Take a Hop-on, Hop-off Tour of Johannesburg – Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Located between the city centre of Johannesburg and the sprawling township of Soweto, Gold Reef City is an edutainment venue like no other. Visitors can take a stroll through a replica historic mining village, descend into an underground mine, and watch a gold bar being poured. The theme park features loads of exciting rides, some of which are definitely not for the faint-hearted. Other features of Gold Reef City are its casino, the Lyric Theatre, and The Town Square, a summertime venue for local bands.

As its name suggests, the Apartheid Museum presents the harsh realities of the apartheid era, while detailing the progress made since then, and offering hope for the future of the ‘rainbow nation’. The Mining District Walk makes its way past the corporate offices of some of the world’s biggest mining companies, but the real points of interest are the sculptures and monuments on the pavements along the way. These include the Leaping Impala donated by the Oppenheimer family to the city of Johannesburg in 1960, as well as the headgear from one of the country’s platinum mines. The museum in the Standard Bank head office building features an actual mine shaft which was discovered when the building was constructed in the 1980s.

Treasured as Johannesburg’s arts and culture zone, Newtown is a vibrant destination with numerous theatres and museums. Named in honor of the city’s first woman city councilor who was elected in 1915, despite the fact that women didn’t even have the vote at that time, the Mary Fitzgerald Square is a large paved area frequently used for festivals and concerts. Some of the highlights of Newtown include Museum Africa, incorporating the Bensusan Museum of Photography, the Market Theatre, Kippies Jazz Club, the Workers Museum, the SAB World of Beer and the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre.

World famous for its archeological discoveries, Wits University uses hi-tech multimedia to detail the ancient history of southern Africa at its Origins Centre. An intricate wire sculpture at the entrance of the center illustrates how mankind migrated from Africa to other continents, and visitors can view a host of exhibitions relating to this fascinating topic.

With its most famous landmark being the Nelson Mandela Bridge off Juta Street, Braamfontein is one of the trendy spots in Johannesburg. Saturdays feature the Neighbourgoods Market at the corner of Juta and De Beer Streets, with organic foods, micro-brewed beers and arts and crafts galore.

Constitution Hill is the last stop on the City Sightseeing route before heading back to the Gautrain Park Station. Here visitors can view historic buildings, many of which were once prisons, as well as the Constitutional Court building incorporating part of the historic Number 4 Prison which once held those who struggled against apartheid.

While being the heart of South Africa’s economy, Johannesburg is also steeped in history, culture and a whole lot of fun. So, go ahead, catch the bus, explore and enjoy!