Tours

Township tours (to Soweto in particular) are offered by a number of local operators. One of the best options is to do a Soweto tour with the City Sightseeing bus, which partners with local operators for tours of Soweto. Wilro Tours and JMT Tours and Safaris offer half-day and full-day tours of Johannesburg and Soweto. For more recommendations of reputable tour operators, inquire at Johannesburg Tourism.

Africa Explore. Africa Explore offers half-day, full-day, and overnight tours of sights in and around Johannesburg (and throughout South Africa), including Soweto, Pretoria, and the Rhino and Lion Park. 083/718–6065; 072/242–2281; www.africa-explore.co.za. From R925.

City Sightseeing Bus. The City Sightseeing bus is a great and very safe way to see the Johannesburg city center and all its main attractions. The bus departs from nine locations every 30 minutes from 9 to 5 every day, but the best places to catch it are either at Gold Reef City or Park station (accessible via the Gautrain). Adults and kids alike will love the experience; there's a special children's soundtrack, and the adult commentary is available in 15 languages. The total trip takes about 1½ hours if you don't get off (though you should consider at least getting off at the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill); you can get a one- or two-day pass. There is also an option to pair it with a Soweto tour, also highly recommended. You can buy your tickets at The Zone @ Rosebank (stop 1) or you can wait and buy tickets on any City Sightseeing bus, but there's a discount for purchasing them online. Johannesburg, Gauteng. 0861/733–287; www.citysightseeing.co.za. From R170.

JMT Tours and Safaris. JMT Tours and Safaris can arrange tailor-made trips for small groups to a number of destinations. Prices will vary according to where you want to go and how many people are in your group. JMT Tours and Safaris specializes in tours of Soweto but also does the Cradle of Humankind and can take you farther afield. 027/233–0073; jmttours.com. From R690.

Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. Interested in checking out hundreds of heritage buildings? Most are closed to the public, but the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation organizes tours of the houses and gardens, which will give you a glimpse of turn-of-the-20th-century grandeur. Prearranged tours looking at different aspects of Johannesburg's history are arranged for most Saturdays and take about two to three hours. It's also possible to arrange a private tour if you can do it far enough in advance. Departure points vary by the tour. Johannesburg, Gauteng. 011/482–3349; www.joburgheritage.org.za. From R150.

Mynhardts Diamonds. Mynhardts Diamonds sells diamonds and jewelry, and specializes in women's and men's rings, especially engagement and wedding rings. The company makes up the rings from loose stones on demand and even offers a 3-D rendering so you can see how your ring will look. An appointment is required. 27 Ridge Rd., Parktown, Johannesburg, Gauteng, 2193. 079/525–8969; 083/663–3207; www.mynhardts.com.

Springbok Atlas Tours & Safaris. Springbok Atlas Tours & Safaris offers a selection of half-day and full-day tours of Johannesburg, including the city center, Soweto, the Apartheid Museum, and other points of interest. Other tours explore Pretoria, Sun City, and the famous Pilanesberg Game Reserve. 021/460–4700; www.springbokatlas.com. From R750.

Wilro Tours. Wilro Tours is one of the best-known operators in Johannesburg and offers tours of Soweto, Johannesburg, and farther afield, such as Cradle of Humankind and the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. With Wilro, you hire the car and guide for a number of hours, and can mix and match attractions and activities such as shopping as you wish. Tours have a base price, so per-person rates drop dramatically the more people you have on the tour. 011/789–9688; www.wilrotours.co.za. From R1300.

Maboneng Township Arts Experience. A wonderful way to visit the townships, these tours take you into the gallery homes of artists where you can see (and sometimes purchase) vibrant artwork, share a local meal, and learn about the history of the area, after which you will visit other important public art and architecture spots. 021/824–1773; www.maboneng.com.

Cape Adventure Zone. Adventure guide Brenhan Van Niekerk focuses on anything and everything adventure related (day and overnight hikes, canyoneering) in the Overberg region, specifically the Hottentots Holland. He also specializes in fynbos and has a strong interest in nature and wildlife—he is involved in setting up camera traps for the Cape Mountain Leopard Trust in the Hottentots Holland region. 071/354–1222.

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