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.
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.
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.
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
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.
It was a great couple of weeks in Johannesburg. From there it was off to spend 6 epic days in Cape Town. Check out more things to do in Johannesburg
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! 🙂
Yes lion park is for you for sure!
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.
It is true. It was so emotional but it was a good lesson
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!
Yes that’s why Soweto Towers was on my list because of that series LOL!
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!
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!
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 🙂
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!
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!
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!
Yes you have to prepare the Apartheid museum for sure. It was really emotional! Elephant park sounds amazing, I’m jealous
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
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.