Holidays to South Africa and the Johannesburg area, which is the largest conurbation by population in the Rainbow Nation, are often falsely overlooked given the city’s perceived criminal difficulties and although it is true that Jozi – as it’s affectionately known – suffered law-breaking troubles, especially in the 1980s and 90s, the situation is far better today.
Although staying safe is paramount worldwide, by restricting yourself from a visit to Joburg you are missing out on a fascinating urban environment, jam-packed full of culture and history at every turn. Johannesburg’s skyline looks very westernised in its appearance given the plethora of skyscrapers and financially-orientated towers that mark the CBD.
It is often said by locals that getting lost in Johannesburg is far less possible given the two tall telecommunications towers – Hillbrow and Brixton – that immediately mark the centre and western reaches of the city unmistakably.
One of the best ways to trace the city’s past and grow accustomed to what life used to be like in South Africa in the not so distant past, a trip to the Apartheid Museum is advised for those looking to uptake a moving, yet informative insight back in time.
Given the sheer agglomeration of presentations, the museum will certainly take half a day to negotiate and this collection of exhibitions, totalling 22, will not only invoke the senses but will also leave visitors feeling empowered through the fact that the discriminatory regime was indeed overcome.
Actually located on the same site of the museum is another of Johannesburg’s top attractions – Gold Reef City – a large amusement park complex ideal for families, which is located south of central Jozi on the M1 representing another pursuit for those who are hiring a car on South Africa holidays.
The park incorporates a gold rush theme, given her placing on the site of an old mine and children and parents alike will marvel at a park that includes the Anaconda and Jozi Express rollercoasters, Runaway Train and Giant Wheel among others, alongside traditional gold rush themed buildings invoking older generations including mining houses complete with kitchens, living quarters and indeed the mine machinery itself.
For hands on individuals, a guided trip to Soweto is always worthwhile. Soweto is bursting with culture and the series of townships yield a mixture of meeting locals, sampling local beer and music and highlighting historical monuments. Soweto is a completely different environment from central Jozi and will open your eyes to an entirely different world of civilisation.