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Egoli, meaning the City of Gold. How to make the most of Johannesburg in one day is a challenge. There are many things to do and places to go in this city of contrasts and gold.

Whether it is a trip down in history, aimed at fun, we have it all attractively packaged in only one day. Let’s go!

Dress code: Comfortable shoes and casual clothing. Sunscreen lotion is a must in summer. If you don’t have a hat, the street vendors will be very keen to sell you one!

The time duration for each activity is a guide only and will vary from personal likes and dislikes.

Map Johannesburg South Africa

1. Apartheid Museum (2 hours)

The Apartheid Museum opens at 09h00 and is a good starting point to your 1-day holiday trip. You can pre-book a guided tour. Alternatively, ask for the headsets at the entrance and walk at your own pace. My personal preference is to use the headsets and meander at your own pace.

Shopping: On your way out you will find a small  and cozy souvenir shop. They have some quality coffee table books which will be a great conversation starter in your lounge!

Refreshments: The service in the coffee shop just opposite the souvenir shop was very good every time I’ve been. 

2. Gold Reef City (3 hours)

Only 550 m away in walking distance is Gold Reef City, an amusement park located on an old gold mine. The mine closed in 1971 and so a theme park was established around the gold rush during 1886.

Shopping: Novelty gifts, traditional clothing, and accessories.

Refreshments: There are many restaurants, making it an ideal lunch stop.  The restaurants tend to be a bit pricey, but the take-out places are more budget-friendly and can be enjoyed as a picnic on the lawn (preferably in the shade in summertime).

Photo: Gold Reef City

3. FNB Stadium, Soccer City (15 minutes)

This is where Nelson Mandela gave his first speech after his release from prison. It was also the venue for the first African World Cup in 2010.

The stadium, built in the form of a calabash or a Zulu clay pot, is a great Instagram photo opportunity only 5 km away from the Apartheid Museum and on route to Vilakazi Street.

Shopping: None

Refreshments: None

4. Curio Shopping at Vilakazi Street, Soweto (45 minutes)

Vilakazi Street in Soweto is another 9 km drive and spreads over approximately three hundred meters. Explore the different shops and street vendors. Don’t pay the asked prices – negotiate instead. You may find a similar item at a cheaper price down the street – thus, negotiate.

Shopping: African clothing, accessories, souvenirs, costume jewelry, hats, and many more!

Refreshments: There are many restaurants to choose from, buffet and a la carte.

5. Mandela House (20 minutes)

The highlight of Vilakazi Street is a visit to the house of former South African president Nelson Mandela. Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world that had two Nobel Prize winners as residents, i.e. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

Shopping: None

Refreshments: None

Let’s call it a day!

It is at this point that I recommend returning home to avoid the afternoon peak hour traffic. Alternatively, relax in one of the many restaurants over an earl dinner and return home after a delicious traditional meal.

Organized Tours In and Around Johannesburg

I’ve taken many international visitors on the same itinerary as suggested above, but if you feel uncomfortable doing the above excursion on your own, you can of course join organized tours.  For example…

Other Places Of Interest in Johannesburg

Wits University Origins Centre

  • Museum 
  • Exhibitions on the history of early humans in Africa, including ancient rock art, with audio tours.
  • Address: Yale Road &, 1 Enoch Sontonga Ave, Braamfontein.

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

  • Education center
  • Children’s interactive museum offering exhibits & workshops in science, technology & math.
  • Address: Corner of Miriam Makeba and Helen Joseph (formerly Newtown |, Helen Joseph Street.

Hector Pieterson Memorial

  • Museum
  • The Hector Pieterson Museum is a large museum located in Orlando West, Soweto, South Africa, two blocks away from where Hector Pieterson was shot and killed on 16 June 1976.
  • Address: 8287 Khumalo Rd, Orlando West.

Orlando Stadium

  • Multi-purpose stadium
  • The first-ever sports facility built for black South Africans in a residential area.
  • Address: Martha Louw St &, Mooki St, Orlando, Soweto

Orlando Towers

  • Bungee jumping center
  • Also known as the Soweto Towers, it is a colorful landmark popular for bungee and base jumping, and abseiling. The now decommissioned coal-fired power station was commissioned at the end of World War II and served the City of Gold for over 50 years.
  • Address: Chris Hani Rd, Klipspruit 318-Iq.

Rosebank Sunday Market

  • Market
  • Lively weekly rooftop market in a parking lot with craft and world food stalls, plus live entertainment.
  • Address: Rosebank Mall, 50 Bath Ave, Rosebank

Johannesburg flights, Accommodation, and Experiences

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.” —Robert Louis Stevenson