Johannesburg Sights

Johannesburg epitomizes South Africa's paradoxical makeup—it's rich, poor, innovative, and historic all rolled into one. And it seems at times as though no one actually comes from Johannesburg. The city is full of immigrants: Italians, Portuguese, Chinese, Hindus, Swazis, English, Zimbabweans, Nigerians, Zulus, Xhosas. The streets are full of merchants. Traders hawk skop (boiled

sheep's head, split open and eaten off newspaper) in front of polished glass buildings as taxis jockey for position in rush hour. Sangomas (traditional healers) lay out herbs and roots next to roadside barbers' tents, and you never seem to be far from women selling vetkoek (dollops of deep-fried dough) beneath billboards advertising investment banks or cell phones.

The Greater Johannesburg metropolitan area is massive—more than 1,600 square km (618 square miles)—incorporating the large municipalities of Randburg and Sandton to the north. Most of the sights are just north of the city center, which degenerated badly in the 1990s but is now being revamped.

To the south, in Ormonde, are the Apartheid Museum and Gold Reef City; the sprawling township of Soweto is just a little farther to the southwest. Johannesburg's northern suburbs are its most affluent. On the way to the shopping meccas of Rosebank and Sandton, you can find the superb Johannesburg Zoo and the South African Museum of Military History, in the leafy suburb of Saxonwold.

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Pretoria 15

City Center 9

Soweto and the South 8

Cradle of Humankind 6

The Magaliesberg 5

Parktown, Parkview, Saxonwold, and Westcliff 2

Greenside and Emmarentia 2

Roodepoort 2

Madikwe Game Reserve 1

Pilanesberg Game Reserve 1

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Amusement Park/ Water Park 1

Archaeological Site/ Ruins 2

Body Of Water/ Waterfall 1

Bridge/ Tunnel 1

Building/ Architectural Site 1

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Dam 1

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Government Building 2

Historic District/ Site 2

House/ Mansion/ Villa 2

Industrial Site/ Mill/ Factory 1

Information Center 1

Local Interest–Sight 1

Memorial/ Monument/ Tomb 2

Mine 2

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Museum/ Gallery 16

Nature Preserve/ Wildlife Refuge 8

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Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 3

Park/ Playground 1

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Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 1

Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train) 1

Zoo/ Aquarium 5

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Johannesburg Sights

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Apartheid Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

The Apartheid Museum takes you on a journey through South African apartheid history—from the entrance, where you pass through a turnstile...

Gold Reef City

  • Amusement Park/Water Park

This theme park lets you step back in time to 1880s Johannesburg and see why it became known as the City of Gold. One of the city's most...

Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum

  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb

Opposite Holy Cross Church, a stone's throw from the former homes of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Vilakazi Street, the...

Mandela House

  • House/Mansion/Villa

The former president lived in this small house until his arrest in 1961, with his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who owns a high-security...

Oppenheimer Park

  • Park/Playground

Named after mining magnate Ernest Oppenheimer, who established the De Beers diamond mining company as a powerful global brand, this park...

Orlando Towers

  • Building/Architectural Site

The brightly painted Orlando Towers complex in Soweto is a well-known landmark in Johannesburg. Originally a coal-fired power station,...

Regina Mundi Church

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Central to the liberation struggle, this Catholic church was a refuge of peace, sanity, and steadfast moral focus for the people of Soweto...

Walter Sisulu Square

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

In 1955 the Freedom Charter was adopted here by the Congress Alliance, a gathering of political and cultural groups trying to map a way...

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