In and around Johannesburg visitors can take in game viewing, hiking and history. So, if you are here for the holidays, enjoy these activities!
Combine a trip to the Ditsong National Museum of Military History in leafy Saxonwold with one of the walking tours (usually on Saturday afternoons) offered by the Parktown-Westcliff Heritage Trust in the nearby cliff-side suburbs, once inhabited by wealthy ‘randlords’ who made their fortunes in early mining.
A hike to the top of the Melville Koppies offers good views of the city and insight into the Iron Age through remnants of settlements located on the site. For a complete switch of pace, this venue can be coupled with a visit to Milpark’s eclectic 44 Stanley, a former factory space now hosting cool eateries, galleries and boutiques.
Tracing our origins
The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Krugersdorp with its visitor’s centre, Maropeng, and the Sterkfontein Caves, will keep visitors fascinated for a good few hours.
There’s the Big Five in the Dinokeng Game Reserve, without the long journey necessary to visit most game reserves. About 90 minutes from Johannesburg and just north of Pretoria, the reserve can be toured on a self-drive basis, or arrangements can be made with the private lodge operators who participate in the collaborative venture. En-route, a stop can be made at Freedom Park on a hilltop overlooking the capital, a heritage site that both commemorates the past and honours the process of reconciliation in present-day South Africa.
History and heritage
A combination of Liliesleaf in Rivonia, Sandton with the nearby township, Alexandra, makes a well-matched outing. Liliesleaf, now an impressive interactive museum, is the farm where the ANC leaders were captured in a police raid in 1963, resulting in the infamous Rivonia Trial. Alexandra presents a stark contrast to affluent Sandton, with sites of recent history and cultural highlights to take in.
In the city
Rejuvenation projects in the inner city are all the rage. Newtown, Maboneng, Fox Street Sheds and Joziburg Lane at One Eloff are all rehabilitated locations to explore that offer markets, food and unusual shopping. Not far from the city centre is the Oriental Plaza, for a distinctly Eastern eating and shopping experience.
In the vicinity of Hartbeespoort Dam there are many attractions and activities to enjoy. Boat cruises and water sports, horseback rides and quad bikes, the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre, a reptile park, cheese factory, elephant sanctuary, monkey sanctuary and strawberry farm are just some of the many facilities. The Harties Cableway is the must-do activity here, giving bird’s-eye views across the dam and the Magaliesburg.
For tourists finding themselves in the Fourways area on a Sunday, the Farmers’ Market opposite Montecasino is great for selecting food from over 100 stalls, and whiling away the hours on the picnic lawns, while live music entertains. Across the road is the Montecasino Bird Gardens, with over 60 species of birds in a walk-through aviary. The daily bird shows are well frequented.
Source: Michelle Colman. Image: lillyloompa.files.wordpress.com