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Museums & Attractions

Gauteng offers the visitor a variety of museums and tourist attractions, covering a wide range of interests - cultural and natural history, politics, paleontology, military history, gold and diamond mining, photography and wildlife. Select one of the options listed, or take a "Go-as-you-Please" tour and include as much as you wish in the time available. 

Apartheid Museum & Constitution Hill

WACH
DURATION:
5 hours
AVAILABILITY:
Daily – except on New Years Day, Good Friday & Christmas Day (ALSO SEE ENTRANCE FEES BELOW)
PICK-UP TIME:
Any time between 8:00am and 1:00pm except Wednesdays - 8:00am only
MEALS:
Not applicable
ENTRANCE FEES:
Included – guided tour at Constitution Hill, self-guided tour at Apartheid Museum (PLEASE NOTE - not all attractions on this tour are open every day. Constitution Hill will be closing early on 24th & 31st Dec 2016 and will be closed on 25th & 26th Dec 2016 and 1st January 2017)

The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg is regarded as the pre-eminent museum in the world dealing with 20th century South Africa, at the heart of which is the story of apartheid. The Museum opened its doors in 2001 and here visitors can embark on a historical voyage of discovery, a personal exploration of the past that examines apartheid right up to the first democratic elections held in 1994. The self-guided tour of the museum lasts approximately two hours.

 

The Constitution Hill precinct is bordered by the inner-city neighbourhoods of Braamfontein and Hillbrow. It is here that South Africa's new Constitutional Court opened in March 2004. The new court building is, most appropriately, established on the site of the Johannesburg Fort, built as a fortress in 1898 and later converted to one of the country's most notorious prisons - popularly known as "Number Four". The Fort closed its doors in 1983. Your visit here includes the museum that has been established in the old prison and will bring home the significance of this development and what it means for the future of Johannesburg.

    Gold Reef City

    WGRC
    DURATION:
    5 hours - PLEASE REFER TO TOUR DESCRIPTION FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION
    AVAILABILITY:
    In season (Gauteng school holidays) - Monday to Sunday. Out of season - Wednesday to Sunday. Closed on Christmas Day.
    PICK-UP TIME:
    Any time between 8:00am and 1:00pm. The guided tours at Gold Reef City commence every hour on the hour from 9:00am to 3:00pm.
    MEALS:
    Not included
    ENTRANCE FEES:
    Included

    PLEASE NOTE:

    The following rules apply to the underground tour to ensure the safety of our guests:
    * Pregnant woman and children under 6 years of age are not permitted to go underground;

    * Visitors with the following conditions are not permitted to go underground: Claustrophobia; High or Low Blood Pressure; anyone with any walking defect such as an artificial foot or leg; anyone who recently had major surgery or anyone who has ever had heart bypass surgery; anyone who suffers from Asthma, or anyone who is visually impaired;

    * Visitors may not be barefoot when doing the tour, shoes must be worn at all times;


    The name Johannesburg is synonymous with South Africa's gold-mining industry, after all, this is the city that was founded way back in 1886 as a miner's village on the Witwatersrand goldfields. Today, the Gold Reef City theme park and museum - built around the original No.14 shaft of Crown Mines - recreates the city of Johannesburg as it was during the early days of the gold rush.

     

    On arrival you will meet your guide, who will conduct your tour through the complex. You'll delight in the myths and magic of gold, the glimpse into the lifestyle of those early pioneers, the excitement of traveling 220 meters (720 feet)below the surface to see first-hand how precious gold is extracted from the earth. Watch the liquid yellow metal being poured into ingots. Enjoy the remarkable recreation of Victorian Johannesburg and the legendary characters that featured in the world's greatest gold discovery. A stunning experience, not to be forgotten!

      The Elephant Sanctuary

      WELS
      DURATION:
      5 hours
      AVAILABILITY:
      Daily
      PICK-UP TIME:
      8:45am and 12:45pm
      MEALS:
      None
      ENTRANCE FEES:
      Included

      In the early 1900's, the Magaliesberg were rich in wildlife and home to abundant elephants. As a result of pressure by man, this sensitive animal disappeared from the landscape. One hundred years later the elephants have returned to this area, to a special place in the heart of the beautiful African bushveld. Nestled in the Magaliesberg Mountains only one hour from Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Elephant Sanctuary lies in a malaria-free area - the greater part within the Magaliesberg Nature Reserve. It is surrounded by natural indigenous bush and is home to impala, klipspringer, baboons, porcupine, caracal, leopard, a host of other small mammals, 350 bird species and of course, six magnificent African Elephants. Your visit will bring you close to these magnificent animals, an experience to cherish and remember forever!

       

      Guests are guided in small groups on foot through The Elephant Sanctuary. The guide will provide in-depth information and insight into African elephants. You will be introduced to the elephants in the mountain area, uphill walk approximately 200m, and here you will be able to touch and interact with the elephants. You will see the special relationship that the elephant handlers share with their elephants and become a part of it. Short walk with the elephants trunk-in-hand. See where the elephant sleep at night in their stables. Feed the elephants. On some hot days you may even see the elephants swimming.

       

      MORNING TOUR only (WELS-1)…………After the tour, enjoy lunch on the main deck overlooking the elephants. PLEASE NOTE - the restauarant is closed until further notice for renovations.

        Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre

        WCHC-1 or WCHC-2
        DURATION:
        6 - 7 hours
        AVAILABILITY:
        View full description for details
        PICK-UP TIME:
        View full description for details
        MEALS:
        Not included
        ENTRANCE FEES:
        Included – guided tour

        SPECIAL NOTES: 
        * Transfers to and from the Cheetah Centre are on a private basis, but on arrival visitors join a public tour commencing at either 8:00am, 8:30am or 1:30pm
        * Children under 6 years are not permitted on these tours                                    
        The De Wildt Cheetah Centre was established by Ann Van Dyk and brother Godfrey in 1971 with the aim of breeding endangered species. Since that time the Centre's efforts have resulted in the major achievement of breeding what was once a threatened species, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Over the years, over 750 cheetah cubs have been born at De Wildt - a dramatic contrast to the days when the cheetah population of South Africa was estimated at a mere 700.
        While the cheetah project was the base from which the Centre launched its conservation ethic, it soon widened to include other rare and endangered animals such as the wild dog, brown hyaena, serval, suni antelope, blue and red duiker, bontebok, riverine rabbit and vultures - including the very rare Egyptian vulture. Many of these have been successfully bred for later reintroduction into the wild, thus helping to repopulate areas where such species have disappeared or are no longer abundant.

        During 2000, as a reaction to the declining numbers of cheetah in the wild, De Wildt spearheaded the formation of the National Cheetah Management Forum which developed a national strategy for the protection of free-roaming cheetah. One action to come from the group, was the realization of the need for a national census of free-roaming cheetah. This census was begun in 2003 and continued for three years.

        The country of South Africa has awakened to the success of the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust. In 2002, its founder and director, Ann van Dyk, received the gold medal from the Wildlife and Environment Society; and that was followed, in 2003, by Ann being awarded the Chancellors Award from the University of Pretoria.

        Nestled in the foothills of the Magaliesberg in North West Province, the Centre is situated about one hour from Johannesburg and forty-five minutes from Pretoria. It is close to the Hartbeespoort Dam, a popular destination for day excursions from Pretoria and Johannesburg. During 2009 the centre was renamed the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre. This is an exceptionally interesting tour, providing the visitor with a unique opportunity to learn more about South Africa's fascinating wildlife - and the efforts to preserve it for future generations.

        TOUR WCHC-1
        AVAILABILITY: Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, daily in the afternoon
        PICK-UP TIME: 07:00 or 12:00

        TOUR WCHC-2
        AVAILABILITY: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings
        PICK-UP TIME: 06:30
        SPECIAL NOTES: This option is the same as tour WCHC-1 above, except that the cheetah run is added and the tour commences half an hour earlier.

        • Cheetah running
        • Safari vehicle on tour at cheetah centre
        • Cheetah mother and cub

        Cullinan Diamond Mine (surface tour)

        WCDM-S
        DURATION:
        5 hours
        AVAILABILITY:
        Daily. On Saturdays & Sundays, mornings only. Does not operate on Christmas Day, New Years Day & Good Friday
        PICK-UP TIME:
        08:30am (Daily) or 12:30pm (Mondays to Fridays)
        MEALS:
        Not applicable
        ENTRANCE FEES:
        Included for a private guided surface tour of the mine lasting +/- 2 hours

        SPECIAL NOTE: Children under 10 years are not permitted to join this tour

        When diamonds were first discovered in about 1888 in the river systems east of where Cullinan is today, a fascinating history began which led to the discovery of Premier Mine (now Cullinan Diamond Mine). The mine was discovered on a farm called Elandsfontein, owned by Willem Prinsloo. Thomas Cullinan bought the farm and soon after, in 1902, the Premier Diamond Mining Company was registered. Prospecting began without delay and mining began the following year. In 1905, one of the greatest events in diamond history took place when an enormous diamond, weighing 3106 carats, was found. It was named after Thomas Cullinan and still remains the largest diamond ever found.

        After the horror of World War 2 came to an end in 1945, Premier was reopened but took 10 months to pump out around four billion litres of water that had accumulated in the mine's 189m-deep pit over it's 14 dormant years. At this time Premier began its foray into underground mining and a prosperous new period had begun.

        In 1977 the Premier (Transvaal) Diamond Company was amalgamated into De Beers Consolidated and a breath of fresh air blew through the mine. More recently, in July 2008, the mine was bought by Petra Diamonds is still fully operational today.

        Cullinan is one of the world's most celebrated diamond mines and is renowned for producing many of the most spectacular diamonds ever seen, such as the Cullinan, Premier Rose, Niarchos, the Centenary and the Golden Jubilee.

        • Cullinan Diamond Mine - the "big hole"
        • Cullinan Diamond Mine - the winding house
        • Cullinan Diamond Mine - headgear
        • Cullinan - Jacaranda trees and historic mine worker cottages
        • Cullinan Diamond Mine is a working mine

        Cradle of Humankind

        WCOH
        DURATION:
        5 hours
        AVAILABILITY:
        Daily
        PICK-UP TIME:
        Any time between 8:30am and 12:30pm
        MEALS:
        Not applicable
        ENTRANCE FEES:
        Included – guided tour at Sterkfontein, self-guided tour at Maropeng
        Tumulus building at Maropeng

        PLEASE NOTE:

        AS FROM 1st APRIL 2016, STERKFONTEIN & MAROPENG WILL BE CLOSED ON MONDAYS.

        Visitors to Sterkfontein Caves must please wear comfortable shoes and leave handbags and other luggage behind. There are a number of tight spots and pathways to negotiate in the caves and it is not advisable to do the tour if you are claustrophobic. It is also not advisable for visitors who suffer from acute asthma or chest problems to do the tour, as the entry and exit requires climbing up and down stairways. 

        The Sterkfontein Caves were discovered in 1896 by an Italian gold prospector and are now regarded as one of the world's most important archeological sites. The caves lie in the Sterkfontein valley which, together with the nearby sites of Swartkrans, Drimolen and Kromdraai, make up the "Cradle of Humankind" World Heritage Site. Dr Robert Broom of the Transvaal Museum (Museum of Natural History) began excavations at the cave in 1936 and in 1947 discovered a well-preserved complete skull of a species of early man known as Plesianthropus Transvaalensis. This later became known as the famous "Mrs Ples".

        Your tour will start at the newly opened 260m² exhibition. This scientific exhibition consists of four large show cases which include life like models of hominids, a sabre tooth cat, a reconstruction of a mined cave vs. a pristine cave, cave formations and geologies, early life forms, fossils in general (mammals and homo), specific finds (like Mrs. Ples, Taung Child, Little Foot), details of fossilization, paleo botany and landscapes...

        From there you will make your way up to the limekilns, past the sundial and then underground into the depths of the caves. Beneath the dust of millions of years you'll see for yourself the resting place of some of the most important fossils ever found and you'll hear the magnitude of their significance to the world! After proceeding over the walkways to view the excavation which was Mrs. Ples's final resting place, the trip will continue past the fossil prep where scientists continue to investigate the clues to our past.

        About 10 km away from the Sterkfontein Caves lies the world class visitor facility of MAROPENG, which opened to the public in December 2005. The focal point is the Tumulus building, designed to look like an ancient burial mound from the front. The architecture is symbolic of the journey through the evolution of life that is presented in the visitor attraction and upon exiting after the tour, one looks back on a very modern structure. Maropeng also offers restaurants and a market place.

        The Tumulus contains a vast underground visitor attraction which tells the story of the Cradle of Humankind and brings to life the history of humankind in entertaining, educative and interactive ways. Within the visitor attraction lies an exciting 4-billion-year journey on an underground lake, through the elemental forces - water, air, fire and earth - dipping through waterfalls and real icebergs, into the eye of a storm, past erupting volcanoes and through the depths of the earth and emerging at the beginning of the world. From here, the journey continues through an experience highlighting the history of our world and humankind as a species, brought to life via audiovisual techniques, evocative sound effects, theme-park technology and theatrical displays. There are also real fossils on display at the visitor centre. Children will delight in the interactive elements of the exhibits, which encourage them to experience rather than just observe our development as a species and the underlying message of the unity of humankind.

        Your visit to the Cradle of Humankind will include a guided tour of Sterkfontein. Maropeng is a self-guided tour.

          Lesedi Cultural Village

          WLES
          DURATION:
          5 hours
          AVAILABILITY:
          Daily
          PICK-UP TIME:
          10:30am or 3:30pm
          MEALS:
          Included - lunch or dinner
          ENTRANCE FEES:
          Included
          Lesedi Cultural Village main entrance

          Lesedi African Lodge is a multi cultural village set amongst the pristine bushveld and rocky hills less than an hour's drive north of Johannesburg. Live the experience - experience the vibrant and colourful traditions of the Basotho, Ndebele, Pedi, Xhosa and Zulu people on a short tour, be part of traditional Africa for just a short while. You will never forget it!

           

          The morning program at 11:30 is known as the Monati experience and the late afternoon program at 16:30 is known as the Boma experience. Both experiences follow this programme:

          * Arrive in the car park to a vibrant traditional African welcome and a refreshing welcome drink;

          * Browse in the Ndebele village and African craft market where Ndebele murals decorate the walls and courtyard;

          * Attend a multi-visual theatre presentation on the history and origin of our peoples;

          * Guests are divided into smaller groups and taken on a guided tour of four homesteads - Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho and Pedi;

          * After a few drinks in the bar, guests and the families meet back in the Boma for traditional song and dance of all the villages. The dance culminates in communal dancing with the guests around the fire.

          * A Pan African Feast is served in the Nyama Choma restaurant with delicacies from North, East and Southern Africa.

          • Lesedi main entrance
          • The people of Lesedi
          • Lesedi - Zulu huts
          • Lesedi - dancing girls
          • Lesedi - Zulu warriors
          • Lesedi - married woman headdress. Photograph by Eugene Armer
          • Lesedi - visitors join in to learn the dance steps. Photograph by Eugene Armer
          • Lesedi - beaded necklaces and Ndebele dolls available in the market. Photograph by Eugene Armer
          • Lesedi - a variety of beadwork available in the market. Photograph by Eugene Armer
          • Lesedi - a nocturnal visitor to the marketplace! Photograph by Eugene Armer