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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Johannesburg

Johannesburg (Jo'burg to the white population, E'Goli, the "city of gold", to the blacks), the third largest city in Africa, after Cairo and Alexandria, and the world's youngest city to pass the million mark, lies on the highveld, South Africa's central plateau, on the edge of the Witwatersrand, an 80km/50mi long range of hills, rich in minerals, which rises only 300m/1000ft above the surrounding country.

City Center

Gold Reef City

No buildings of the early gold rush period have survived in Johannesburg, but visitors can get some idea of what the town was like in those days in Gold Reef City, with its reproductions of houses, public buildings and shops, the Royal Theatre, a hotel, a Chinese laundry, a tailor's workshop, a chemist's shop, a newspaper office and Johannesburg's first stock exchange.
Visitors are also shown around a disused shaft of the Crown Mines, one of the richest gold-mines in the world, which gives a vivid impression of the work of the gold-miners.
Address: Shaft 14, Northern Parkway, Johannesburg, Gauteng 2159, South Africa

Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum, a vivid and powerful experience, sets out by means of enlarged photos, artifacts, newspaper clippings, and film footage, to graphically portray the apartheid story.
As visitors, carrying their entry card which identifies them as either "white" or "non-white", move through the rooms they are assailed by the sights and sounds of the apartheid era. Paths follow the country through decades of oppression to the birth of democracy. The museum occupies approximately 6,000 sq m/65,000sq ft.
Address: Northern Parkway Road, Ormonde, Gauteng 2091, South Africa

Herman Eckstein Park

The Herman Eckstein Park is a cricket venue north of the city center and contains the Johannesburg Zoo and two museums.

Johannesburg Zoo

The Johannesburg Zoo has more than 300 species of animals, including elephants, lions and many species of monkeys. Some of the animals live in open enclosures separated only by water-filled ditches.
Within the Zoo is a lake on which boats can be hired.
Address: Jan Smuts Avenue, South Africa

Museum of Rock Art

The Museum of Rock Art is an open-air museum with reproductions of prehistoric rock paintings.

South African Museum of Military History

The South African Museum of Military History has a variety of material on the Boer War and the two world wars.

Hillbrow

Hillbrow is the district of Johannesburg with the highest population density. Particularly in recent years many blacks have moved into Hillbrow and the neighboring Berea district. Here, in contrast to other parts of the city, black and white people live quite happily side by side, giving the area a lively and multicultural atmosphere. Many shops stay open until late at night, and there is a wide choice of restaurants and bars. (It is not advisable to walk about here after dark.)
This part of the city is dominated by the 268m/880ft high J. G. Strijdom Tower, headquarters of the South African Post Office. This high-rise block - not an entirely satisfactory example of contemporary architecture - was completed in 1971.

Windybrow Theatre

The Windybrow Theatre occupies a building c 1896 in the Hillbrow district, a typical example of South African architecture of the gold rush period. The theater has three houses.
Address: Box 3410, Johannesburg, Gauteng 2000, South Africa

Oriental Plaza

The Oriental Plaza, is a huge shopping center with more than 300 shops and two excellent Indian restaurants. In this exotic eastern bazaar bargaining over the price is normal.

Bensusan Museum of Photography

The Museum of Photography documents the history of photography with a collection of photographs, cameras and other equipment.

Melville Koppies Nature Reserve

On the western outskirts of Johannesburg, in the Melville district, is the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve (area 80 ha/200ac), which contains around 80% of the plant species found on the Witwatersrand. Of these 30 are edible, 113 have medicinal properties, 8 are poisonous, 2 are used in the manufacture of expensive perfumes and 35 are used in magical rituals. Within the reserve is an important bird-watching station, where more than 150 species of birds have been recorded.

Rockey Street

This lively street to the northeast of the city center is the haunt of young people, artists and students of all social classes and colors.
There are numerous shops selling African arts and crafts, way-out clothing and jewelry. The street really comes to life in the evening, when the "scene" heats up, with jazz, pop and folk music until late at night.

Adler Museum of the History of Medicine

The Adler Museum of the History of Medicine was installed within the South African Institute for Medical Research in 1967.
As well as the large collection of medical and dental instruments displayed in the main building the museum includes a chemist's shop which originally stood in Beit Street and a medicine-man's herb shop.
Address: University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, 7 York Road, Parktown, Johannesburg, Gauteng 2193, South Africa

Bezuidenhout Park

This spacious park in the Bezuidenhout district, east of the city center, occupies the site of Doornfontein Farm. The old farmhouse, dating from gold rush days, still survives. Children will be more interested in the miniature railroad which runs round the park.

Braamfontein Spruit Trail

The Braamfontein Spruit Trail is a walking tour which takes visitors around the main features of interest in the central area and the Randburg and Sandton districts. Information on the exact route can be obtained from the Johannesburg Tourism Association.

Jan Smuts's Study

In one of the university buildings is the room in which Jan Smuts (1870-1950) worked. The furniture came from Smuts's last home in Irene (near Pretoria). Smuts, soldier and statesman, withdrew from public life after the defeat of his United Party in the 1948 election.

Rhodes Park

Rhodes Park is centered on a reservoir in the Kensington District.

Pioneers' Park

3km/2mi south of the city center is Pioneers' Park, through which flows a small stream, the Wemmer Pan, with rowboats for hire. In the south of the park are fountains, with musical accompaniment.

Santarama Miniland

In the north of Pioneers' Park is Santarama Miniland with models of well-known buildings in South Africa on a scale of 1:25, miniature railroads, a miniature harbor and a cableway plus for children there are rides in miniature trains and boats.
Address: Rosettenville Road, Wemmer Pan, South Africa

James Hall Transport Museum

In Pioneers' Park is the James Hall Transport Museum, with an enormous collection of carriages, veteran cars, steam engines and trams.
Address: Box 80, Johannesburg, Gauteng 2130, South Africa

Witwatersrand University

Witswatersrand University is an urban, comprehensive university spread over 100ha/247ac in the heart of Johannesburg. Since the 1920's it has seen more than 100,000 graduates.
Address: Private Bag 3, Johannesburg, Gauteng 2050, South Africa

Johannesburg Planetarium

The Planetarium, on the campus of Witwatersrand University, has presentations in English. Up to 9000 stars can be projected on to the 22m/72ft high dome.
Address: Box 31149, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, Gauteng 2017, South Africa

Standard Bank Foundation Collection

On the University campus is the Standard Bank Foundation Collection of African Tribal Art including masks, headdresses, beadwork and Ndebele fertility dolls.

Bernberg Museum of Costume

The Bernberg Museum of Costume has a lovingly assembled collection of clothing and accessories of the 17th to 20th C.

Botanic Garden

In the Botanic Garden there is a summer display of over 4,000 roses. Exotic plants are grown in a hothouse.
On the Emmarentia Dam, a small reservoir in the gardens, there are facilities for wind-surfing and sailing.

Civic Centre

The Civic Centre c 1978 is headquarters of Johannesburg's municipal administration.

Civic Theatre

The Civic Theatre is one of Johannesburg's leading venues for ballet, opera and drama.
Address: Loveday Street, Box 31900, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, Gauteng 2017, South Africa

The Wilds

In this 17ha/42ac park, grow many species of protea and wild flowers from Namaqualand (at their best between September and December).
There is also a pleasant tea garden.
(It is advisable to visit this area only in groups.)

Melrose Bird Sanctuary

The Melrose Bird Sanctuary with its 10 ha/25ac of luxuriant vegetation, is an ideal nesting-place for many species of birds.

Gold Mine Tours

The Chamber of Mines organizes day-long tours of local gold mines.
Address: 5 Hollard Street, South Africa

Western Surroundings

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