Our top sights, highlights and exclusive tips
Also referred to as Joburg or Jozi by locals, Johannesburg is the second largest city in Africa. Getting its start as a gold mining town, Johannesburg attracted people from all around the world to settle here and try to make their fortune. This has had the wonderful effect of creating a diverse mix of cultures from across Africa and around the world that call this bustling metropolis home. It is precisely this colourful, cultural diversity that makes the city so attractive to travellers. Whether you're visiting the cradle of human civilisation, located nearby, exploring the many markets or museums, or going on a culinary excursion or attending a show, your options are seemingly endless.
Hector Pieterson Museum
Featuring dozens of public artworks scattered about the neighbourhood, from landmark murals to wonderful sculptures, this ‘place of light’ as the name means in Sesotho, is a top destination in Johannesburg. Maboneng has earned a well-deserved name as a centre of creative energy here. Offering a mix of unique restaurants, cafes, markets and art galleries, a visit to this inner-city precinct is sure to delight and entrance all travellers to Johannesburg.
Constitution Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy. While the buildings of Constitution Hill show some of the horrors of the darkest hours of the 20th century in South Africa, they also paint an optimistic future as this is also the site of South Africa’s constitutional court. The complex of Constitution Hill has four different parts: The Ancient Fort, the Women's Prison, the infamous Prison Block No. 4, and the new court. Daily tours are available to give the visitor a touching and educational look into South Africa’s past. Visits to the court chamber and even attending court hearings are also possible.
Soweto is arguably the most famous and, in the past, the most notorious city in South Africa. It began as a cluster of townships near Johannesburg and was, from the start, a product of segregationist planning (Soweto stands for South Western Townships). Soweto is now a bustling centre of creativity, restaurants, culture and music, with exciting activities on offer around the clock. Most, however, come to visit the places of tremendous historical significance that can be found here. These include the home of former President Nelson Mandela as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Hector Pieterson Museum.
The Apartheid Museum shows visitors the rise and fall of the South African era of segregation and oppression. It uses a variety of media to give a moving insight into the architecture and implementation of the apartheid system and to inspire thoughts about the struggle for democracy. It is an invaluable institution to help understand the inequalities and tensions that still exist today in South Africa.
The Hector Pieterson Museum offers insights into the origins of the Soweto uprisings and their consequences. The museum was named after one of the first schoolchildren killed by the police during the 1976 Soweto uprising. Personal testimonies and videos are used well, and numerous informative texts detail the causes and aftermath of the riots - a must-visit when in Johannesburg.
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