Johannesburg Holidays offers a handy travel insight to south africa with maps, pictures and hotel reviews. Find out which Johannesburg hotels to stay at, what iconic attractions to see and where to mingle with the locals.
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South Africa, Africa
Gauteng, the region of South Africa that includes Johannesburg and Pretoria, isn’t the most beautiful part of the country. But it is one of the most exciting, with two of the biggest cities and a wealth of sights. Try to catch a rugby match – the Blue Bulls and the Golden Lions are based here, and the most famous football teams are the Orlando Pirates and Kaiser Chiefs. Johannesburg has glitzy suburbs, shanty towns and everything in between, and is a lively destination for shopping, nightlife, museums, and also a jumping-off point to explore the rest of Southern Africa. Pretoria is more sedate but also less edgy, once a bastion of the apartheid state but now an increasingly cosmopolitan and friendly city.
What to Do in Johannesburg
Both Johannesburg and Pretoria have several historical sights, which will help you get your head around the country’s complex history. The Voortrekker Monument was build under apartheid to commemorate Afrikaans pioneers – dubious ideology underpins its construction, but its worth seeing to find out more about Afrikaans culture. The Apartheid Museum in Joburg explains what life was like in the old days, while the building now housing the Correctional Services Museum in Pretoria used to hold political prisoners. If that all sounds a bit dull, then Johannesburg is also noted for its township tours to Soweto, where you can find out how the majority of South Africans live, and drink in a shebeen. Johannesburg has many great pubs and a thriving live music scene; you can also see the Pretoria Zoo, and visit Gold Reef City, a theme park where you can try mampoer, the local moonshine, and take a bar of gold home with you – if you can pick it up with two fingers.
Where to Stay in Johannesburg
Soweto is a city in its own right, with middle class suburbs as well as the shanty towns that are usually shown on television; Orlando West is the main tourist district. Johannesburg has a bad reputation for crime, and locals will delight in telling you horror stories. However, if you stick to the tourist areas, don’t flash your cash, keep your car windows shut, don’t wander at night and generally employ common sense, you’ll be fine. The Cradle of Humankind, a stretch of caves on the outskirts of Johannesburg, will interest those who like fossils. The South African Lipizzaners are the only place outside Vienna where you can see these marvellous horses perform.
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