Soweto is possibly one of the most famous townships (or ghettos) in South Africa and it is teeming with life.
The location has been a symbol of discrimination and resilience in South Africa’s chequered political past. Today, it is home to nearly one million people and it is a sought-after cultural experience.
The Apartheid Museum in Ormonde creatively demonstrates the reality of South Africa’s disturbing political past.
Yet one leaves feeling inspired by the fortitude of the human spirit in the face of unrelenting injustice.
Balance out the gravity of the museum with a bit of high flying at Gold Reef City which is the extensive theme park next door based on Johannesburg’s gold mining heritage.
Thanks to a timely inner-city regeneration project, the centre of Joburg has come alive again.
Newtown is at the centre and it is buzzing. You are free to wander around Museum Afrika, relax at a cafe, perhaps take in a show at the Market Theatre or just soak up the atmosphere at one of the jazz clubs in the area.
Caught in the Act
What better way to make over a notorious old prison complex than to transform it into the home of the new Constitutional Court? Located in the city centre, Constitution Hill is the product of this metamorphosis.
Guided tours of Constitution Hill are available at a nominal fee with night tours available at a higher cost.
Culture all a bit too much? Head into the Northern suburbs towards Sandton City for non-stop shopping. You’ll find all the major brands and some African souvenirs as well.
Take a break from the bustle in the adjoining Sandton Square where you can sip on cocktails, enjoy a meal or just watch the crowds wander by the giant statue of Madiba.
If you’re arty then a visit to Melville is a must. Rub shoulders with bohemian artists, students, academics, musos and foodies.
You’ll be captivated by numerous intriguing restaurants and you can pick up a second hand book or some vintage clothing along the way too.
The Great Outdoors
There is no better way to enjoy the gorgeous Highveld weather than to spend a day at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. Located just outside the city on the West Rand, the gardens are famous for a rare black vulture couple and the winter Sunday classical concert series.
Looking for nightlife? Look no further than Monte Casino. Here a hotel, restaurants, theatres, a casino, a cinema complex, an amusement arcade and (would you believe?) a bird park co-exist. Join the glitterati and party the night away with the beautiful people of Joburg.
It’s Cheaper Inside
No visit to Joburg is complete without a visit to the Oriental Plaza, the self-proclaimed shopping Mecca of Joburg. Bargain with purveyors from the Indian community and sample tasty treats at the Golden Peacock.
For details of events, shows and attractions visit Computicket, the premiere local ticket seller.