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Things to do in Johannesburg

Best attractions to visit in Johannesburg

1. Lion Park Johannesburg - Johannesburg

Lion Park Johannesburg

The Lion Park is a wildlife conservation park in the Lanseria neighborhood of Johannesburg. Based on 500 acres of conservation enclosure, the Lion Park is home to various species of large herbivores and predators indigenous to Africa. It houses more than 80 species of lions and carnivores, such as Cape wild dog, South African cheetah, black backed jackal, spotted hyena, and various species of antelope. The antelope area also consists of other animals including zebras, gemsboks, impalas, gnus, and blesboks, and is separated from the carnivore and predator section to provide protection. The Lion Park is one of the top places to visit in South Africa, and famous celebrities like Shakira and footballers like Philip Lahm and others have visited the attraction during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The park is close to the Lensaria Airport and Johannesburg, and is open throughout the year from 8:30am to 9pm. The guided tours are definitely a must if you are looking for an informative yet entertaining way to discover the lions and other carnivores indigenous to Africa. Guided tours are available in buses as well as all wheel drive vehicles, depending on your preference. Acclaimed for its conservation practices, the Lion Park should definitely be on your checklist if you want to enjoy a wildlife safari experience like no other.

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2. Apartheid Museum - Johannesburg

Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum in South Africa is dedicated to illustrate the apartheid and history of the country during the 20th century. The museum complex was made open to the public in 2001 and is owned by Gold Reef City Casino. Despite being owned by the licensed casino chain, the Apartheid Museum is a section 21 company which is a not for profit organization. The complex relies on sponsorships, donations, and contributions to sustain growth. The Apartheid Museum’s name was trademarked in 1990 and since 2001; it has been a popular tourist destination in the country, not just for foreigners but for locals as well. The museum offers an insightful look into over 100 years of apartheid in South Africa that tore the nation apart and serves as a reminder of how its people stood together for change. The exhibition is beautifully designed, appreciating the culture and heritage of the nation while offering a comprehensive overview of possibly the most appalling system in the world. Once you enter the museum, you will be shown selected exhibitions, but you can always complete the exhibitions on your own if you are taking self guided tours. The Apartheid Museum is a must visit for anyone who stands for equality and justice!

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3. Johannesburg Zoo - Johannesburg

Johannesburg Zoo

The Johannesburg Zoo is a 135-acre zoo in the largest city of South Africa that is dedicated to accommodating, enriching, and providing medical care to wild animals while housing nearly 320 species and 2000 individuals. The Johannesburg Zoo is operated by the Johannesburg City Council and is registered as a not for profit Section 21 company. The zoo opened its gates in 1904 and has been praised widely by wildlife conservation experts for its breeding programs. The Johannesburg Zoo is open throughout the year, even in public holidays from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Tours, exhibitions, and other excursions are available from the education department of the zoo. Individuals and families are also encouraged to engage in night tours, sleepovers, and overnight camping, making it one of the most unique zoos in the world that breaks the traditional barrier between a ‘zoo’ and a ‘nature reserve’. The Johannesburg Zoo is huge but despite that, the administration and staff do a commendable job in keeping the cages clean and the animals happy by replicating their natural habitat. Taking a walk in the zoo feels like exploring the jungle. Dining, lodging, and other facilities can be easily availed from the entrance!

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4. Montecasino - Johannesburg

Montecasino

Montecasino is a casino and leisure complex that is inspired by Italian architecture and built by Creative Kingdom Inc, the American giants in commercial estate. The Montecasino is one of the top places to visit in Johannesburg, attracting more than 9.3 million visitors on a yearly basis. It opened its doors in 200 and since then, the complex has headlined the tourism and gambling scene of South Africa. Montecasino is meticulously inspired by the ancient villages of Tuscany. In fact, the casino building has its own fake sky that is painted on the roof, causing a light to dark contrast from side to side. While accommodation inside the Montecasino is only reserved for the VIPs, guests can always find affordable and luxury accommodation in Sandtown where the complex is located. The Palazzo Montecasino is the closest accommodation near the casino complex, also paying homage the ancient Tuscan villages. The Teatro is one of the largest lyric theatres in the world that opened in 2007 and can accommodate up to 1,870 people. It is home to some of the biggest musical productions to hit the continent. The Pivot is a multipurpose complex within Montecasino, offering hotel, retail, and office space. Overall, the award winning Montecasino is worth visiting if you want to get a hands-on experience of the dynamic casino scene of Johannesburg.

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5. Cradle of Human kind - Johannesburg

Cradle of Human kind

The Cradle of Human kind is a UNESCO World Heritage Site nearly 50 kilometers from Johannesburg to the northwest. The 131,000-acre site features excavation sites, caves with primate fossils, and diverse wildlife, making it one of the top tourist destinations in the continent. In 2005, Thabo Mbeki, then South African President, opened the gates for Maropeng Visitors’ Centre at the Cradle of Humankind. Since then, the site has attracted tourists, archaeologists, geologists, and scientists from all parts of the world. The Cradle of Humankind houses some of the most invaluable and eye opening tours about the history of mankind and how we began to evolve as a species. The Maropeng Centre lets you conveniently take different tours from the history and remains of Paleolithic times in the museum to exploring some of the oldest sites where humans lived. Cradle of Humankind became a designated World Heritage Site in 1999, and the opening of the Maropeng Centre has provided a family friendly multipurpose facility. The Maropeng Centre is open throughout the week from 9am to 5pm. The whole experience is not only educational, but also engaging and entertaining with boat rides, authentic cuisines at the restaurant, and so many opportunities for exploration at the Steinfontein caves.

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6. Constitution Hill Johannesburg - Johannesburg

Constitution Hill Johannesburg

The Constitution Hill is located in Johannesburg near the west end of HIllbrow in Braamfontein. It is currently the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Constitution Hill is actually more than a century old and used to be a prison from as early as 1892 until it became the seat for the High Court. It is one of the most famous landmarks in South Africa and has a complex history. Exhibitions on local history and guided tours are readily available online and from the entrance of the site. The place serves as a reminder of the sad history of South Africa and how the nation vowed for change that it deservedly got. The tour of Constitution Hill starts with a look at the history of the apartheid in South Africa and by the time you reach the end, you can explore the court building. What’s unique about Constitution Hill is that it summarizes the worst, followed by the best in South Africa’s history, culture, and heritage. If you are taking a guided tour, make sure that you watch the orientation movie to learn more about Constitution Hill’s role in the apartheid and what it stands for today!

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7. SAB World of Beer - Johannesburg

SAB World of Beer

SAB World of Beer is a museum located in the lively suburbs of Newtown in Johannesburg. It pays homage to beer and explores its history with engaging, immersive, and entertaining audio visuals and guided tours. The museum is a popular tourist destination attracting more than 50,000 tourists annually. It uncovers the role beer has played socially, culturally, and economically in South Africa and why it continues to be part of the heritage. SAB World of Beer is open throughout the week from 10am to 6pm, offering the last tour at 5pm on weekdays and 4pm on weekends. Various tours are available in the SAB World of Beer, and the best way to start is with the Kitsch Tour that explores the history of beer production from the Ancient Egyptian times to the Middle Ages when African people tasted beer for the first time and big events in the beer industry in the past century. The highlight of the process is where they show the process of beer production at the end of the tour. Regardless of what tour you take, you will be given a drink halfway through and two more after completion, all included with the admission price!

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8. Museum Africa Johannesburg - Johannesburg

Museum Africa Johannesburg

Museum Africa is a social, cultural, and historical museum in the Newtown suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. Established in 1933 as the Africana Museum, it is one of the oldest museums in the country. The museum has one of the biggest collections of material and cultural history of African heritage. Following the fall of the apartheid in 1994, the museum was renovated and officially renamed as Museum Africa. The museum is nestled in the site of the popular farmers’ market that was built in 1913 opposite to the Mary Fitzgerald Square. The museum is in the same block as Market Theatre in the lively suburbs of Newtown where accommodation, dining, and nightlife destinations are easily accessible. The museum has various tours that explore the rich history of the country and the indigenous people of the continent. The Sounds of the City is an exhibition that explores the history of the Marabi music and dance, to the township jazz with immersive audio visual tours. The Tried for Treason is another popular fixture that covers the events that led to a 4-year trial of 156 people indicted for opposing the apartheid which included Nelson Mandela. Various other exhibitions and museums are also available which make the Museum Africa a place worth visiting as there’s something interesting here for everyone!

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9. Gold Reef City - Johannesburg

Gold Reef City

Good Reef City is one of the most popular places to visit in Johannesburg. The amusement park is located on the site of a gold mine that closed in 1971. The architecture and the staff at Gold Reef City exhibit the gold rush period, making this amusement park a totally different world once you step in. The amusement park also features a dedicated museum where you can discover the history of gold mining in the region. Gold Reef City is home to some of the best attractions in the country, including adrenaline-pumping rollercoaster and high rise water rides. The park is also home to the Hippodrome, a multipurpose auditorium where you can watch live shows from resident and traveling live acts, including the Idols South Africa. Gold Reef Park is conveniently located in the Central Business District of Johannesburg and is the site of the famous Apartheid Museum as well. Hotels, restaurants, lodging, and other facilities are located close by the park. In terms of entertainment, you won’t find a better place than Gold Reef City in the country. The Tower of Terror is one the scariest and equally fun rollercoaster rides in the world. The park also boasts a 4D movie cinema where you can watch 2 movies at one time!

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