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

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Greenside and Emmarentia 2

Parktown, Parkview, Saxonwold, and Westcliff 2

Roodepoort 2

Soweto and the South 8

Cradle of Humankind 6

The Magaliesberg 5

Madikwe Game Reserve 1

Pilanesberg Game Reserve 1

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Johannesburg Sights

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Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre

  • Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre (formerly the De Wildt Cheetah Centre, it has been renamed after its founder) is respected for its conservation...

Apartheid Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

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

Church Square

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

Anton van Wouw's statue of President Paul Kruger, surrounded by sentries, dominates this pleasant square, which is flanked by some of...

Constitution Hill

  • Historic District/Site

Overlooking Jo'burg's inner city and suburbs, Constitution Hill houses the Constitutional Court, set up in 1994 with the birth of democracy...

Cullinan Diamond Mine

  • Mine

Anyone can go to a jewelry store and bring home South African diamonds, but how many people can say they got their sparkler from an actual...

Diagonal Street

  • Neighborhood/Street

On this street in the city center, among stores selling traditional African fabrics and household appliances, you'll find African herbalists...

Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History

  • Museum/Gallery

This museum offers an insightful look at the country's indigenous cultures. You can marvel at San rock art, African headdresses, clay...

Ditsong National Museum of Military History

  • Museum/Gallery

In a park adjacent to the Johannesburg Zoo, this museum has two exhibition halls and a rambling outdoor display focusing on South Africa's...

Ditsong National Museum of Natural History

  • Museum/Gallery

This massive natural-history museum has an extensive collection of land and marine animals from around the world, with an emphasis on...

Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoortdam

  • Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

The Elephant Sanctuary has three refuges across South Africa, including this one in the Magaliesberg Mountains. Five of the rescued mammals...

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