Top Museums to visit in South Africa

CIRCA gallery in Rosebank, JohannesburgWhile South Africa is better known for its safaris and hiking, the country also plays host to some incredible museums. From history to naturals wonders, there is a museum for every interest.

For all motor enthusiasts, the Franschhoek Motor Museum is a must see. This museum displays around 80 cars at any one time, rotating out of a collection of over 350 vehicles. With a variety of vintage and modern cars that even includes a Formula One racer, this museum nestled in a valley of vineyards is well worth a trip.

The Rupert Museum offers an art gallery that straddles the line between intimate and expansive in a way that allows the modern art the simplicity to appreciate its message but keeping the homey feeling of the former house that it occupies. Commissioned by Huberte Rupert in 2003 this museum hosts an ever-changing rotation of exhibitions as well as the unique private collection of Rupert’s which is the premier collection of South African art from the period of 1940-1970.

For a unique experience that will leave you with enough stories for a year, pay a visit to the First South African Perfume Museum. This museum takes visitors through the history of the perfume industry and its history in South Africa, supplemented with anecdotes and asides to keep the history interesting. While the guide talks you can examine the collection of perfume bottles from all over the world, dating back 2000 years. Pay special attention to the intricate bottle that dates back to the Roman Empire. After the tour, you have the option to add on a scent workshop with their specialists to create your own perfume that you will leave with a bottle of.

Lion, tigers, and bears, oh my. With a visit to the West Coast Fossil Park, you can see the bones of bears, sabre-tooth cats, short-neck giraffes and many other animals that used to live along the West Coast but are long gone now. Walking tours take you out to the dig site where the museum’s team is still excavating and here visitors can see fossils still half buried in the ground. An onsite mock dig site allows children the opportunity to act like paleontologists and use their fossil brushes to uncover the surprises buried under the soil.

For all the history buffs in your group, stop by the Apartheid Museum. Opened in 2001 and hailed as the preeminent museum in the world dealing in 20th century South Africa, this museum tells the story of the South African Apartheid. Making use of film footage, photographs, text panels, and artefacts that tell the human stories and events that make up South Africa’s history. Make sure to schedule several hours as the wealth of information here can keep a visitor entertained for hours.

South Africa has museums for every interest and time availability to give visitors to the country a chance to escape the outdoor adventures for a few hours and head inside to expand their mind with South African culture, history and nature.