Johannesburg is the pulsating heart of South Africa’s industrial and commercial life. Here, more than a mile below the city traffic, miners still dig for the world’s most precious metal; gold.
As the economic powerhouse of Africa, Jozi (as it is affectionately known) is a great multi-cultural melting pot of people from all over the continent. It is a cosmopolitan, colourful and bustling city – and well worth a visit.
Johannesburg is not known for its natural beauty. However, this is a little unfair as the prosperous northern suburbs are full of beautiful jacaranda and oak trees. Furthermore, Johannesburg has the most trees per square hectare of any capital city in the world. The best Johannesburg hotels are in these northern suburbs.
There is certainly plenty to interest the visitor with botanical gardens, museums, theatres and art galleries. Johannesburg is also known for its world-class design in gold and diamond jewellery, ethnic fashion, and contemporary art galleries.
There is a great selection of hotels. Choose either contemporary buildings adjacent to the major shopping areas of Sandton. Or other more intimate options set in established gardens with oodles of character.
There are also plenty of tours and excursions on offer (see highlights below). Go on a tour focusing on Johannesburg’s public and private art collection. Or take a cycling tour through the township of Soweto. Contact your Cedarberg consultant for a quote.
Highlights of Johannesburg
- Tours of Soweto, by vehicle or by bike
- Apartheid Museum – must see!
- Johannesburg Art Tours
- Excellent shopping for artworks, diamonds and ethnic curios
- Herbert Baker architecture of the established suburbs
- Contemporary African Art Galleries
- Constitution Hill with its dramatic recent history
If you are arriving in Johannesburg in the late afternoon and flying out the following morning, consider staying at one of the airport hotels. Jozi traffic is something to avoid if possible! Alternatively you can take the super quick and efficient 15 minute Gautrain service from the airport to Sandton and your hotel will collect you from there.
Pretoria can be used as an alternative overnight stay to Johanesburg. Often overshadowed by Johannesburg, few people know that Pretoria is actually South Africa’s capital. Pretoria is justly famous for its Jacaranda trees and so the best time to visit is in the spring (October/November) when the whole city is purple with blossom.
From Pretoria, it’s easy to visit nearby Magaliesberg or the Cradle of Humankind world heritage site. Take a tour to a working diamond mine or see some of the historical sights of the city.
Highlights of Pretoria
- Botanical Gardens
- Historical tours of Pretoria including the Voortrekker monument, Jan Smuts House, Church Square
- Union Buildings
- Voortrekker Monument
Magaliesberg & Cradle of Humankind
The beautiful hills of Magaliesberg lie only an hour’s drive from Johannesburg. In this lovely rolling countryside lie a number of attractions. Thus it makes a great countryside alternative to Johannesburg. Especially if you want to relax for a couple of nights at the end of your South African safari.
Visit the Cradle of Humanity World Heritage site or enjoy an early morning hot air balloon ride over the hills. The Elephant Sanctuary allows you to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures . Furthermore, the Magaliesberg Canopy Tour offers a great eco-adventure.
Highlights of Magaliesberg
- Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site
- Sterkfontein Caves
- Maropeng Interactive Centre
- Hot Air Ballooning
- Elephant Sanctuary
- Magaliesberg Treetop Canopy adventure
- Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Rehabilitation centre