I need a good recommendation for a Soweto tour.

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Apr 4th, 2003, 01:58 AM
  #1
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I need a good recommendation for a Soweto tour.

Please advise. Thanks.
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Apr 4th, 2003, 02:16 AM
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Has anybody been to Gold Reef City. There is a full day tour that hits Soweto and Gold Reef City, described as follows:

Gold Reef City could have been the name for Johannesburg but it is in fact Johannesburg's own theme park where the turn-of-the-century mining town is brought to life in shops, hotels and fascinating exhibits. No vehicles are permitted in Gold Reef City but you can relive a bygone era and travel by steam train or horse drawn carriage. Take a trip underground at the Gold Reef City Mine and learn about the mining of gold - you can even take home a solid bar of gold - if you can carry it away single handed!

Highlights:

Underground mine tour.
The pouring of gold bars.
Gumboot and tribal dancers.

Seems kind of tacky but it also seems kind of fun...but not if there are going to be 50,000 children there.

I may be better off with just the half day Soweto Tour, allowing my wife time for shopping in Sandton Square (although whatever we buy will likely go into storage at Joburg airport for 13 days until we go home, rather than lugging it around the whole trip).

I do need some Joburg recommendations. Last time I went to some tacky mall on a manmade lake. I only had one night in town and I didn't even arrive until 5PM, and this place was convenient to The Rosebank Hotel. So basically I haven't seen any of Joburg, at all. Only have two nights in town this time around and on one night I have an included dinner at The Michelangelo's restaurant.
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Apr 4th, 2003, 04:43 AM
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I seem to remember you mentioning that you will be here in June - in which case it will be outside school holidays so Gold Reef City will not be packed out with children. However, as with all such facilities, if it is not busy then not necessarily everything is open. In my opinion it can be a bit tacky, it is essentially an amusement park, with a few interesting bits in between. The trip down a mineshaft is fascinating, but do not even think about it if you are at all claustrophobic! In addition to the mining activities, the Apartheid Museum is part of the complex as well as a very interesting South African Music Museum. If you want to get the adrenalin going, then there are a number of rides, the Miner's Revenge is particularly vicious, I felt ill just watching it and chickened out. If you really want an African evening out, then ask the Michelangelo to make a reservation for you at Moyo Restaurant. It specialises in "African" cuisine and is fantastic, but very busy so you will need to book ahead. It's in the Melrose Arch complex which is about 15 minutes from the Michelangelo. I strongly recommend it. If you do not want to travel far from the hotel, then I recommend Rhubarb as a casual option, and Wang Thai for something more posh (both are on Sandton Square) for dinner.
I'm trying to think of a man-made lake near Rosebank and the closest I can think of is the Randburg Waterfront. Is this perhaps where you ended up before? If so - my condolences, not suburban planning's finest hour.
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Apr 4th, 2003, 06:28 AM
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Johannesburg recommendations

Dinner -- try The Butcher Shop, a great steak and wine restaurant, which is on Sandton Square, right next the The Michelangelo, which I would think would give more of a local flavor than a hotel restaurant, however good the food at the hotel restuarant might be.

I have also found that The Michalengelo will store goods (at least they did for me but I'm a member of The Leaders' Club, the Leading Hotels of the World Club, and this might be better than airport storage).

Finally, I have been several times to Johannesburg and I've never felt the slighest compunction to visit Gold Reef City -- seems awfully contrived and touristy.
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Apr 4th, 2003, 10:17 AM
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Gold Reef City IS touristy, but I really liked going down in the mine and seeing how it's all done. I also thought the tribal dancing and gumboot dancing was really good, and very entertaining. Jo'burg isn't really a tourist city, in my opinion. The best things to enjoy there are the fabulous restaurants and the shopping, but you can't eat all the time, and Gold Reef City is fun.
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Apr 5th, 2003, 07:45 AM
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I took my kids to gold Reef city when they were little and then again last year as teenagers. First visit was enjoyable and then they were bored last year. Coming from LA,and as adults, I think you will find it just doesn't measure up to what you are used to. If you have a spare hour and you are really struggling to fill your time then perhaps you can go. But you will not need a full morning.

We were there in August and there were a few school groups but it was pretty empty.

It is honestly more for people with small kids
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Apr 5th, 2003, 06:05 PM
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Thanks Waverly, that's kind of what I figured. The only reason I considered it is because I saw it on a website that had a combined Soweto/Gold Reef City tour.

I think I'd rather have time in Sandton Square just hanging out.
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