What to do and see in Johannesburg, South Africa: The Best Places and Tips

October 9, 2017 Janette Largent

Johannesburg is the place to go to mix big-city culture, shopping, dining and nightlife with outdoor adventures, up-close wildlife encounters and visits to historical sites. Explore caves and nature reserves, or visit a traditional village by day, then enjoy dinner at a hip cafe or five-star restaurant. And if you're a shopper, bring an extra, empty suitcase. With malls, open-air markets and places that blend the two, you'll find plenty of unique souvenirs.
Restaurants in Johannesburg

1. Lindfield Victorian House Museum

72 Richmond Avenue | Entrance Greenlands Road, Johannesburg 2092, South Africa +27 11 726 2932
Excellent
79%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 119 reviews

Lindfield Victorian House Museum

(Open by appointment only.) The stories that lived (and still live) within the walls of the Lindfield Victorian House Museum tell a tale of Johannesburg during an era that, more than any other, shaped urban Johannesburg as we know it today. A tale of the day-to-day family life and fashion trends, masters and servants, elegance, high culture, high teas, social etiquette and intellectual achievements. The spirit of this amazing era lives on in the museum and visitors not only learn its cultural history, but also experience the ambiance of a bygone world.

Reviewed By ColetteDee - Roodepoort, South Africa

When gold was discovered in Johannesburg, people from all over Europe came here to try and find their fortune. The wives, homesick for their countries of birth, recreated their cultures in their homes. Katherine, the host, dressed as a chambermaid, has a wealth of knowledge and treasures from the Victorian age - late 1800's, which blows the mind. What a truly remarkable experience! Every surface, every part of the house has an historical object to amaze and educate you. Authentically furnished and decorated rooms give you insight into the way people used to live, and the nursery/playroom is a creepy delight, with dolls and toys and a mind boggling dolls house with miniature... everything (!) from the era. Wow! Katherine has lived in the house for 50 years and has no help due to the fragility of all the treasures, hence the dust, but it adds to the character of the place. She worries about what would happen to this heritage site when she is too old to care for it and we truly hope some organization will identify it as worthy of a trust to preserve it for future generations. It needs to remain a museum, as it gives a rare insight into a part of history we don't know much about these days. Step into a forgotten and fascinating era. A worthwhile visit!

2. Apartheid Museum

Northern Parkway | Ormonde, Johannesburg, South Africa +27 11 309 4700
Excellent
65%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 5 reviews

Apartheid Museum

This museum is architecturally interesting and packed with thoughtful, often brutal, reminders of South Africa’s history.

Reviewed By jwkeebs - Lansdale, Pennsylvania

I knew a little bit about Apartheid before visiting the museum, but there was so much I did not know. This museum does a great job of detailing the history and explaining the atrocities. I loved learning more about Nelson Mandela-- what a remarkable human being. This was a sobering experience as we visited the museum after an amazing vacation in South Africa, and just before leaving and getting on a plane back home to the USA. The museum is thoughtfully organized, and there is a lot to read. I am grateful I got a chance to visit this museum.

3. Constitution Hill

Constitutional Court | Constitution Hill Human Rights Precinct, Johannesburg 2001, South Africa +27 11 381 3100
Excellent
59%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Constitution Hill

Nowhere can the story of South Africa's turbulent past and its extraordinary transition to democracy be told as it is at Constitution Hill. Constitution Hill is a national heritage site situated in the Johannesburg CBD and is home to the Constitutional Court of South Africa- the highest court in the country on constitutional matters. Once a place of injustice and brutality, where South Africa's leading political activists, including Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, were detained, the site has been transformed into a place of solidarity and democracy, home to the Women's Gaol museum, Number Four Museum, and Old Fort Museum. Apart from its engaging and gripping Exhibitions, Constitution Hill is also open to the public for guided tours and has become an important platform for Heritage, Education, and Tourism related programmes. The vast variety of programmes hosted at Constitution Hill enable us to embrace current issues, celebrate days of national significance, address matters of public interest and create a forum for public debate. With its rich history and character Constitution Hill boasts of ideal platforms to educate and learn about South Africa's story. ConHill, as it is famously known, also offers a variety of multi-purpose venues, suitable for conferencing, Performances, a large array of events and for public activities and programmes.

Reviewed By Chong A

Constitution Hill was a prison rebuilt to be a Court. We were shown the hardship of inmates and the cruelty they were subjected and the cramped conditions the lived in. It was somewhat sickening to learn about this piece of history. This visit is part...MoreDear Chong A, Thank you for visiting and for sharing your experience. We hope you will continue to share with friends and family about the site. Best regards

Johannesburg 2196, South Africa +27 11 759 7217
Excellent
64%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 4 reviews

Gautrain

Gautrain is Africa’s first world-class, modern rapid rail and bus service for Gauteng, a province regarded as the economic heartland of South Africa.

Reviewed By Kashi P - Greater Johannesburg, South Africa

One of the most convenient forms of transport within the north. Safe, clean and well organised. Same style as the London Overground. Been taking it for years. Occasionally experiences cable theft but after all, this is South Africa. Train saved me many a nerve bypassing traffic for work or flying to the airport.

5. Neighbourgoods Market

73 Juta Street, Johannesburg 2001, South Africa +27 81 416 2605
Excellent
61%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 268 reviews

Neighbourgoods Market

Reviewed By Nix_Mpt - Maputo, Mozambique

What a great way to spend a Saturday - was spoiled for choice with the different food offerings and cuisines - do bring hunger!
Many stalls offering a variety, with most of them with POS facilities.
Parking may be an issue and of course Seating once inside.
The rooftop is lovely with a DJ, and additional bars, provides a chilled ambience.
Would definitely return...often!

6. Satyagraha House

15 Pine Road, Johannesburg 2192, South Africa +27 82 673 5671
Excellent
72%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 138 reviews

Satyagraha House

Reviewed By Gilda18 - Sandton,South Africa

Gandhi had a profound influence in South Africa and a visit to his home in the suburbs is uplifting. Quiet serenity pervades the establishment which has well displayed historical photos and lots of information. There is usually someone around to tell you more. Beautifully maintained under the management of Edna Oberholzer, this place is worth a visit, a stay over and good vegetarian meals.

7. Arts on Main

Fox St, Johannesburg | Cnr Berea Rd, Johannesburg 2094, South Africa +27 11 334 1054
Excellent
51%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 256 reviews

Arts on Main

Reviewed By Nicola K - Johannesburg, South Africa

Arts on Main is a great art space to visit, especially on a Saturday morning to visit the food market, and for the fascinating special events at the Centre for the Less Good Idea. The Maboneng area has many great arts attractions in general, well worth spending a morning, or even a day exploring the area. Keep your possessions close.

8. Monte casino bird park

1 Monte Casino Blvd | Parking: what3words ///points.profile.sardine, Johannesburg, South Africa +27 11 511 1864
Excellent
49%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 533 reviews

Monte casino bird park

Reviewed By Margot P - Coffs Harbour, Australia

Really impressed the way birds and animals are kept. Great selection of African and Birds from around the world. Also snake and frog/gecko house, exotic chameleons and monitors, lemurs etc etc..
Reasonably priced, has cafe and playground.
The bird show at 11am is worth stopping for, especially if with young children

9. South African National Museum of Military History

20 Erlswold Way | Saxonwold, Johannesburg 2132, South Africa +27 11 646 5513
Excellent
53%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 341 reviews

South African National Museum of Military History

This large museum contains mostly military-related records, journals, weapons and photographs that depict the nation’s participation in large-scale conflicts.

Reviewed By 1966Edmund - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

The “War Museum” is a wonderful collection of militaria. It is one of the best museums of its kind. The collection of aircraft of Axis and Allied origin is very good, with the only surviving ME 262 in night fighter configuration. (Source from the museum.).
The collection of Armour and artillery is quite amazing. As is the collection of rifles and assault weapons.
The C47 Dakota (ex SAAF) is a stately old lady. I was quite disappointed to note that the external maintenance of the grand dame was lacking and the exhibit would improve significantly if the maintenance was done.
It’s a wonderful experience and well worth the R40 rand entrance fee per adult or R30 per child.

10. South Western Townships

Soweto, Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa 0027-11-463-3306-0027-72-075-3883
Excellent
55%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 864 reviews

South Western Townships

Reviewed By Myrna G - Boston, Massachusetts, Usa

I was surprised to see how varied the living conditions are for Soweto's 4 million residents. There are some millionaires in beautiful homes, middle class people in nice homes, and people living without indoor plumbing in informal settlements. I was impressed by resilience and vitality of the community.

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