After decades of decline and decay, Johannesburg is a rapidly developing city looking towards its much brighter future.
South Africa’s biggest city and the country’s capital, it began as a gold-mining settlement which was discovered under sweeping savannah plains. Where once there was nothing more than vast grassy plains, it wasn’t until the late 1890s that the city was born. Despite its reputation for segregation and notorious crime rates, Johannesburg is a friendly, unpretentious city that is worth visiting for a few days. Not to be missed is the evocative Apartheid Museum in the southern suburbs, offering a sobering reminder of the country’s recent past.
Soweto is one of the most infamous urban townships in the world, housing an estimated four million people and is where you’ll get a taste of the real South Africa. While some of the suburbs appear affluent, others are a stark reminder of the violent civil unrest and poverty that has occurred as a result of the apartheid regime. Discover the communities up close on a bicycle tour, where you’ll learn about the troubled history of the region, mix with the locals and get to know what makes this area so unique.
Around 160 kilometres out of Johannesburg, you’ll find South Africa’s answer to Las Vegas, Disneyland and ancient Egypt all wrapped up into the one slightly gaudy package that is Sun City. Opened in 1979 as a getaway spot for wealthy white people, it is now open to all who are over the wildlife and scenery of Africa, and instead want a resort break with waterparks, golf, squash and a casino.
A short one hour flight from Johannesburg will get you to one of South Africa’s national symbols, the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Established in 1898, it’s nearly two million hectares of protected areas with an impressive number of tree, fish, amphibian, reptile, mammal and bird species. Not only does it have a breathtaking landscape of woodland, grassland and bushveld and the opportunity for plentiful wildlife encounters; you will also discover majestic archaeological sites and bushman’s rock paintings. With visitor numbers restricted, it’s best to book ahead on a tour or safari so you don’t miss out on South Africa’s must-see wildlife destination.
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