What to See and Do in Johannesburg
Collected by Nina Dietzel , AFAR Ambassador
In October, 2012, the second AFAR Experiences event brought 43 people to Johannesburg for a four-day immersion into the city. Here are some of our favorite spots in this fantastic, vibrant city.
R400, Mogale, 1911, South Africa
This is one of the richest paleontology sites in the world. These sites team with scientists uncovering hominid fossils aged as old as 2 million years. It's incredible to stand, watch, and reflect as our ancient ancestors are being unearthed....
R347, Muldersdrift, 1739, South Africa
I was here in winter (July) when things were not so green (as you can see), but it was still a delightful place to relax and enjoy a sunny afternoon. Nirox runs a artists in residence program as well as displays sculptures from a featured artist...
7 George Ave, Rivonia, Sandton, 2128, South Africa
Nestled in the suburb of Rivonia, Liliesleaf once served as the headquarters of the ANC and a safe house for leaders like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, and Denis Goldberg, who met here to strategize under the common goal of...
Stormill, Randburg, South Africa
Nothing more than this rusted and lightly colored sign, along with a non-imposing stone wall, marks one of the most important sites in the history of South Africa. This facade is the entrance to what is now George Harrison Park, a plot of land...
Vilakazi St, Orlando West, Soweto, 1804, South Africa
Vilakazi is perhaps the most famous street in Soweto—or all of Johannesburg, for that matter. It’s the only street in the world to have produced two Nobel Prize winners—His Excellency Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and The Most...
Orlando West, Soweto, 1804, South Africa
Wedged between the houses of Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, Sakhumzi's is a restaurant started out of the childhoom home of Sakhumzi himself. Located on Vilakazi St in the country's wealthiest township, Sakhumzi started the restaurant in 2001...
8287 Khumalo Rd, Orlando West, Johannesburg, 1804, South Africa
Well-designed and full of fascinating information, the Hector Pieterson Museum details the charged events surrounding June 16, 1976, when high school students staged a peaceful march against the use of Afrikaans as the main language in black...
116 Greenway, Greenside, Johannesburg, 2193, South Africa
There are several shops in the trendy Parkhurst neighborhood that caught my eye. We were there with Jo'burg trend spotter Craig Jacobs who showed us the way. Essential Life was the first place we stopped. Here is a description from their website:...
Jellicoe Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
In recent years, Johannesburg has become a haven for contemporary artists working in South Africa. Rosebank, the neighborhood next to the affluent suburb of Sandton, even features a Miami-esque Design District with galleries, restaurants, and...
Forest Town, Johannesburg, 2193, South Africa
Designed by Herbert Baker, a British architect who did work all over the world but probably best known for his work in South Afica, including the Union Buildings in Pretoria and St. John's College in Joburg (most surprisingly, he worked with...
44 Stanley Ave, Milpark, Johannesburg, 2092, South Africa
One of the best ideas to ever come my way is the notion of the Breakfast Duo from Salvation Café at 44 Stanley. It's meant to be for those people who can't choose between all the awesome options available to them on the menu. Like me. So...
Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd, Ormonde, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
Opened in 2001, the Apartheid Museum powerfully—and extensively—documents the rise and fall of racial segregation in South Africa. Constructed on a 16-acre plot of land, the museum features a unique design—as you head through the...
Yale Road &, Enoch Sontonga Ave, Johannesburg, 2050, South Africa
Housed in Johannesburg’s historically significant University of Witwatersrand, the Origins Center details the history of humankind through displays, artwork, and more. Touring the interactive exhibits, either with a guide or a headset, will...
Wits Art Museum Cnr Jorissen and, Bertha St, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
An amazingly curated museum, the Wits Art Museum, fondly referred to as WAM, hosts a stunning collection of contemporary and traditional African art. It's located in a bright and airy space and feels relatively undiscovered. My favorite piece was...
264 Fox St &, Berea Rd, Maboneng, Johannesburg, 2094, South Africa
A collection of art galleries, artists’ studios, restaurants, and shops, Arts on Main functions as a hub for Johannesburg’s creative community, bringing people together to share ideas, beverages, and one another’s company. Every...
17 4th Ave, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, 2198, South Africa
The tony suburb of Houghton, whose best-known resident was Nelson Mandela, is home to leafy lanes lined with stately estates. Not too far from the Mandela family manse is the Residence, a stylish boutique property that lives up to its name,...
70 Juta St, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
Breakfasts are little godsends after a big night out, and Post at 70 Juta Street in Braamfontein is just the place to revitalise after a big night out and before working on your weekend party habits again. The Big Bomber is a drink combination of...
Westgate, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
Nelson Mandela was best man at their wedding in 1944. Walter went on to be a leader of the ANC and the anti-apartheid movement. Ma Sisulu was a leader in her own right, starting with her arrest and two month stint in solitary confinement in 1963....
Fashion District, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
A modest three-story building in the Ferreirasdorp area of Johannesburg, Chancellor House once contained the first black law firm in South Africa, opened by Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo at the height of apartheid. It was here that the two...
11 Kotze St, Johannesburg, 2017, South Africa
A living museum in the heart of Johannesburg, Constitution Hill was built on the 100-acre site of a century-old prison complex, where the leaders of every major South African liberation group—from Nelson Mandela to Mahatma Gandhi—were...
Fashion District, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
Cool little park in the heart of the CBD. Originally the home of the Impala Stampede sculpture that is now on the Main Street pedestrian mall, and donated by the founder of Anglo American and De Beers. The park struggled In the CBD's down years,...
Scibono Discovery Centre, Miriam Makeba Street, corner of President Street, Newtown, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
On the western edge of downtown Johannesburg, a neighborhood named Newtown has emerged as the city’s cultural heart. Once a gritty industrial center, Newtown is now a gathering place for South African writers, artists, and musicians. Begin your...
73 Juta St, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa
This semi-outdoor market on Juta Street in Joburg's Braamfontein neighbourhood is fun fun fun. Eat oysters from Namibia, drink craft beer from South Africa, and devour paella, gelato, cheeses, chocolate...a food lover's paradise! Open on...
Ferreiras Dorp, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
This Impala Stampede sculpture was originally donated by the Oppenheimer. It was vandalized many years ago at its original location in Oppenheimer Park, but has been repaired and moved to this spot on Main Street, a beautiful pedestrian mall,...
138 Lilian Ngoyi St, Newtown, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
Meet the other Prince – a jewelry designer who has his workshop at the Unity Gallery, inside the Bus Factory. Prince makes rings, bracelets, necklaces and pendants out of ...silverware. We had a good laugh when I told him I wouldn't let him...
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