explore the exhibition above ground before heading deep into the caves. Learn about the fascinating history behind this archeological site and the discoveries that have been made here, some dating back more than four million years. Next, head to the Maropeng Visitor Center to see the award-winning, world-class exhibition focused on the development of humans and our ancestors. Take a journey through time and learn about the evolutionary processes that worked together to create the world as we know it today.

Johannesburg : City Centre Walking Tour

10. Johannesburg : City Centre Walking Tour

Walkthrough Johannesburg and feel the hustle and bustle of the people, lifestyle and culture of the city. Visit Nelson Mandela's Law firm and get a 360 degree view of the city at the Top of Africa, in the Carlton Centre. Start at Museum Africa, in Newtown, then move on to the Workers Museum, the last surviving municipal compound for African men in Johannesburg. Continue to Chancellor House, where Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo set up South Africa’s first black-owned law firm. Go to Main Street, which has some of the best old buildings in the city. Main Street will lead you to Gandhi Square, a busy urban hub of commercial and retail activity. From there, move on to the Top of Africa, inside the tallest skyscraper on the continent. After Carlton, take local transport to Maboneng, an arts neighborhood, for a Braii lunch (vegan, vegetarian friendly).

Frequently asked questions about Johannesburg

What top attractions are a must-see in Johannesburg?

Planning Your Visit

  • When to go?

    In terms of the weather there is not really a best time to visit Johannesburg. Daytime temperatures are fairly warm all year round, with the high altitude keeping summers from getting too hot. The South African winter is between May and August, and if you plan to take safari then the lack of foliage at this time makes it considerably easier to spot lions!

  • How safe is it?

    Johannesburg is not as dangerous as you might think. Crime is nowhere near the level it once was and you'll immediately notice cars stopping at red lights all over the place without being stolen! Like any city, crime is still an issue but tends to be particularly high around certain areas. Avoid Yeoville, Berea, Hillbrow, and Alexandra if you can, and opt for taxis over public transport, which is quite chaotic.

  • Where to stay?

    Johannesburg is a city of suburbs, so don't expect a hotel in the center to be your best bet. Consider booking a guesthouse in Melville, Sandton, or Rosebank. For contrast, Soweto is the city's largest township. Although it's still quite poor, it's one of the friendliest, liveliest parts of the city. The downside to that is it can be hard to get any sleep!

Good to know

  • Language
    Afrikaans and English
  • Currency
    South African Rand (ZAR)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+02:00)
  • Country Code
    +27
  • Best time to visit
    Warm temperatures can be enjoyed all year round, but if you are visiting for safari, plan to come between May and August when foliage is at a minimum and big game sightings are easier!

Other Sightseeing Options in Johannesburg

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What people are saying about Johannesburg

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,639 reviews

I bought the wrong ticket - it's not that clear on the phone which trip is which I think or maybe I was in a hurry. The 2-day ticket was actually great - should I have been aware that it was a 2-day ticket, I would have taken advantage of that value and planned everything out in detail. The tour itself was nice - just super fast. I think it's worth mentioning to other buyers. In fact, I suggest making people aware of the 2-day pass and actually informing them that Soweto needs to be done as a separate trip altogether. We had people who wanted to chill in Soweto, but unfortunately, I had a flight to Cape Town that evening and they were a little too afraid to stay a bit longer without a local person. I was also not aware that time was going to fly by that fast. Again, please recommend the 2-day pass for Soweto on your website.

We had an amazing time on our tour! Jason was so knowledgeable and ensured that we got the most out of our day. Lion's Park was gorgeous and we were able to safely get up close to lions, cheetahs, and African wild dogs. The Sterkfontein caves were really cool and Jason organized the tour well, so that we followed the caves with Maropeng and got more history/background on the amazing fossils and humanoids that have been found there. We would highly recommend both this tour and Jason!

it was an amazing tour with brief explanation of history and coutry sovereignty by Nelson mandela. i enjoyed alot my time and i had refreshing break time also during my tour. Thank you african eagle.

Tebogo is a young guide that is very professional, speaks clearly and all details of historical and cultural backgrounds. I loved it mainly because of the inspirational tour given by Tebogo.

Very interesting place to visit and very well prepared and knowledgeable guide. Not very wheelchair friendly though...