Johannesburg is the South Africa’s largest urban space, and the economic center of sub-Saharan Africa. Famous for its diamonds, Johannesburg is a jewel of a city with its colonial architecture, and you can spend days visiting its art galleries and museums. You can also go for many short tours to check out various Johannesburg attractions like Victoria Falls, Pilanesberg National Park and much more.
But here’s the catch.
The city is not perfect and used to have a really high rate of crime which was a massive concern for travelers. However, security has improved a lot in the recent years, and the city is seeing a huge footfall of travelers from all over the world. The history and the vibrant culture of this city make it a must visit destination for your vacation in South Africa.
You can learn all about approximate budget and costs in South Africa in our extensive travel guide to this country. In our Johannesburg travel guide, we’ll talk about some of the best places to stay and the best activities to check out while you’re here in this city.
Best Places to Stay in Johannesburg
Located within a kilometer of the Johannesburg Zoo, Four Seasons Hotel – The Westcliff is one of the best five-star properties of Johannesburg. The elegant rooms, comfortable stay and above all, the nearby Johannesburg attractions make this hotel one of the most sought after accommodation option in this city.
If you want a slightly different type of accommodation experience in Johannesburg without compromising on the luxury, then The View Boutique Hotel should be your choice of stay. This hotel is actually an old colonial house which has been renovated and turned into a luxury accommodation option. The beautiful gardens, pool and the chance of experiencing al fresco dining make staying at this hotel worthwhile.
Situated a bit far from the heart of the city, the Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa offers you a serene stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. The elegant rooms of this hospitable and luxurious hotels incorporate African art. Guests here Sandton is a great choice for travelers interested in sightseeing, shopping for clothes and restaurants while staying in a relaxing and peaceful environment.
Top Activities in Johannesburg
Learn about the Tragic History of Apartheid:
The history of racially segregated Africa is still a recent past. Visit the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, to get a true feeling of those horrific times. Your ticket will come in a white or a non-white version, dictating which entrance you will be allowed to use. A collection of photographs, artifacts, newspaper clippings and multimedia presentations will unfold the horrific story in front of your eyes. It is one of the Johannesburg attractions which is considered to be a must visit in almost every travel guide.
Head to the Maboneng Precinct
The Maboneng Precinct is an area which is known for its art, delicious food and a really creative atmosphere. Have some lip-smacking cutting-edge food while you are here. You can also catch an indie flick at The Bioscope, or head to the Common Ground to watch some open-air concert.
Pay respect at the Madela House
The former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela used to live in this house before he got arrested in 1961. The house has been turned into a museum now. You can see a lot of memorabilia from that time when you visit here.
Go for a tour of Cullinan Diamond Mine
Johannesburg is famous for its diamond. The Cullinan Diamond Mine situated near this city is the oldest diamond pipe in the whole world. In 1905, the largest uncut gem-worthy diamond was found right here in this mine. Taking a tour to this diamond mine is a must when you visit Johannesburg. You can also buy a custom made diamond jewelry from here, if you’re so inclined.
Visit the Cradle of Humankind
Situated at a distance of about 90 minutes’ drive from Johannesburg City Centre, The Cradle of Humankind region is a paleontology site spread over 47,000 acres. This site was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1999 by UNESCO. This vast archeological site is home to around 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils. Visit the limestone caves where all these fossils were discovered. If you are an archeology admirer, then you should not miss the chance of visiting this Johannesburg attractions when you’re here.