30 must things to do in Johannesburg: places to visit, activities

30 must things to do in Johannesburg: places to visit, activities

Johannesburg has it all, right from breathtaking landscapes, friendly people, high-octane lifestyle, and good vibes to fresh ideas that are kind to the pocket. Recently, Jozi has been getting a significant mention on internet sites and international media of high repute because of its desirable traits, which have collectively made it a hard-to-miss tourist destination.

things to do in Johannesburg
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Source: UGC

When visiting a city with vast natural resources and excellent tourist destination sites, like Johannesburg, it is prudent to have a pre-meditated list of where to go. Settling for the right destination is understandably challenging, for both the locals and international tourists. Nonetheless, all potential destination sites will deliver a memorable experience. Whatever the case, these are 30 things that you must do while in Johannesburg so that you do not end up missing the essentials.

Walk into the Locrate market in Soweto

things to do in Johannesburg
Image: facebook.com @ TheLocrateMarket
Source: UGC
  • Cost: Free entrance.
  • Contact: 0719960080.
  • Address: 10823A Pooe Street, Cnr Ramushu Street, Orlando West, Soweto.

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The locrate market is a noble idea meant to stand the test of time and join the league of Khan Al-Khalili market in Egypt, both in might and world repute, while satisfying the locals’ entrepreneurial appetite. This modern uptown market bears the brand of a lifestyle market. It homes large food trucks, live music performances, bike tours, poetry reading, singular design apparel, and craft beer. The market is held on the first Sunday of every month from 11:00 to 18:00.

Joburg city bus tour

things to do in Johannesburg
Image: facebook.com @ MMHJHB
Source: UGC
  • Cost: Has three price schems. There is the one day ticket that comes with 1 day on the buses, a complimentary hotel shuttle, green suburb loop and red city tour loop. This goes for R200 for adults and R100 for children.

There is a 2-day ticket, which comes with 2 Consecutive Days on the buses, Complimentary hotel shuttle (selected hotels), Green Suburbs Loop and Red City Tour Loop. This goes for R300 for adults and R220 for kids.

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There is the Sunday sizzler ticket, which comes with the following conditions: Can only be used on Sunday's, 1 Day on the buses, Complimentary hotel shuttle (selected hotels), Green Suburbs Loop, and Red City Tour Loop. This goes for R180 per adult and R110 per child.

The city sightseeing does not come any better than with a red city sightseeing bus. All it takes is for you to pay the required fees and hop on the bus. The bus comes with an audio commentary in 15 different languages that explains the different sights that you visit. Everything on the sightseeing bus tour has been prepared deliberately for your liking, making it one of the fun things to do in Johannesburg.

Montecasino bird watching

things to do in Johannesburg
Image: common.wikimedia.org
Source: UGC
  • Contact: 011 511 1864.
  • Address: Address: Cnr William Nicol Drive & Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways, Johannesburg.

This is an incredible bird watching site with elaborate walkways, useful for your sightseeing expeditions. The pathways take you across the garden, exposing you to incredibly colorful birds, reptiles, mammals, a breathtaking landscape and other unusual animals from all over the world. The elevated pathways give you a bird's eye view for better visuals and thrilling experience.

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The aviary at this site boasts of over 100 bird species with Nicobar pigeons and Scarlet Ibises. Also, snakes, iguanas, tamarins, colorful frogs, and antelopes roam freely on the expansive land. The park hosts daily bird shows such as, Flights of Fantasy, which features vultures, pelicans, owls, and cranes. It also has school holiday programs targeting the kids and the family at large.

The park opens from 8:30 to 17:00 every day, with a flight of fantasy show happening every weekday at 11:00 and 15:00, 11:00, 13:00, and 15:00 every weekend.

Visit the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

exciting things to do in johannesburg
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Source: UGC

Nelson Mandela is a name almost used synonymously with South Africa. The Centre of Memory can be located easily at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which was started in 1999 by the legend himself. It is a non-profit organization that systematically disseminates information about the history of South Africa by hosting theme-based exhibitions. To visit the center, you have to book via their website. You will then be invited to visit one either Monday, Wednesday or Friday as from 09:30 and 15:30.

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Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

Walter Sisulu Botanical gardens is a site for romantic escapades. When looking for romantic things to do in Johannesburg, this botanical garden will give you more ideas than you can exhaust in one go. You can begin by snacking on the sarmines under the waterfall, and then proceed to walk through fern gardens and end with watching eagles perch at the top of the fall through binoculars; the options are immense. As if that is not all, you can take a self-guided JCI Geological trail walk through the rocks and learn a lot about the areas of the geological composition.

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Visit the adrenaline gushing Orlando towers

  • Cost: 100M Bungee jump R550
  • Contact: 071 674 4343
  • Address: Cnr Chris Hani & Sheffield Road, Orlando East, Soweto, 1808

If you are an adrenaline junkie, then this site will feed your body with much of it. Orlando tower is the site of the world’s first bungee jump in the middle of two cooling towers. The site offers a variety of activities that will scare the wits out of you. There is the 25-meter rock-climbing course at R60 per head, which is the cheapest. If your mere existence depends on adrenaline and you are ready to spend more than the R550 bungee jump is your dose of quality adrenaline.

Ubuntu Kraal Brewery in Soweto

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Ubuntu is the place to be for a shot of liquid elixir – Soweto Gold beer and finger licking apple pork ribs and gourmet boerie. If it is your lucky day, you may have the pleasure of meeting, Ndumiso M. Madlala, the celebrated “mad master brewer.” The beer garden is open to the public during the weekend from 10:00 until late hours and kept close on Mondays. If you are a private person, booking the old train carriage is the way to go.

Visit the living room – the coolest rooftop spot in Jozi

The living room is a rooftop oasis with a dynamic vertical garden, thus providing a serene environment as you enjoy their appetizing smoothies. The site is open for the public from 15:00 to 21:00 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays while from 12:00 to 20:00 on Sundays.

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James Hall Museum of Transport

things to do in Johannesburg
Image: commons.wikimedia.org
Source: UGC

James Hall museum helps you fill the gaps in locomotive history. From steam engines to ox-wagons, the sight at this museum will give you a new perspective about locomotives. Being the largest museum of land locomotives in South Africa, your kids will love having to see something that is completely foreign to them. The museum is also included in the city sightseeing bus tour. The museum is closed on Mondays and open every other day including weekends.

Shop at Oriental Plaza

  • Cost: Free
  • Contact: 011 838 6752
  • Address: 38 Lilian Ngoyi Street, Fordsburg, Johannesburg, 2092

Oriental Plaza is an indoor bazaar that can serve you anything at the best price, provided you have the language to talk your way to the right price. It was founded in mid-1970 to encourage the growth of the city’s diverse culture as well as celebrate tolerance between the cultures. The plaza has a total of 360 shops which provide all kinds of commodities conceivable from jewelry, spices, rugs to clothes and jewel. It opens from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 17:00 and 09:00 to 15:00 on Saturdays. It remains closed on Sundays.

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SAB world of beer

  • Cost:

The 2019 Price increase was effective from December 1st, 2018, and these rates will be valid until November 30th, 2019. The new rates are as follows:

Adults R130.00; Pensioners R120.00; Students (Student card required) R120.00; Children (up to17 years) R50.00; Red Bus R125.00; Pub-lunch entrance fee includes 2 x 500ml draught R60.00; Beer Tasting R120.00; Tour & Tasting Package R200.00; Evening Tour (10 or more people) R180.00; Beer voucher 330ml R25.00; Beer voucher 500ml R30.00; Soft drink R20.00

Included in the rate (excepting for children) is the following:

Tour guide; One half-way beer; Souvenir glass; Two drink vouchers redeemable in the Taproom; Bar snacks (Simba chips and peanuts).

School tours are available at R50.00 per student.

  • Contact: 011 836 4900
  • Address: 15 Helen Joseph Street (formerly President Street), Newtown, Johannesburg, 2042

This destination will blow anyone with a heart for a cold drink and a fascination about South Africa's brewery industry. The two-time best South Africa tour destination winner gives you the opportunity to sample raw barely and get quality information about the industry as well as the origins of beer drinking in the city of Gold. Once the tour is complete, you can opt for beer sampling or sip two complimentary SABMiller beers. The site is open all the days of the week from 10:00 to 18:00.

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Kitcheners comedy night

fun things to do in johannesburg for adults
Image: flickr.com @ South African Tourism
Source: UGC

Kitcheners is an old institution with over 100 years of life in her name, making it the second oldest pub in Jozi. You can walk in on Thursdays to have a dose of comedy from up and coming comedians whose main objective is to make you laugh your night away.

Take a boat out on Zoo lake and feed the ducks

  • Contact: (011) 483-1017
  • Address: Cnr Jan Smuts Avenue and West World Street, Parkview

If feeding the ducks is not one of the fun things to do in Johannesburg for adults and children alike, then taking a boat out on the zoo lake will do the magic. Bring some seeds with you as you go down to the lake for feeding the ducks. Afterwards, you can hire a boat with a maximum capacity of 6 and row your way into the lake. This is as much physically engaging as it is mentally challenging. The boat club is open every day of the week from 9:30 to 17:00 except on Mondays.

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Visit the Science Bono discovery center

  • Cost:

Prices are: Adults above 18 pay R60; chlidren between 3 - 18 pay R40; Chlidren below 3 get free entry; Pensioners/Students (valid student or pensioners card) pay R40; Family ticket (2 adults and 2 children below 18) pay R180; Fully Subsidised Schools get free entrance; Gauteng Public Schools R21; Independent Schools pay R35; Educators- free entry for one educator per 15 learners.

Please note that the rates are for entry to Sci-Bono Discovery Centre and do not include any other workshops unless stated otherwise. Prices are subject to change without notice.

The science Bono discovery center will capture your child's curiosity and create a long-lasting love for science. Over the years, the center has bagged itself a number of education and travel awards.

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Take a view from Carlton Centre – South Africa’s tallest building

  • Contact: 011 308 1331
  • Address: 150 Commissioner Street, CBD, Johannesburg, 2001

Scale the 50 story building using an elevator to the topmost floor and look at the stretching sight below. It is a sight to behold. The center is open every day of the week. It, however, closes at 14:00 on Sundays.

Go to the Neighbourgoods market

Famed for its locally-sourced delicacies, fun atmosphere and good quality live music; the Saturday market has a way of getting you addicted to its charms. This market is a worthy reason for you to cancel all the other weekend plans.

Melville Koppies Reserve

Melville Koppie Reserve is a nature and heritage reserve located right at the center of Johannesburg. It provides a beautiful view of the 3-million-year-old ridges that made up Jozi before the gold rush. You can go for a guided tour every Sunday at this park.

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Original inner-city walking tour using Past Experiences

  • Contact: 083 701 3046

Past experiences is an inner city tour company that allows you to experience Johannesburg on the ground. It takes you through Braamfontein art tour, graffiti, architecture tours and historical tours among other rich and authentic Johannesburg experiences.

Visit the market theatre

The market theatre is famed for the role it played in the struggle and continues to churn out futuristic performances. Some of the past award-winning pieces include Woza Alberta, Black dog, Asinamali, Sophiatown, Bopha; You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock, and Born in the RSA. The theatre continues to host electrifying performances. It opens every day of the week.

Mountain sanctuary park

things to do in Johannesburg
Image: commons.wikimedia.org
Source: UGC
  • Cost: Vary depending on age.
  • Contact: 0145340114/ 0827075538

The mountain sanctuary park offers some of the most exciting things to do in Johannesburg, from swimming in the natural rock pools to hiking. This 1000 hectare park has some of the best hiking trails in South Africa which makes it a preferred day destination by many with the first natural rock pools appearing 20 minutes as you walk into the mountain. You can also camp for the weekend at the cost of R80 per person.

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You have to book early as the park limits the number of daily visitors.

Sunday visit to Maboneng Precinct

Sunday visit to Maboneng precinct will blow your mind away. On this day, the Market on Main wakes up and provides thrilling experiences of a lifetime.

Wits Origin centre

Located on the premises of Witwatersrand campus, this thought-provoking museum exposes you to the origins of mankind including early man's intriguing rock art. If you are ready to travel back over 80,000 years with immense information about bygone art and culture, then visiting this place is the best decision you will have to make.

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27 boxes

  • Contact: 011 482 1090
  • Address: 75 4th Avenue, Melville, Johannesburg, 2109

27 boxes is made out of shipping containers with the aim of changing the lives of the surrounding community by encouraging their entrepreneurial needs. It is the best place to get fresh juice, food or a gift for someone you love.

Gold reef city

This park unites history and fun with a diverse budget to accommodate everyone. It has a slow train, an animal farm, and a 4D movie theatre all for your amusement.

Northgate ice rink

Northgate ice rink is the ideal escape from heat while getting a physical exercise.

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Braynstone organic market

things to do in Johannesburg
Image: flickr.com @ South African Tourism
Source: UGC
  • Cost: Free
  • Contact: 011 706 3671
  • Address: 40 Culross Road, Bryanston, Sandton, 2191

The market is open every Thursday and Saturday as from 09:00 to 150:0. You will find handmade goods, live music, and a tea garden.

The escape room

things to do in Johannesburg
Image: flickr.com @ David Hofmann
Source: UGC

The escape room is a puzzle game that will engage every part of your brain. Every puzzle requires a minimum of 2 players and a maximum of 6. You will be required to pull your thoughts together as a team and work your way out of the room in under 60 minutes.

Drive or run through the Nelson Mandela bridge

The Nelson Mandela bridge serves as a symbol of unity in South Africa in remembrance of Mandibas fruitful efforts to bridge the racial gap between the blacks and whites during the apartheid. The bridge offers great views of the city, more so, at night when the lights have been turned on.

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Visit the potato shed for a meal

  • Contact: 010 590 6133
  • Address: Newtown Junction Cnr Carr and, Miriam Makeba Street, Newtown, Johannesburg, 2001

Potato shed serves both delicious and huge portion of food to satisfy your hunger. It offers a number of unique dishes including biltong and wasabi crisps, their signature meal.

Uncle Merv’s in Maboneng

  • Contact: 27 (0)73 211 5127
  • Address: Maboneng East City side of Inner City, Kruger Street, Johannesburg

Uncle Merv’s in Mobeneng serves expertly brewed coffee and delicious shakes. It also offers bikes for rent that you can ride around the city. Uncle Merv’s opens every day of the week as from 07:00 to 16:00.

This list proves that it is not easy to run out of things to do in Johannesburg. You can go hiking, city sightseeing, visit markets and historical sites. All these will enrich your experience, at a pocket-friendly rate.

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