South Africa: Top 5 Activities in Johannesburg

My trip to South Africa was a random, last minute booking. When I arrived, the only plans I had were to spend time with one of my best friend’s family. I wish I had my cold weather packing list for autumn in South Africa, it was hot during the day and cold at night during May. I didn’t do any research about South Africa and had no clue what I wanted to see. I spent a total of 2 weeks in Johannesburg and then one week in Cape Town. Here is a list of my top 5 activities in Johannesburg.

Activities in Johannesburg

At the entrance of the Apartheid Museum

Top 5 Activities in Johannesburg:

Staying at Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls.

I was lucky enough to stay with my best friend whose father is the Principal at the school. It was an amazing experience meeting some of the girls and exploring their campus. Since my friend was also coaching there, our evenings included football and cricket practice with the girls. The girls were hard working and very polite, they really appreciate the opportunity to be there.

Johannesburg Lion Park

This was quite an epic introduction to South Africa’s wildlife. It was one of my favorite activities in Johannesburg. We drove our own car through the park with our windows up and doors locked, and spotted loads of animals. One of my favorites parts was driving through the lion’s area and seeing the cubs playing. Once you got back to the main area of the park there was an area where you could go in and spend time with the lion cubs. This is one of my more memorable experiences here, we got to pet and play with the cubs. They ranged in age from 3 months up to 6 months. We were allowed in for exactly 2 minutes and they switched the cubs around every so often so it wasn’t the same group in there all day. They were all playful and well cared for and the park rangers really seemed to enjoy looking after them.

Activities in Johannesburg

Lion at the Johannesburg Lion Park

Activities in Johannesburg

Playing with lion cubs at Johannesburg Lion Park

Apartheid Museum

As I said, I didn’t do too much research about South Africa so I didn’t know a whole lot about apartheid. So another one of my activities in Johannesburg was the Apartheid museum. This was my time to learn all about South Africa’s history and it was shocking. As soon as you walk in you are labelled “white” and “non-white” on your ticket, you entered through separate doors to get a feel for how it used to be. I was “non-white” and I walked through my side so quickly because there was not as much information to read. It was difficult to not be emotional as you walked through and saw the videos and heard the accounts of all the protests and violence that happened.

Activities in Johannesburg

Ticket into the Apartheid Museum

 Dinokeng Game Reserve

We were looking for a game park that was closer than Kruger and we were not disappointed at all. This was one of my must do activities in Johannesburg, it was actually located about 2 hours away near Pretoria. We stayed in a self catering lodge and barbequed (Braai) every night. At night we could hear the warthogs snorting the ground looking for food. The next morning we did a self drive through the park and before we even got to the entrance we were spotting wildebeest and kudu. We drove through the park in the morning and spotted lots of elephants and then went back in the afternoon and didn’t find too much. The second day we went on a game drive with one of the other hotels and we spotted some lions and even more elephants. It was quite an exciting weekend. Make sure you brush up on your travel photography before you go so you get some epic shots

Activities in Johanessburg

Elephant spotting in Dinokeng Game Reserve

Soweto Towers

These iconic towers were quite a sight. The artwork on the towers was beautiful. If you are daring you can bungy or swing from the center of the towers. I was not quite ready for that, I waited until New Zealand to try my hand at bungy jumping. It was quiet when we went so we didn’t get to see anyone jump. It was definitely worth a visit. While you’re in Soweto you can also visit Nelson Mandela’s house, we skipped this but we walked past to check it out.

Activities in Johannesburg

The iconic Soweto Cooling Towers

It was a great couple of weeks in Johannesburg. From there it was off to spend 6 epic days in Cape Town.

 

15 Comments

  • Kari (Happy Coconuts Travel Blog) January 24, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Wow the Soweto Towers look so cool! How artistic. I am dying to visit South Africa, I am obsessed with lions and would love to experience this. The elephants would be pretty amazing too. Happy Travels! 🙂

    Reply
    • Stace January 24, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Yes lion park is for you for sure!

      Reply
  • Fiona Mai January 24, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    You’ve had such great experiences in Johannesburg! Visiting the Apartheid Museum must be a quite special experience. Learning more about Apartheid may be shocking but I guess it’s inspirational as well, as it reminds us how our current society should not repeat the same mistakes of the past.

    Reply
    • Stace January 24, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      It is true. It was so emotional but it was a good lesson

      Reply
  • Only By Land January 24, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Wow, you sure got close to the Lion at Johannesburg Lion Park, he looks like he’s going right for you guys! Dinokeng sounds interesting too, Warthogs? I’ve only every heard this word from the Lion King! I remember the Soweto towers from the Idiot abroad series, I think it was series 2, he was too scared to do the jump!

    Reply
    • Stace January 24, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      Yes that’s why Soweto Towers was on my list because of that series LOL!

      Reply
  • Raymond Carroll January 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Wandering Bajan. I’ve been to Barbados – twice. My sister lived there in the 1990’s when she worked at DFID (Department for International Development) a UK Government AID organisation.

    Anyway, your profile caught my eye…

    I’ve never been to South Africa but I’d like to go. I know a couple of South African Indian guys from Durban that I met in Thailand. We became friends and they invited me over years ago but I’ve yet to make it. I love all the wildlife and nature in South Africa and I’d like to go on a safari! Good post. Each of your 5 activites looks like a good day out. Safe travels!

    Reply
  • Kassie January 25, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Wow South Africa seems amazing! I’ve been wanting to visit Cape Town forever, but after seeing your blog post I definitely want to add Johannesburg to my itinerary. All of these activities seem awesome!

    Reply
  • Katie January 25, 2017 at 7:10 am

    South Africa has been on my bucket list for some time and the Lion Park looks fantastic! Would love to visit!! Soweto Towers is fascinating too, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  • Caroline @ The Travelling Sloth January 25, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Do you know what the Soweto Towers were originally used as? I can’t imagine bungee jumping off of that bridge! I’ve done it once (in Thailand) – never again hahah. Too scary for my liking.

    I’ve always heard great things about South Africa (mainly Cape Town – rarely Johannesburg) so I’m really inclined to check it out. The Lion Park reminds of “Longleat Safari Park” in England where you drive your car through the animal reserves. Really cool experience!

    Reply
    • Stace January 25, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      Cape town was my favorite. These were the main points in Jo’Burg, not much else going on. I can’t remember what the towers were used for, but I def wudnt be jumping!

      Reply
  • Diana - MVMT Blog January 26, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Wow, I would want to do all of these things. I’d definitely want to visit the Apartheid museum but I feel like I’d need to mentally prepare myself for something as heavy as that. And the lion park sounds awesome. I’ll be visiting an elephant sanctuary in Thailand in a couple of months, which I think will be similar to the lion park, but with elephants. Would love to visit one day!

    Reply
    • Stace January 26, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Yes you have to prepare the Apartheid museum for sure. It was really emotional! Elephant park sounds amazing, I’m jealous

      Reply
  • Jenni January 26, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Now this is a post that has made me absolutely so jealous. I would love to see a elephant and a lion in its natural habitat. I have seen elephants in Thailand but only in a sanctuary. You are one lucky lady

    Reply
    • Aanchal Iyer February 4, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Same here Jenni, quite jealous of Stace.
      Even I have seen only elephants have to visit this place for sure.
      Stace keep posting such amazing things to do.

      Reply

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