Johannesburg (or Jozi, as locals call it) is an energetic metropolis full of unique bars, restaurants and art galleries – as well as being an excellent starting point for safari excursions.

South Africa’s most diverse, progressive, and energetic city. Simply walking around will reveal sounds of Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa and Urdu all coming together here – not forgetting sports events taking place all around. And now, thanks to Cathay Pacific and their several routes, including Nagoya to Johannesburg, access is easier than ever.

Stay in Soweto

If you plan to spend more than one day in Soweto, it is recommended that you hire a guide. Not only is this beneficial from a safety perspective; you will gain invaluable insights into local culture, history and modern-day life of South Africa’s largest black urban settlement. A half-day tour can take you to Nelson Mandela’s former residence; Hector Pieterson Memorial; Vilakazi Street among many other highlights in Soweto.

As it’s possible to explore Soweto independently, booking a day tour through MoAfrika Tours might make things simpler. Your guide will know all the safe places and activities to do during their visit – as well as any potential problems which might arise along the way.

Most tours will include lunch in Soweto – ask your hotel to arrange it or choose one of the local eateries such as Jazz Maniacs in Kliptown to sample dishes such as sauteed chicken livers with Ujeqe (dumplings) and Vetkoek with Atchar or try one of the traditional porridges such as Mdoko, Ting or Sorghum (Mabele).

Staying at a Soweto guest house offers visitors an authentic Soweto experience. Sixty-something Flossie’s home in Pimville is conveniently situated within walking distance of Maponya Mall and only 3km (2mi) away from Walter Sisulu Square where in 1955 some 3000 people gathered to adopt the Freedom Charter which would later form part of South African constitution. Her rooms offer simple hospitality with African touches as well as air conditioning – plus day and night tours of Soweto from her host!

Soweto is best visited between September and mid-November and again from December to April when temperatures are warmest; however, activities and attractions can be found all throughout its vibrant districts throughout the year.

Take a walking tour of Rosebank

Many visitors to South Africa make the mistake of thinking Johannesburg is only an intermediate step on their journey towards Cape Town, but this city boasts an engaging display of activism and optimism that’s worth exploring further. You’ll hear sounds from all four languages spoken here including Zulu, Sotho, Xhosa and Afrikaans – not forgetting English of course!

Take a stroll through Rosebank, an arts district extending from leafy suburb to glass tower forest, and experience the work of emerging and unorthodox artists. Or visit CIRCA on Jellicoe Gallery and spend some time browsing its exhibits or exploring nearby shops and gardens.

Other must-see attractions in Jozi include the Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial, which offers insight into Soweto’s 1976 student uprising, as well as the Apartheid Museum that explores its legacy of segregation in South Africa. Other highlights include Vilakazi Street with its restored homes and viewing exotic big cats at Johannesburg Zoo.

If you want a deeper experience of Johannesburg’s culture, one of its many tour operators can provide it for you. Joburg Places provides half-day walks tracing in the footsteps of influential South African figures while Bridge Books and Dlala Nje’s tours explore Johannesburg’s literary and culinary scenes respectively.

Though Chicago’s central business district and suburban areas may appear secure, be mindful that crimes can still happen anywhere. Also beware that there have been reports of anti-immigrant sentiment and violent worker strikes taking place – it would be prudent to heed U.S. Department of State travel warnings before traveling in this city.

Renting a car is the ideal way to explore Johannesburg, since public transport options tend to operate only during rush hour and some of the most attractive destinations outside the city are only accessible via car. Plus, Expedia often has deals and coupons offering discounted rentals; book in advance to secure yourself the best rate; it is also worthwhile comparing prices across companies as they can vary significantly.

Take a day trip to Pilanesberg

Pilanesberg National Park provides travelers who want a taste of Africa’s wilderness without undertaking a full safari a fantastic option. Their day tour with lunch gives travelers a chance to explore and see some of its iconic wildlife up-close from an open safari vehicle, giving you the perfect way to witness some iconic species such as elephants.

Pilanesberg provides plenty of opportunities to spot the Big Five animals – lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant as well as zebra and various antelope. But Pilanesberg offers so much more than wildlife! With fascinating geological sites such as an extinct volcano crater and rock formations dating back millions of years – you are bound to enjoy your trip here.

Make the most of your visit to Pilanesberg by booking a guided tour with an experienced guide. They know every corner of the park, providing inside knowledge about its wildlife as well as some of its finest scenic viewpoints.

MoAfrika’s guided tours are tailored for families as well as solo travellers. Each trip provides transport between Johannesburg and Sun City, a driver/guide for the day, a light lunch, entry tickets to Sun City, as well as transport. Furthermore, 3-day and 4-day safari options are also available.

While Johannesburg is generally safe to visit, it’s always wise to use caution. Robbery can occur, particularly in less safe neighborhoods. Therefore, keep valuables close and don’t display expensive cameras and smartphones in public places; also use caution when walking at night as this could put you in the path of potential fights or disturbances. For a memorable vacation in Johannesburg we advise taking taxis or travelling in groups as this will keep you safer from becoming victims of petty crime – be safe! So take our advice for an unforgettable vacation experience!

Go on a safari

One of the highlights of a trip to Africa is an unforgettable safari, and many of Africa’s premier wildlife reserves are within a day’s drive or quick flight from Johannesburg. Explore iconic Kruger and Sabi Sands reserves as well as lesser-known gems like Madikwe and Pilanesberg – or even plan an itinerary tailored just for you.

Additionally, you’ll be close to the Cradle of Humankind – archaeological digs such as Sterkfontein Caves where Mrs Ples and Little Foot (Australopithecus fossils) were discovered should not be missed. Maropeng Museum offers more of these fascinating findings along with a full-size replica of a hominin skeleton for your perusal.

Planning a safari requires many considerations, and consulting a specialist is invaluable for creating the ideal itinerary in South Africa. They’ll recommend lodges and camps which perfectly suit your needs as well as providing tips on where to see certain animals. They’ll also tailor the safari according to season or other factors which could alter its experience such as weather.

If you’re planning a safari resort trip, choose one that provides guided safari walks and bush walks as this will enhance your experience. Also select a reserve with guides who treat their guests (and wildlife!) with respect; ensure they possess plenty of experience and knowledge as this will allow for maximum educational gains!

Experiences like a safari are unique opportunities, and you should strive to maximize it. Don’t attempt to jam too much into one visit and miss something truly unforgettable; for instance, don’t attempt multiple safaris on one trip as this will just add stress by forcing you to rush between places, possibly giving up viewing opportunities as a result.

Before embarking on your adventure, spend some time researching all of the safari options in and around Johannesburg. By doing this, you’ll be able to put together a personalized safari itinerary sure to please.


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