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Johannesburg Culture & history

Our most recommended Johannesburg Culture & history

Jo'berg in 1 Day: Soweto, Apartheid Museum & City Tour

1. Jo'berg in 1 Day: Soweto, Apartheid Museum & City Tour

After collecting you from your hotel or residence in Johannesburg, your guide will give you a quick pre departure tour briefing before departing to Soweto (South Western Township). On your way to Soweto you pass by the National Football Stadium City, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Cup 2010. You enter the Diepkloof area, where you will take a walk past vendors selling just about anything. In Orlando West you visit Vilakazi Street - drive past the former home of Nelson Mandela and past the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. You will have an opportunity to read about the Soweto uprising on 16 June 1976. On that tragic day an innocent little boy called Hector Pieterson gave up his life and kick-started the liberation of South Africa. During this tour you will pass by the Mandela House. A visit into the museum is optional. You continue your tour driving into one of the shanty towns where you get to interact with some of the locals. By now you will have seen the good, the bad and the ugly facets of Soweto. You drive past the Soweto Campus of the Johannesburg University and end your tour with a stop at the largest hospital in the world: Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. After Lunch on your own account, you will arrive at the world famous Apartheid Museum. Here you will learn about the history and struggle of South Africa during apartheid. Once you are done with the Apartheid Museum, you head into Johannesburg City and start with the view of the impressive 269 metre Telkom Tower, as seen on many postcards of Johannesburg. You then enter the inspiring Constitution Hill – and Court (when not in session) Political activists like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were once held here. During a tour inside you will learn about some of the legal history of Johannesburg. On your way to Newtown you pass by the longest southern African bridge, named Nelson Mandela bridge. At Mary Fitzgerald Square you can walk on the Jazz Walk of Fame. In short, this tour offers you a unique Johannesburg experience at an affordable rate.

Soweto: Walking Tour with a Local Guide and Lunch

2. Soweto: Walking Tour with a Local Guide and Lunch

Discover the history of Soweto, where political icons lived during Apartheid, fighting against the regime. Explore the everyday life, meet the locals, taste local cuisine and get an authentic experience with a Sowetan native guide. Start at the Hector Pietersen Museum and hear about the Soweto uprising that transpired in 1976, which was one the turning point of Apartheid. Be introduced to the famous house of Nelson Mandela in Vilakazi Street, built in 1945, where he lived until he was imprisoned for 27 years. Have a conversation about Arch bishop Desmond Tutu in the famous street in Vilakazi Street. Continue through Orlando East, the first formal settlement of Soweto and Orlando Stadium, Soweto football giants, the Orlando Pirate and ride a minibus taxi to the last stop at the Orlando Towers. Listen to the many personal stories about the family's generations, how apartheid had an impact in each and everyone of them and how Soweto has changed today. Enjoy a traditional, local lunch of Kota (Local burger) or Braii (Barbecue).

Cradle of Humankind and Sterkfontein Caves Half-Day Tour

3. Cradle of Humankind and Sterkfontein Caves Half-Day Tour

After collecting you from your hotel or residence in Johannesburg or Pretoria, your local guide will give you a quick pre-departure tour briefing before departing to the Cradle of Humankind. You will enjoy a guided tour in the Sterkfontein caves, recently made famous in the discovery of the Homo Neledi Fossils and a number of other significant fossils and artifacts. After visiting the Sterkfontein caves, your guide will take you on a short drive to the Maropeng Visitors center for a wonderful journey through the development of the human race. Enjoy a relaxing indoor boat ride and experience the interactive museum artifacts and displays.

Johannesburg and Soweto Apartheid Full Day Tour

4. Johannesburg and Soweto Apartheid Full Day Tour

Take a comprehensive tour of Johannesburg, Soweto, and the Apartheid Museum (opened from Wednesday - Sunday). Pass important landmarks and learn about the country's difficult history of Apartheid. Be picked up from your hotel for a full-day tour of Johannesburg, the Apartheid Museum, and Soweto. Begin your explorations in the heart of bustling Johannesburg, the third-largest city in Africa. Pass landmark buildings and structures such as the Hillbrow Tower, one of the tallest towers in Africa, the sky-scraping Ponte City, Sentech and Carlton Centre Towers, and the multimillion-rand Nelson Mandela Bridge. Once a prison and military fort, visit the Constitutional Hill Museum and learn about South Africa's journey to democracy. Be humbled as you hear and see the struggles South Africa endured during its societal transitional phases such as the Apartheid. Leaving the hustle and bustle of central Johannesburg behind, the tour will proceed to historical Soweto, an iconic South African township that experienced many student uprisings and much police brutality during the apartheid era. Visit the Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial, and see the house of Nelson Mandela. After an interesting and thought-provoking day head back to your hotel on a comfortable air-conditioned bus. 

Johannesburg: Half-Day Apartheid Museum Tour

5. Johannesburg: Half-Day Apartheid Museum Tour

Explore the rise and fall of the apartheid at the Apartheid Museum, the first of its kind, in Johannesburg. Embark on an emotional 3-hour journey with a guide, and hear the sad story of a state-sanctioned system based on racial discrimination and the struggle of the majority to overthrow this tyranny. After pickup from your hotel in Johannesburg, make your way with your guide to the Apartheid Museum. Once you've entered the museum, discover a series of 22 individual exhibition areas assembled and organized by a multi-disciplinary team of curators, filmmakers, historians, and designers.  Learn about the policy of apartheid, implemented in 1948 by the white elected National Party government, which turned 20 million people into second class citizens, damning them to a life of servitude, humiliation, and abuse. See provocative film footage, photographs, text panels, and artifacts illustrating the events and human stories of apartheid. Bring your dramatic journey to an end with the election of Nelson Mandela, the prisoner you became president, in 1994. The liberation of the nation and people of South Africa from apartheid is the climax of a tale of resistance, courage, and fortitude. It is not uncommon for 3 hours in the museum to feel too short. The local partner's guides will try to adjust the schedule to your liking if this is the case for you. After your museum visit, the tour concludes with drop-off back at your hotel in Johannesburg.

Cradle of Humankind: Shared Half-Day Tour

6. Cradle of Humankind: Shared Half-Day Tour

Experience the Cradle of Humankind on a half-day tour from Johannesburg. Have the unique opportunity to learn about stones and bones and wine and dine in tranquil surroundings in this region in South Africa, which is approximately 90 minutes' drive from the Johannesburg city Centre. Explore the world’s richest hominin site and home to 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils as well as an area home to a diversity of birds, animals and plants, some of these are rare or endangered. Explore the caves on site including Sterfontein Caves where the 2.3 million year old fossil “Mrs Ples” was uncovered in 1947. Visit Maropeng Visitors Center, an exhibition full of fossils, tools and everything millions of years old. Back in Johannesburg, experience Sandton a well-known area in Gauteng and a main business hub. Sandton is known to be a wealthy and influential area where many of Johannesburg's top business men and women work, live and play. 

Private Cradle of Human Kind + Lesedi Cultural Village Tour

7. Private Cradle of Human Kind + Lesedi Cultural Village Tour

Depart from your accommodation in Johannesburg and begin your tour, which is full of history and culture. Drive through the suburbs of Johannesburg North, heading to the Cradle of Human Kind. Your tour guide will answer any questions you may have about the destination you are heading to. Legend has it that African ancestors lived here for 3 million years and that it is the birthplace of Humanity. Explore the Sterkfontein Caves and the Maropeng Visitor Center to learn more about why this place is called the Cradle of Human Kind. See different fossils and discover a lot of information about the birthplace of humankind. Continue on to the Lesedi Cultural Village to learn about the different cultures of South Africa and how they shape the modern lifestyles. African culture is very rich and the Lesedi Cultural Village provides the perfect opportunity to explore the rainbow nation of diverse cultures. Wrap up the day with a famous African dance that will be a wonderful end to your tour. After Lesedi, the driver will bring you back to your accommodation. 

From Johannesburg: Pretoria, Soweto & Apartheid Museum Tour

8. From Johannesburg: Pretoria, Soweto & Apartheid Museum Tour

Start your historical day tour ready to know what transpired back in those days and how it has shaped the current dynamic Rainbow nation. Head to Pretoria just over 30 kilometers from Johannesburg making your way to the first stop, the Voortrekker Museum, where you'll get to know the history of the Afrikaaners people of South Africa. Learn more about the monument and why it was built the way it is. From there, you'll drive through the beautiful town of Pretoria, also known as Tswane. Visit the Union Building, which currently houses the president of South Africa and get a splendid view of Pretoria and find a perfect place to take photos. Continue onto Soweto, where you will get to see the 1976 Youth Uprising by visiting the famous Hector Peterson Museum and also visit the house of the South African apartheid hero Nelson Mandela on Vilakazi Street. The Nelson Mandela House has been set up to reflect its original setting from the the time he left prison. Afterwards, head to the Apartheid Museum, where you will get the fine print of what actually transpired during those apartheid days and conclude your tour by passing through Johannesburg as you head back to your hotel.

Soweto: Full Day Tour

9. Soweto: Full Day Tour

Starting in Kliptown, one of Soweto´s oldest districts, see the Soccer City Stadium also known as The Calabash. This stadium is located in Nasrec, bordering the Soweto area of Johannesburg, and was one of the many venues constructed for the World Cup in 2010. It has a capacity of just under 95,000 people, and was the location for the final of the tournament. Today, it hosts many concerts by major international artists, as well as many other sporting events. Next, visit the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, situated in Orlando West. This site commemorates the role of the country’s students in the struggle against apartheid and in particular the role played by the school children who took part in the Soweto Uprising of 1976.  Explore Vilakazi Street, in the heart of Soweto. The street is is where Nelson Mandela spent the first couple of nights of freedom upon his release after 27 years of imprisonment. You will walk by this residence and pass by the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. As such, Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world that can boast having had two Nobel Laureates as residents. After this, enjoy a traditional kota lunch, followed by a visit to the Apartheid Museum (if full day option selected), illustrating the history of South Africa´s struggle for change and freedom in the 20th century.

Johannesburg, Soweto and Apartheid Museum Day Tour

10. Johannesburg, Soweto and Apartheid Museum Day Tour

Johannesburg, Soweto and the Apartheid Museum are the perfect destinations for learning about the City of Gold. Start the day by visiting key landmarks in Johannesburg city, starting with Constitutional Hill where you will learn about apartheid prisoners. Then, head deep into the city, driving through the tall buildings, most of them built during the gold rush period. The next stop will be Top of Africa where you can see the city from above and take photos. The Apartheid Museum tour is the next stop as you dig deeper into the dark apartheid history of South Africa. This will be a 3-hour tour of the museum before heading into Soweto township. On arrival, you visit Mandela House Museum and get a 30-minute guided tour into his former house before he was sent to prison. The Hector Pieterson Museum will give you some inspiration on the language resistance uprising of 1976. Next, will be a quick drive to the Regina Mundi Church to discover the importance during the apartheid era. Finally, drive by Orlando Towers and the World Cup Stadium to finish the tour.

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Frequently asked questions about Johannesburg

What are the best day trips and excursions from Johannesburg?

The best day trips and excursions from Johannesburg are:

Apartheid Museum

Other Sightseeing Options in Johannesburg

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What people are saying about Johannesburg

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 247 reviews

Pascal was a very knowledgeable and friendly guide, while being extremely professional . He really helped us navigate the Apartheid museum, taking us through the most important topics and explaining much of the symbolism. We also got a sense of the different areas of Johannesburg and how they’ve evolved over time. We also enjoyed the time in Soweto and learning about its history. Lunch at the African buffet was great and bustling with locals. It also allowed us to spend time with Pascal and learn about his fascinating personal story, which was a great insight into the local culture and society.

The tour company was extremely flexible with rebooking and scheduling conflicts. We were able to change dates and join the guide an hour late without any issues. The guide himself was very knowledgeable and managed the time on the tour well.

Great tour although we didn't get to go to the apartheid museum as it was closed and the tour of the city of joburg that was to replace it didn't happen (altho that was fine - we were tired). I thought it was a bit expensive.

Safe and genuine experience in Soweto with our informative guide who made sure that we had a great time!

Tebogo was AMAZING today! Would Recommend to anyone coming to Joburg!! Shub shub!