Johannesburg is very much a city that has lived to tell the tale: and it offers a very happy ending. The vibrant heart of South Africa suffered almost 20 years of decline but it has now got its eyes firmly on a future that looks bright. Its centre has been transformed: the cultural districts of Newtown and Braamfontein offer theatres, swanky bars, inviting restaurants, charming cafes and many museums. The inner city may have been once a tourist no-go zone but today is one of the city’s many calling cards for visitors. Take a stroll around Maboneng, on the eastern fringes of the inner city, to witness a hip, urban neighbourhood that will seduce any doubter and win them over to Jozi’s charms.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Johannesburg
Maboneng – With its self-proclaimed origins in art, Maboneng, to the east of the inner city, is a collaborative hub of culture, business and lifestyle that offers retail stores, galleries, entertainment venues and restaurants that are all infused with an infectious hipster vibe.
The Inner City – With Maboneng as its undoubted triumph the rest of the inner city has used culture and art as the cornerstone of its redevelopment. The city’s cultural precinct can be found at in the Market Theatre area. A lively mix of cosmopolitan, Indian, Ethiopian, Somali and Francophone African districts ensure the cuisine is always varied, the sounds always different and the entertainment endlessly changing. You can take it all in from Africa’s tallest building, the Top of Africa, before you plunge headfirst into the wonderful galleries, restaurants and nightlife.
Soweto – Take a township tour around the densely populated but vibrant streets of Soweto to gain an insight into the disparities that continue to define South Africa. Here you can also visit Mandela’s first house, now an informative museum, and the Apartheid Museum, which offers a very moving trip through South Africa's turbulent past and present.
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve – A short drive south from the city and you arrive in another place altogether. This is one of Gauteng’s premier ecotourism destinations. Here you can hike through the fauna and flora of the Rocky Highveld Grassland biome. Vast tracts of unspoiled natural environment offer mountain ranges, hiking trails and a refreshing break from city life.
Things to See in Johannesburg
Take a city tour to experience the buzz of Johannesburg’s renovation. Make sure you take in many of its stunning galleries and the historic sights of Constitution Hill and the enthralling MuseuMAfricA. If you have a head for heights enjoy the views from Africa’s tallest building, the Top of Africa. For an introduction of the cultures that make up the city you can visit the Lesedi Cultural Village, where exhibitions, traditional dances and local cuisines can all be enjoyed in recreations of authentic Zulu, Sotho, Pedi, Xhosa and Ndebele villages.
Things to Do in JohannesburgEnjoy the fantastic restaurants and the many music and theatre performances that take place nightly in artistic areas such as Newtown, Braamfontein and Maboneng. For a fun way to find out about how Johannesburg first developed visit the Gold Reef City amusement park for thrilling rides, period costumes, exciting exhibitions and a better understanding of gold rush history. Get down to Sun City to discover an entertainment oasis, where sports, gambling, water parks, golf courses and live shows all compete for your attention. Book a tour to enjoy more natural sights and experiences on a safari to Pilanesberg National Park. Here you can spy the big game on the reserve before heading back to Jozi for an equally thrilling night out in the city.
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