THE APARTHEID MUSEUM
This Museum graphically portrays the apartheid story through photos, newspaper clippings, chilling personal accounts, artefacts and film footage. The thought-provoking exhibits take one on an emotional journey through South Africa’s history. Paths follow the country through decades of oppression to the birth of democracy. A minimum of at least two hours or preferably longer should be set aside to get the most out of a visit here. If one’s interests lie in learning more about South Africa’s struggle for freedom, the Liliesleaf Farm Museum, the former centre for the leaders of the liberation movement, should also be visited.
Another fascinating insight into South Africa’s history, is Constitution Hill, a former prison overlooking Johannesburg. Explore provocative exhibits at the Number Four museum, the Women’s Gaol museum, and the Old Fort museum. Together, the precinct once known as The Fort, forged a reputation for its ruthless treatment of political prisoners, passive resistors and common criminals. Former prisoners of fame include Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. The transformation of the old Awaiting Trial building is now the Constitutional Court of South Africa, a symbol of freedom that works to protect the rights of all the nation’s people. Visitors are welcome to attend hearings and watch the judicial process. Valuable insight into its rich history is offered by guided tours of Constitutional Hill.
GOLD REEF CITY
Within eight kilometres from the city centre, Gold Reef City takes you back in time to the gold rush days through a series of historical exhibits and thrilling theme park rides. Enjoyed by the entire family, this attraction hosts reproductions of buildings and businesses from the era. Tours of a disused shaft of the Crown Mines, one of the richest goldmines in the world, are also on offer.
SOWETO & THE MANDELA MUSEUM
Southwestern Townships, abbreviated and commonly known as Soweto, lies 20 kilometres southwest of Johannesburg and offers a journey into the soul of the fight for freedom. An area of planned segregation, black laborers were housed here many in shacks made of corrugated iron. The Soweto Uprisings of 1976 sought to overthrow the apartheid state and spread from here to the rest of the country making it the birthplace of the struggle for democracy
The Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum is a popular attraction for visitors. Honouring the brave students, some of whom were shot by police while protesting apartheid during the Soweto Uprisings, which includes the museum’s namesake, who was only 12 years old.
To take full advantage of the Soweto experience in the easiest and safest way, is via a full-day Soweto City and Apartheid Museum tour. It offers a knowledgeable guide, taking you into the shanty towns to meet the residents. It also offers the chance to visit the famous Vilakazi Street housing the homes of two Nobel Peace Prize winners, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela as well as explore the excellent exhibits at the Apartheid Museum.
THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND
The Cradle of Humankind is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most productive and important paleo-anthropological areas which is situated about an hour’s drive from Johannesburg. The Sterkfontein stalactitic caves form a top attraction which consist of six linked underground chambers with a lake at a depth of about 40 meters. View related exhibits and learn more about this fascinating site by stopping over at the Maropeng Visitor Centre. Furthermore, with the help of an expert guide, explore all the highlights on the Cradle of Humankind Tour from Johannesburg. This eight-hour excursion includes a guided visit of all the above as well as an open-vehicle game drive at the Lion & Safari Park.