Johannesburg
History & Heritage

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Our most recommended Johannesburg History & Heritage

Johannesburg and Soweto: Half Day Tour

1. Johannesburg and Soweto: Half Day Tour

Depart from your hotel, heading to the south west township of Johannesburg. Take a route through the Johannesburg south suburbs and see the sleek cars and spacious freeways. Next, discover Johannesburg city with its tall buildings, most of them built during the apartheid era, while you make your way to Soweto. Watch the beautiful scenery disappear as you enter Soweto. Pass through two iconic landmarks that used to generate power in the township of Soweto and are now normally used for bungee jumping. Drive through Soweto heading to the famous Hector Pieterson Museum with its dark history about the youth uprising in 1976. From here, drive through the township for sightseeing, and finally head to Mandela House Museum on Vilakazi Street. In the museum you will learn about the father of the nation, Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, who became a world icon. Finally, hop on back to the tour vehicle returning to your hotel. On route, you will pass through FNB stadium also known as Soccer City or The Calabash, which hosted the opening and closing matches of the 2010 World Cup finals.  

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Cradle of Humankind: Shared Half-Day Tour

2. Cradle of Humankind: Shared Half-Day Tour

Experience the Cradle of Humankind on a half-day tour from Johannesburg. Have the unique opportunity to learn about stones and bones and wine and dine in tranquil surroundings in this region in South Africa, which is approximately 90 minutes' drive from the Johannesburg city Centre. Explore the world’s richest hominin site and home to 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils as well as an area home to a diversity of birds, animals and plants, some of these are rare or endangered. Explore the caves on site including Sterfontein Caves where the 2.3 million year old fossil “Mrs Ples” was uncovered in 1947. Visit Maropeng Visitors Center, an exhibition full of fossils, tools and everything millions of years old. Back in Johannesburg, experience Sandton a well-known area in Gauteng and a main business hub. Sandton is known to be a wealthy and influential area where many of Johannesburg's top business men and women work, live and play. 

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Soweto: Bike Tour with a Local Tour Guide

3. Soweto: Bike Tour with a Local Tour Guide

This short tour will let you experience day to day life in the township. Meet your local tour guide and start the bike tour. You will be able to visit famous spots including Nelson Mandela's house, Archbishop Desmond Tutu's house, Vilakazi, Orlando stadium, and the Hector Peterson memorial. Learn about the incidents that happened on the fateful day of 16 June in 1976 when Hector Peterson was shot and killed by the police during the student protests. This tour includes a little bit of exercise and is eco-friendly. You get to cycle on the most famous street on the African continent, Vilakazi Street. Interact with locals and see how life goes in South Africa's most famous township. You will have the opportunity to support local small businesses on the way. You can bring small change or items that you would like to donate. 

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Johannesburg: Walking Tour of Hillbrow

4. Johannesburg: Walking Tour of Hillbrow

Get under the skin of this fascinating district with an expert guide who grew up in the area. Hear stories from the area's history, and learn about the personal experiences of your guide. Immerse yourself in a diverse neighborhood full of culture and history. Learn how a residential suburb became one of the most cosmopolitan places in South Africa. Hear how the area was a magnet for people from all over the world in the gold rush and the subsequent waves of migration from across the continent. Hear captivating stories from your guide, and then hit the streets to meet the locals. Visit landmarks like the Windybrow Art Center, the iconic Ponte Tower and Telkom Tower, as you experience firsthand this diverse and fascinating district.

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Johannesburg: Soweto Tour with Lunch

5. Johannesburg: Soweto Tour with Lunch

After being picked up from your hotel or residence in Johannesburg or Pretoria, listen to a quick pre-departure tour briefing from your guide before departing to Soweto (South Western Township). On your way to Soweto, pass by the National Football Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Cup 2010. Enter the Diepkloof area, where you will take a walk past vendors selling just about anything. Next, set off for the neighborhood of Orlando West and visit Vilakazi Street. Drive past the former home of Nelson Mandela and past the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Take the opportunity to read about the Soweto uprising on the 16th June 1976. On that tragic day, an innocent little boy called Hector Pieterson gave up his life and kick-started the liberation of South Africa. Then, pass by the Mandela House, giving you an opportunity to take photos of the father of Africa’s residence. Visits inside the museum are optional at an extra cost per person that is payable on arrival. Continue the Soweto tour by driving into one of the shanty towns, where you get to interact with some of the locals. By now you will have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly facets of Soweto include extreme poverty and wealth. Drive past the Soweto Campus of the Johannesburg University and end the tour with a view of the largest hospital in the world: Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

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Cullinan Diamond Mine & Pretoria Full Day Tour

6. Cullinan Diamond Mine & Pretoria Full Day Tour

Get a glimpse into a fascinating part of South Africa's history with a visit to the famous Cullinan diamond mines, operated for many years by the De Beers mining company. Take a trip to the mine which is situated 40km east of Pretoria in a town called Cullinan. The tour covers the history of the mine and geological processes that are responsible for the creation of diamonds. Learn about the discovery of the administrative capital known for it's Jacaranda-lined avenues, fascinating architecture and historical monuments such as Paul Kruger House, built in 1884.  Visit the Voortrekker Monument situated in Pretoria in a nature reserve - a monument that commemorates the history of South Africa and the history of the Afrikaaners. Whilst here also take a peek at the Union buildings with an experienced guide who will explain their history and function. 

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Johannesburg: Guided Bicycle Tour of Soweto with Lunch

7. Johannesburg: Guided Bicycle Tour of Soweto with Lunch

Embark on a fun and unique tour experience as you explore the urban complex of Soweto on a bicycle. Get to experience the township like a local. Get a glimpse of Hector Pietersen Museum, Mandela House and Tutu House. Start your cycling tour in Killarney, an up-and-coming tourist destination in Soweto. Learn how this township was created in 1904 and share the history of these neighborhoods. Ride to Mzimhlophe and visit Mzimhlophe Women's hostel. Continue to Mama Lilian Ngoyi's house, an anti-apartheid activist. Cycle to Hector Pietersen Museum where the Soweto uprising transpired which was one of the turning points of apartheid. This tour will get you closer to all the highlights of Soweto. See the Mandela House, where Nelson Mandela lived from 1946 to 1962. Imbibe a slice of authentic history on the world's most famous former prisoner. Then, pass by Tutu House on Vilakazi Street, where Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his family once resided. Talk about the Nobel Laureate's contribution to apartheid's downfall in South Africa. Give your feet a break by stopping for lunch. Taste South African sandwiches called kota before cycling back to the starting point.

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Johannesburg and Soweto Apartheid Full Day Tour

8. Johannesburg and Soweto Apartheid Full Day Tour

Be picked-up from your hotel for a full-day tour of Johannesburg, the Apartheid Museum and Soweto. Begin your explorations in the heart of bustling Johannesburg, the third largest city in Africa. Pass landmark buildings and structures such as the Hillbrow Tower, one of the tallest towers in Africa, the sky-scraping Ponte City, Sentech and Carlton Centre Towers, and the multimillion-rand Nelson Mandela Bridge. Stop at the Apartheid Museum in the south of the city that showcases the notorious system of racial discrimination that became synonymous with South Africa from 1948 until 1994. The museum has two entrances labelled ‘white’ and ‘non-white’ giving visitors a tiny taste of some of apartheid’s prejudiced rules. Learn about this system of racial classification inside the museum with harrowing personal testimonials and historical facts. Leaving the hustle and bustle of central Johannesburg behind, the tour will proceed to historical Soweto, an iconic South African township that experienced many student uprisings and much police brutality during the apartheid era. Visit the Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial, and see the house of Nelson Mandela. After an interesting and thought provoking day head back to your hotel on a comftable air-conditioned coach.   

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Pretoria: Pretoria City and Lion Park Tour

9. Pretoria: Pretoria City and Lion Park Tour

After morning pickup from your accommodation in Johannesburg or Pretoria, you’ll head out to the Lion Park. Your registered tour guide will take you on a tour through the Lion Park, a natural habitat only 45 minutes drive from Johannesburg. The park is home to more than 85 lions, including the rare white lion, among other carnivores like the cheetah, hyena, and wild dog. You’ll also make a stop at Cub World, where you can cuddle baby lions. Afterwards, you’ll head in to Pretoria for a city tour. The capital of South Africa, Pretoria is home to a bevy of historic sites. Visit the Union Buildings, headquarters of the South African government, and wander through the beautifully terraced gardens. Then it’s off to the Voortrekker Monument, which commemorates the Great Trek, a mass movement of Afrikaner Boers who resented British rule. Next on the itinerary is the Paul Kruger House Museum, which showcases artifacts related to Paul Kruger, the 3rd president of South Africa from 1883-1900. Before the tour ends, you’ll view some of the architectural standouts of the city, like the Ou Raadsaal, Palace of Justice, and Capital Theater. Afterwards, you’ll be driven back to your accommodation, having seen the urban and rural highlights of a vibrant capital city.

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Johannesburg, Soweto and Apartheid Museum Day Tour

10. Johannesburg, Soweto and Apartheid Museum Day Tour

Johannesburg, Soweto and the Apartheid Museum are the perfect destinations for learning about the City of Gold. Start the day by visiting key landmarks in Johannesburg city, starting with Constitutional Hill where you will learn about apartheid prisoners. Then, head deep into the city, driving through the tall buildings, most of them built during the gold rush period. The next stop will be Top of Africa where you can see the city from above and take photos. The Apartheid Museum tour is the next stop as you dig deeper into the dark apartheid history of South Africa. This will be a 3-hour tour of the museum before heading into Soweto township. On arrival, you visit Mandela House Museum and get a 30-minute guided tour into his former house before he was sent to prison. The Hector Pieterson Museum will give you some inspiration on the language resistance uprising of 1976. Next, will be a quick drive to the Regina Mundi Church to discover the importance during the apartheid era. Finally, drive by Orlando Towers and the World Cup Stadium to finish the tour.

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What people are saying about Johannesburg

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 228 reviews

This was an amazing tour of Soweto made special by our excellent guide "Rambo", who was very knowledgeable and cheerful. The tour was brilliant mix of informative, serious and fun and leaves nothing out. Bicycles are brand new and work well on the slight inclines of Soweto. Inspiring tour.

Samuel Abel was a very able n personable guide. He knew his subject well and made the afternoon fun and memorable. Thank you for the hospitality.

It was a very fantastic tour. The tour guide was very friendly and informative.

Was eye opening and very informative. The guide was friendly and accommodating.

Very nice driver! Flexible tour aligned to our wishes.