Things to do in Johannesburg

Vacationers will find there are a variety of things to do in Johannesburg from historical museums and wildlife attractions to parks and gambling casinos. Travelers on a South Africa vacation often arrive in this city, as it's home to the country's largest international airport, but in addition to being a transportation hub, it is also an excellent vacation destination, with plenty of hotels and attractions to satisfy.


Several Johannesburg attractions include local museums where visitors can learn about South Africa's history through paintings, photographs, and tours. Constitution Hill Museum houses the Old Fort prison, where the cells are now an interactive audiovisual look at the history of the prison through artifacts, photographs, and prisoners' accounts of the conditions. Museum Africa focuses on the history and culture of the city through a large collection of artifacts, photos, and paintings. Permanent displays depict lifestyles in South Africa, including the arrival of the first white settlers and historical information on the 1956 treason trial of Nelson Mandela. Of all the available things to do in Johannesburg, the Apartheid museum is one of the most powerful as it shows through numerous exhibits a time in South Africa's history that was filled unrest and imprisonment for those who fought for change. 


One of the many fun things to do in Johannesburg is visit the local casinos, and visitors will find plenty of options. Gold Reef is located in the southwestern area of the city and open 24 hours a day. The casino offers blackjack, poker, roulette, and 1,600 slot machines. There are an additional three casinos—Barney's, Saratoga, and Market Gardens—where smoking is allowed. There is also the Club Egoli Salon Prive, an exclusive area catering to high rollers. Montecasino is located in the northwest area of the city and offers gaming tables for blackjack, poker, and baccarat, as well as 1,700 slot machines. The Montecasino Bird Garden is part of the casino that is a popular family attraction.

Botanical Gardens

Johannesburg Attractions abound for those who enjoy the outdoors, wildlife, and the night sky, and one of the best activities in Johannesburg is strolling through the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens. The gardens are set near the Witpoortjie waterfall, where picnics and bird watching are popular pastimes. Guided tours through the nature reserve and wetland are available, and throughout the year, the gardens host weekend concerts, so no matter when you go to South Africa, you're almost certain to find a fun event here.


Two Johannesburg attractions where visitors can observe a variety of wildlife are at the Lion Park and Johannesburg Zoo. Lion Park has more than 80 lions, cheetahs, antelope, hyenas, and jackals in residence and provides visitors with close views of the predators. A feeding area for giraffes and a petting area for cubs allow direct interaction with the wildlife. The Johannesburg Zoo offers a day of adventure for observing more than 300 species from the local Big Five game animals to rare white lions and polar bears.


The Johannesburg Planetarium, located on the campus of Wits University, is one of the most interesting educational things to do in Johannesburg, where you get up-close views of the South African sky through special projectors. Visitors interested the city's museums and those traveling with children are sure to find a trip to the planetarium to be an excellent activity on any vacation.


There are several unusual activities in Johannesburg that can have vacationers relaxing, observing, or racing around a track, and it's worth considering this type of attraction if you want to ensure that your trip to South Africa is a unique one. One of the fun things to do in Johannesburg is go-kart racing, where you will put on a safety helmet and protective clothing and test your driving skills as you race around the track in front of a cheering crowd.

Top of Africa

If you're looking to get your bearings in the city or just get a good look at the surrounding area, a fun thing to do in Johannesburg is visit the Top of Africa at the Carleton Centre. On the 50th floor, the observation deck has panoramic views of the surrounding area. Inside the center, more interesting activities in Johannesburg await as the center houses a rooftop café, shopping venues, and cinemas.

Emmarentia Dam

This destination is well worth considering if you're looking to fit some peace and quiet into your trip to Johannesburg. Emmarentia Dam is a quiet place to relax, have a picnic, or go canoeing, as it's surrounded by woodland and is home to numerous bird species. A tea room serves scones, and during the summer, it is the site for annual sunset concerts.

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