and Westcliff Heritage Trust (telephone: (011) 482 3349) offers
fairly easy walking tours that are around 3 hours
and cost around R 150. These can be guided or self guided (pamphlets
are available from Northwards, 21 Rockridge Road, Parktown, daily
from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm). The Mansions & Minor Masterpieces
walk investigates the stately Sir Herbert Baker designed mining
magnate homes of Parktown and the artworks that decorate them. From
Cliff to Forest starts at Westcliff (another historic suburb)
and ends in Forest Town, where the Zoo and Military History Museum
Pre History to Present covers the ancient Stone Age sites on Melville
Koppies, the Louw Geldenhuys farmhouse, the heights of
Northcliff, Emmarentia Dam and the Botanical Gardens. Departure
points differ depending on the tour chosen.
Walktours (telephone: (011) 444 1639) organises longer guided
walks, which take 4 to 8 hours and cost R 70 to R 400 per person.
Routes include Sophisticated Sandton, which explores
Africa’s richest shopping, business and residential areas,
Natural Johannesburg, which follows the Braamfontein
Spruit (stream) and Sand Spruit trails, Historic Johannesburg,
covering the Central Business District, 1st suburbs and Alexander
Township, and Johannesburg by Night, which includes
nocturnal Zoo animals, clubs and restaurants in Sandton, Rosebank
or Melville. Departure points change depending on the tour chosen.
The Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust puts
on irregular guided bus tours, such as Winsome, Wiley and Wonderful
and Magnates and Miners, each 90 minutes long, according to a quarterly
schedule. Departure is from Northwards, 21 Rockridge Road, Parktown.
Springbok Atlas Safaris (telephone: (011) 396 1053,
facsimile: (011) 396 1069) organises full or half day tours (pick
up from hotels) to Central Johannesburg, Soweto and Gold Reef City.
Prices for bus tours range from R 65 to R 150 per person.
Joburg’s Gay History Tour (telephone: (011) 717 4239, email
The gay Joburg tour takes in sites of past and present importance
to the struggle for gay rights in South Africa.
Helicopter Tours and Safaris (Telephone / facsimile: (012) 344
5435) offers helicopter flips over Johannesburg and surrounding
interesting sites, as well as game viewing for the more daring.
Flights (telephone: (011) 978 5625 or 5685) runs slow and low
champagne flights over Johannesburg, in older historic aircraft
– such as the SAA Junkers JU52. The 2 hour balloon tour costs
R 375 per person.
Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris (telephone:
(011) 705 3201-03) offers sunrise tours over the magnificent Magaliesberg
Mountains in a huge colourful hot-air balloon. The flight (R 1200
per person) lasts for about an hour and is followed by a fantastic
freshly prepared hot breakfast with champagne, upon landing. Balloon
excursions depart from the Balloon
Safaris Country Base in the Magalies River Valley, near Hartebeespoort
Dam, 65 kilometrtes (40 miles) north of the city.
for half day
National Botanical Gardens
Best kept secret may be one of those tired clichés
but it certainly applies to this spot, within a 1hour drive from
anywhere in Johannesburg. Against the backdrop of the stunning Witpoortjie
waterfall, this garden covers nearly 750 acres (300 hectares) and
includes both landscaped and natural veld (open savannah) areas.
The natural vegetation is an assortment of grassland
and savannah, including 600 naturally occurring plant species. There
is also the chance for people to see a breeding pair of majestic
Black Eagles nesting on the cliffs.
A restaurant (Café Clivia) is located at
the heart of the gardens, in the shade of 2 magnificent white stinkwood
trees. The gardens
(telephone: (011) 958 1750, facsimile: (011) 958 1752, email address:
situated on Malcolm Road, Poortview, Roodepoort, and are best accessed
by minibus taxi from Noord Street to Brits, or Rustenberg via the
R 47. Visitors should ask to be dropped off at Doreen Road. The
gardens are open daily from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm and cost R 10.
Johannesburg Lion Park
This is a 500 acre (200 hectare) lion reserve and
breeding research station, featuring over 60 lions (including a
pair of the famous white lions on loan from Johannesburg Zoo). Other
animals include black gemsbok, wildebeest, impala, blesbok, zebra
and ostrich. The
Lion Park (telephone: (011) 460 1814, email address: email@example.com)
is situated off the R55, between the R512 and Cedar Avenue, Nietgedacht.
The majority of Johannesburg travel agents offer guided tours. It
is open daily 8.00 am to 4.40 pm and costs R 75 per car for independent
Excursions for a whole
Cradle of Humankind
This 47,000 hectare (117,500 acre) site, surrounding Sterkfontein,
Swartkrans, Kromdraai and the environs, starting 35 kilometres (22
miles) northwest of central Johannesburg and extending for another
20 kilometres (13 miles), was announced a UNESCO World Heritage
Site in December 1999. Dozens of limestone caverns, predominantly
the Sterkfontein Caves, have produced findings as outstanding as
Mrs Ples (the 1st complete Australopithecus (southern ape man) skull
to be discovered) and more recently, Little Foot, a 3.3 million
year-old hominid skeleton.
The heritage area also encompasses hiking and horse
trails, a Rhino and Lion Park,
a cathedral-esque show cave, craft
centres and the remnants of the Witwatersrand’s first goldmine.
The Cradle of Humankind Exhibits (telephone: (011)
355 1348, facsimile: (011) 333 0667) are best reached by car or
on a guided tour. However, it is possible to get to the area via
minibus taxi from the Noord Street rank (visitors should ask for
Rustenberg and to be dropped off at Sterkfontein Caves). The caves
(telephone: (011) 956 6342) are open Tuesday to Sunday 9.00 am to
4.00 pm and admission costs R 15. The Rhino and Lion Park (telephone:
(011) 957 0109) is open weekdays 8.00 am to 5.00 pm and weekends
8.00 am to 6.00 pm and admission costs R 28. Kromdraai Conservancy
(telephone: (011) 957 0241) run the hiking trails at R 50 per day
per person, these must be arranged in advance.