If it hadn’t been for the Witwatersrand gold rush in 1886, Johannesburg wouldn’t exist in the way it does today. One of the biggest goldrush’s recorded caused migration of over 100’000 people in one year. Today, most South African banks and companies have their head office in Johannesburg. Why you should visit the city will be explained in the following article.
The Apartheid Museum is one of the must-visit places in Johannesburg. It opened in 2001 and is a good way of learning about the countries past. It is a huge exhibition, and some guides even recommend going twice to take it all in. By handing out random tickets that classify visitors as black or white, the mood is set in a playful way for the rest of the visit.
Soweto, short for South Western Township, used to be a black only zone during the time of apartheid and was established at the beginning of the 20th century. Around 1.3 million people live there today, making it the largest township in South Africa. It gained international reputation for hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup final match as well as the closing ceremony. It is advisory to take a guided tour to see all the important sites, you should not miss out on the memorial site of Hector Pieterson and Vilakazi street. Bring a good appetite ass well, in Soweto you will find the best and most authentic South African cuisine.
The Cradle of Humankind is also situated near Johannesburg. A forty-minute drive will take you to the place where science believes humankind begun. Close to it are the Sterkfontein Caves, also worth visiting, as they take you 40m below earth.
If you have energy for another day trip, visit Pilanesberg National Park. About 2.5 hours away from Johannesburg situated in an extinct volcano crater the park offers a wide variety of wildlife including the big five, giraffes, zebras, and antelopes.
Pretoria is even closer to Johannesburg and the administrative capital of South Africa. The city is very different to Johannesburg, filled with beautiful gardens and parks and offers a completely different experience. Don’t forget to visit the National Botanic Garden and Freedom Park.