Which are the 'must see' places in and around Johannesburg? What things are good to do as day trips or weekend breaks?
I am travelling to South Africa this summer to do some voluntary work. I will probably have a weekend or two free in the middle of my placement and will have a few days at the end, although I may extend it to a week or so. What are the best places to see in around Johannesburg, in particular things that can be done as a day trip?
Johannesburg amongst the black tribes is known as Egoli - place/city of gold. It had its beginnings as a 19th century gold rush town. Today it's the largest African city south of the Sahara.
The Newton Cultural Precinct is place to go for music, dance, art and museums. If you love shopping Sandton City is a shoppers paradise. For precious gems go to the Diamond Cutting / Jewel City close by.
Key sights in the city are the Apartheids Museum, Constitutional Hill and Gold Reef City. About a 40 minute drive from Johannesburg is the "Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site" with its array of fascinating fossils. Close by is also a Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve.
About 2 hours from Johannesburg in the North West province is another great attraction - Sun City. The "designer/builder" of this huge complex is South African, Sol Kerzner, who also designed Atlantis in the Bahamas and Atlantis in Dubai. Sun City is set against the rugged backdrop of the Pilanesburg Mountains. You can enjoy a guided wildlife safari in Pilanesberg Game Reserve, a 10-minute drive from Sun City and one of South Africa's largest national parks, it covers an area of 55,000 hectares and is home to the Big 5.
O yeah, another great visit is the Letsedi Cultural Village, about 45 minutes from Johannesburg. It explores the traditional folklore of the Zulu, Ndebele, Sotho, Pedi and Xhosa. You'll get the opportunity to see a dance show and taste some traditional dishes.
How does that sound?
Thanks for all the info! Sounds fantastic - I'll definitely look up some more details on some of these places.
Within Johanesburg I'd say go to Sandton Mall, that's huge and has great shopping and attractions.
Check out Gold Reef City, a pretty nice theme park with some great rides. I'd also have a look at the waterfront, and definitely go to Monte Casino, a superb tuscan themed casino and restaurant complex.
I'd also recomend Zoo lake and the Restaurant there. The name escapes me, but Zoo lake is lovely during summer. Also I recommend the Country club if you can get in.
Finally, I agree with Fundi regarding Sun City. Go to Pilansberg national park and stay at Kwa Maritane. It's an amazing game lodge, ten minutes drive from the superb golf course and casino of Sun City and incredible Lost City. It's an amazing place, and totally worth the two hour drive.
I can definitely recommend Constitutional Hill. There are free guided tours in the court house which give you an insight in South African history and how the court came about. Really interesting.
Gold Reef City is just next to the Apartheid Museum. A bit odd to have a theme park right next door, but it's good to get your mind off things. It's nothing special though.
The restaurant in Zoo Lake is called Moyo. Good food and drinks. It's a great place to chill with friends. You'll probably end up staying hours on end in the large and comfy sofa's, though I'm not sure if they still have them outside as they're getting into winter now. There's also a store under the balcony which sells African artefacts.