30 Fun Things to Do in Johannesburg, South Africa | 2024 (with Photos)

Lara Mega

Lara Mega - Head of Content

Published: August 30, 2023

Hey! How’s it going? I’m Lara, and I’ve explored the vibrant city of Johannesburg extensively. With a passion for adventure and discovery, I'm here to share my top recommendations for an unforgettable experience in this dynamic South African city. Enjoy exploring Johannesburg and creating amazing memories!

Johannesburg, South Africa

Welcome to Johannesburg, the vibrant and culturally diverse city that encapsulates the essence of South Africa's rich history and captivating experiences. In this guide, we will explore 30 fun-filled activities that will leave you spellbound.

From exploring the fascinating exhibits at the South African National Museum and Apartheid Museum to immersing yourself in the awe-inspiring wildlife at Pilanesberg National Park, Johannesburg offers a kaleidoscope of adventures.

Delve into the city's past at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Constitution Hill and uncover the allure of Gold Reef City. Get ready to embark on an exhilarating journey through Johannesburg's unique blend of tradition, heritage, and modernity.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Apartheid Museum

Top Choice Hotel

Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa

Our Top Choice Restaurant


Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Cocoon Lounge

Best Time to Visit

Ideal weather, June to September, to visit Johannesburg.

Average Temperature

Mild winters, hot summers in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Transportation Options

Taxi, bus, train, car, bicycle, motorcycle, walking, ride-sharing.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Johannesburg, South Africa, is a vibrant and captivating city that is brimming with history, cultural diversity, and stunning natural beauty. One must-see recommendation is exploring the bustling neighborhood of Maboneng, where you can immerse yourself in the local art scene, savor delicious cuisine at hip cafes and restaurants, and discover unique boutiques and galleries. Another must-do activity is visiting the iconic Apartheid Museum, which offers a poignant and thought-provoking journey through South Africa's complex history, providing invaluable insights into the struggles and triumphs of the nation's past.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Valid passport
  2. Visa (if required)
  3. International driving permit (if planning to rent a vehicle)
  4. Comfortable walking shoes
  5. Lightweight clothing for warm weather
  6. Sunscreen and hat for sun protection
  7. Insect repellent
  8. Travel adapter for electrical outlets
  9. Local currency (South African Rand)
  10. Travel insurance

What Not to Miss

  1. Apartheid Museum
  2. Lion Park
  3. Soweto Township Tour
  4. Nelson Mandela Square
  5. Johannesburg Botanical Gardens
  6. Constitution Hill
  7. Cradle of Humankind
  8. Gold Reef City
  9. Johannesburg Art Gallery
  10. Maboneng Precinct

What to Avoid

  1. High-crime areas: Avoid venturing into neighborhoods with high crime rates, such as Hillbrow and Berea, particularly after dark.
  2. Flashy displays of wealth: Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or carrying valuable items that may attract unnecessary attention.
  3. Unmarked taxis: Be cautious of unmarked taxis as they may not be licensed or safe.
  4. Public demonstrations: Stay away from large public gatherings or demonstrations, as they can sometimes turn violent.
  5. Isolated areas at night: Avoid walking alone in isolated or dimly lit areas, especially at night.
  6. Poorly lit parking lots: Park your vehicle in well-lit and secure parking areas to minimize the risk of theft or vandalism.

These guidelines are meant to enhance personal safety and ensure a smoother travel experience in Johannesburg, South Africa.

1. The Apartheid Museum

Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum is a renowned museum located in Johannesburg, South Africa, dedicated to showcasing the history and legacy of apartheid in the country.

The Apartheid Museum features a range of interactive exhibits, including photographs, artifacts, and multimedia displays that provide visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the apartheid museum and its impact on South Africa.

In addition to the exhibits, the Apartheid Museum is also home to several art galleries that showcase the work of local artists, both past and present.

2. James Hall Museum

James Hall Museum

The James Hall Museum of Transport, located in Johannesburg, is a fascinating museum dedicated to preserving the history of transportation in the region. The museum features a collection of over 4000 items, including vintage cars, bicycles, trains, and airplanes.

You can explore the exhibits and learn about the evolution of transportation in Johannesburg and its impact on the city's development.

3. The Constitution Hill Human Rights Precinct

Constitution Hill Human Rights Precinct

The Constitution Hill Human Rights Precinct is a historic landmark located in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Constitutional Hill is home to the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the highest court in the country, and is a symbol of democracy and justice.

Constitution Hill is a former prison complex, which has been transformed into a world-class cultural and educational center.

You can take guided tours and explore the site's rich history, including the infamous Old Fort prison and the Women's Jail, where many political prisoners were held during the apartheid constitution hill era.

Today, Constitution Hill is a beacon of hope and reconciliation, and the Constitutional Court serves as a guardian of human rights and the rule of law.

The Constitution Hill Human Rights Precinct is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history and legacy of South Africa's struggle for freedom and democracy.

4. Have a Traditional African Meal in Soweto

Traditional African Meal in Soweto

Soweto, a township located in Johannesburg, is a vibrant and culturally rich community that offers visitors a unique taste of South African culture and history.

One of the best ways to experience the local culture is through traditional African meals, which can be found in many of the local restaurants and food markets.

These meals typically consist of a variety of meats, such as grilled chicken or beef, along with sides like pap, a maize-based porridge, and chakalaka, a spicy vegetable relish.

Eating traditional African meals in Soweto is not just a culinary experience, but also an opportunity to connect with the local people and learn more about South Africa's history and culture.

5. Art and Markets at Maboneng Precinct

Art and Markets at Maboneng Precinct

The Maboneng Precinct is a vibrant and trendy neighborhood in Johannesburg that is home to a variety of art galleries, markets, and shops.

The precinct has become a hub for local artists and designers, and visitors can explore the many galleries and studios that showcase their work.

6. Johannesburg Zoo

Johannesburg Zoo

The Johannesburg Zoo is a popular attraction that offers visitors the opportunity to see a variety of animals from around the world.

The zoo is home to over 320 species of animals, including lions, elephants, giraffes, African wild dogs, and many others.

In addition to the animal exhibits, the Johannesburg Zoo offers a range of activities and events, such as guided tours, educational programs, and feeding shows.

You can also enjoy picnics and other leisure activities on the zoo's sprawling grounds.

7. Sun City

Sun City

Sun City is a luxury resort and casino located just outside the city center. Sun City is a popular destination for visitors to Johannesburg, offering a range of activities, from world-class golf courses to water parks and wildlife safaris.

If you are looking for the chance to see some wildlife, you might also enjoy the Lion & Safari Park, which lies between Cun City and Johannesburg.

8. Gold Reef City Theme Park

Gold Reef City Theme Park

Gold Reef City Theme Park is a popular attraction that offers visitors a range of thrilling rides, shows, and attractions.

Gold Reef Theme Park is designed to resemble a gold mining town from the late 19th century, complete with period costumes and historic buildings.

In addition to the rides and attractions, Gold Reef also offers a range of restaurants and shops, as well as live performances and shows. You can also take a tour to learn about Johannesburg's rich gold mining history.

9. Visit Victoria Falls (Outside the City)

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, located on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, is a breathtaking natural wonder that can be reached from Johannesburg by air or road.

Many tour operators offer day trips or longer excursions to the falls, which are known for their stunning beauty and dramatic waterfalls.

Johannesburg Art Gallery

The Johannesburg Art Gallery is a notable museum located in Johannesburg, that houses a large collection of art from Africa and around the world.

The museum's collection includes paintings, sculptures, prints, and other works of art, with a focus on contemporary African art.

You can enjoy guided tours, workshops, and other educational programs that aim to promote understanding and appreciation of the arts.

11. Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens

Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens

The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens is one of nine National Botanical Gardens in South Africa, located in Roodepoort, near Johannesburg.

The garden is named after Walter Sisulu, a prominent anti-apartheid activist and politician who played a key role in the struggle for democracy in South Africa.

The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens is home to a wide variety of indigenous plants, including rare and endangered species.

In addition to its natural beauty, the garden also offers a range of amenities, such as picnic areas, hiking trails, and a restaurant.

Similarly, the Pretoria National Botanic Garden is also a popular attraction and another of the nine National Botanical Gardens in South Africa, offering visitors a unique opportunity to explore the country's rich flora and fauna.

12. Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves, known for its incredible biodiversity and wildlife.

While a day trip to the park is possible from Johannesburg, it is important to note that the park is located several hours away by car. Rather than trying to cram in a day trip, it is recommended to spend at least one night in the park, so you can wake up with the sunrise and see the animals at their most active.

During day trips or longer stays, you can explore the park's diverse landscapes and see a variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, and buffalo.

13. Market Theatre

Market Theatre

The Market Theatre in Johannesburg is a cultural hub that showcases the vibrant performing arts scene of South Africa. Established during the apartheid era, this renowned theater has played a significant role in promoting social justice and artistic expression.

With its diverse program of plays, musicals, and dance performances, the Market Theatre continues to captivate audiences with thought-provoking productions that delve into the country's history and contemporary issues.

Immerse yourself in the dynamic energy and creativity of the theater, and witness the power of storytelling as it unfolds on the stage of the Market Theatre.

14. The South African National Museum of Military History

South African National Museum of Military History

The South African National Museum of Military History is dedicated to preserving and showcasing military history.

The museum's collection includes a wide variety of military artifacts, such as weapons, uniforms, vehicles, and aircraft.

You can explore the museum's exhibitions, which cover different periods in South African military history, from the pre-colonial era to modern-day conflicts.

15. Lindfield Victorian House Museum

Lindfield Victorian House Museum

Lindfield Victorian House Museum is a historic house museum located in Johannesburg. The museum offers visitors a glimpse into the lifestyle and decor of a wealthy Victorian family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The house was built in 1904 and is filled with period furniture, artworks, and household items.

You can take a guided tour of the house and learn about the history of the family who once lived there, as well as the wider social and cultural context of the Victorian era.

16. Explore Nelson Mandela House

Nelson Mandela House

Nelson Mandela House, also known as the Mandela Family Museum, is a historic house located in Soweto, Johannesburg.

The Mandela House is the home where Nelson Mandela lived with his family from 1946 until the 1990s. Today, the house has been turned into a museum that showcases the life and times of Nelson Mandela and his family.

You can take a guided tour of the house and see many of the original furnishings and personal belongings of the Mandela family.

The museum also offers an insight into the struggles of the anti-apartheid movement and the role played by Nelson Mandela in the struggle for freedom and equality.

17. Rosebank Sunday Market

Rosebank Sunday Market

Rosebank Sunday Market is located in the vibrant neighborhood of Rosebank in Johannesburg.

The Rosebank Sunday Market is a bustling open-air market that takes place every Sunday and features a wide variety of stalls selling everything from handcrafted jewelry and clothing to locally sourced foods and artisanal goods.

Nestled in the heart of Johannesburg's Rosebank neighborhood, the Rosebank Sunday Market is a treasure trove of unique finds and vibrant experiences.

Every Sunday, this bustling open-air market comes alive with a diverse array of stalls, offering a mix of handcrafted jewelry, trendy clothing, and one-of-a-kind artisanal goods.

18. Wits University Cultural Precinct

Wits University Cultural Precinct

Wits University Cultural Precinct is a vibrant and dynamic cultural hub located in the heart of Johannesburg.

The precinct is home to a variety of museums, art galleries, theaters, and cultural institutions that showcase the rich cultural heritage of South Africa and promote the country's artistic and intellectual achievements.

19. Zoo Lake

Zoo Lake

Zoo Lake is a popular recreational area located in the suburb of Parkview in Johannesburg.

The lake is surrounded by parkland and offers visitors a wide range of outdoor activities, including picnicking, jogging, and boating.

One of the key attractions of Zoo Lake is its abundance of birdlife, with many species of waterbirds and other birdlife frequenting the lake and its surrounds.

You can also enjoy a meal or refreshments at one of the lakeside cafes or restaurants, or take a leisurely stroll around the lake and enjoy the scenic surroundings.

20. Museum Africa

Museum Africa

Museum Africa is a popular museum dedicated to showcasing the rich cultural heritage and history of South Africa and the continent as a whole.

The museum features a diverse collection of artifacts, artworks, and exhibits that tell the story of the region's history, from the pre-colonial era to the present day.

Some of the key attractions at Museum Africa include exhibits on Johannesburg's gold rush history, displays on the region's traditional cultures and lifestyles, and a range of contemporary art exhibitions.

21. Day Trip to Sterkfontein Caves

Sterkfontein Caves

The Sterkfontein Caves, located just an hour's drive from Johannesburg, are a popular destination for day trips and are recognized as a Provincial Heritage Site.

The caves are situated at the intersection of the South Western Township and the Northern Parkway and offer visitors the opportunity to explore one of the world's most important archaeological sites.

The Sterkfontein Caves are home to some of the most significant discoveries in the history of human evolution, including the discovery of the Australopithecus africanus, one of our early human ancestors.

22. Downtown Johannesburg

Downtown Johannesburg

Downtown Johannesburg is the bustling heart of the city and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the rich history and culture of South Africa.

The administrative capital area is home to an impressive collection of historical buildings and landmarks, including the administrative capital and the Liliesleaf Museum.

You can explore the area at your own pace, taking in the sights and sounds of this vibrant and diverse community.

Some of the key attractions in Downtown include the historic Carlton Centre, the iconic Hillbrow Tower, and the lively and colorful street markets that line the streets.

Overall, Downtown is a great place to experience the unique energy and culture of the city and to explore the history and heritage of South Africa.

23. Fourways Adventure Golf

Fourways Adventure Golf

Fourways Adventure Golf is a popular destination in Johannesburg for mini-golf enthusiasts, located in Ethel Gray Park.

The park is a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city and offers visitors the opportunity to unwind and enjoy a round of golf in a beautiful natural setting.

Nearby, Freedom Park is a historically significant attraction serving as a memorial and museum dedicated to South Africa's long struggle for freedom and equality.

24. Watch Cricket at Wanderers Stadium

Cricket at Wanderers Stadium

Wanderers Stadium is a world-renowned cricket ground located in Johannesburg. It has been hosting top-level cricket matches since 1956 and has been the venue for many memorable games over the years.

The stadium is home to the Highveld Lions franchise and has a seating capacity of over 34,000. In addition to cricket matches, the stadium also hosts concerts and other events throughout the year.

25. Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg National Park is a stunning wildlife reserve located in South Africa's North West Province, just a few hours' drive from Johannesburg.

The stunning Pilanesberg National Park is home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo) as well as a range of other animals, including giraffes, zebra, and various antelope species.

Visitors to the Pilanesberg National Park can take guided game drives to explore the diverse landscapes and spot some of the incredible wildlife that calls Pilanesberg home.

There are also a variety of accommodation options within the Pilanesberg National Park, ranging from camping and self-catering lodges to luxury resorts, so you can take a day trip from Johannesburg or spend the night.

26. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot Air Balloon Ride

A hot air balloon ride is a unique and unforgettable experience that allows you to see the world from a whole new perspective.

In Johannesburg, hot air balloon rides offer stunning views of the city's iconic skyline and the surrounding landscapes, including the Magaliesberg Mountains and the Cradle of Humankind.

You can enjoy a peaceful and serene flight as you glide over the city or countryside, taking in the breathtaking scenery from high above.

Hot air balloon rides typically last for around an hour and are available year-round, weather permitting.

27. Take a Guided Tour for Orlando West

Orlando West

A guided tour of Orlando West offers visitors a unique glimpse into the rich history and culture of this vibrant township.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Orlando West is home to several must-visit attractions, including the Old Fort Museum, Trampoline Park, and Women's Gaol Museum.

During the tour, you can learn about the struggles and triumphs of the township's residents and the significant role Orlando West played in South Africa's anti-apartheid movement.

Knowledgeable guides share fascinating stories about the area's history and culture, taking visitors on a journey through time.

28. Liliesleaf Farm Museum

Liliesleaf Farm Museum

When in Johannesburg, a visit to the Liliesleaf Farm Museum is a must for history enthusiasts. Step into this living museum, which played a pivotal role during South Africa's struggle against apartheid.

Discover the hidden stories and secrets of the liberation movement as you explore the restored buildings and exhibits that shed light on the clandestine activities that took place here.

The Liliesleaf Farm Museum offers a profound and immersive experience, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the country's turbulent past and the heroic efforts made to overcome oppression.

29. Trip to Cape Town

Cape Town

Cape Town is a vibrant city located on the southwestern coast of South Africa. It's known for its stunning natural beauty, including the iconic Table Mountain and pristine beaches.

The city is also rich in history and culture, with attractions like the historic Bo-Kaap neighborhood and the Robben Island Museum, where Mandela was imprisoned for many years.

Visiting Cape Town is a must-do trip from Johannesburg. Marvel at the breathtaking landscapes as you ascend Table Mountain on a thrilling cable car ride. Explore the vibrant streets of Bo-Kaap, renowned for its colorful houses and rich Cape Malay heritage.

Take a ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela's indomitable spirit prevailed during his incarceration. Unwind on the picturesque beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, or venture to the Cape of Good Hope for an awe-inspiring encounter with the rugged coastline.

Cape Town is very far from Johannesburg, so it is not possible to do this in a day trip - it is best to go for at least a couple of days.

30. Go On a Street Food Tour

Street Food Tour

Embark on a tantalizing street food tour and immerse yourself in the flavors and aromas of the city. Indulge in mouthwatering local delicacies such as boerewors rolls, bunny chow, and melktert.

Explore the bustling markets and food stalls, where you can savor dishes influenced by diverse cultures. Discover hidden gems and street vendors serving up delectable treats that reflect the vibrant culinary tapestry of Johannesburg.

A street food tour is not only a gastronomic adventure but also an opportunity to connect with the city's vibrant atmosphere and experience the local way of life.

FAQs Regarding Fun Things to Do in Johannesburg

Let's look at the most frequently asked questions relating to Fun things to do in Johannesburg.

What activities does Johannesburg have?

Johannesburg offers a variety of activities, including visits to the Apartheid Museum, Liliesleaf Museum, and Hector Pieterson Memorial, as well as fun and unique experiences like a trampoline park. If you are coming here with your kids make sure to take them to exhilarating theme park rides.

What is Johannesburg best known for?

Johannesburg is best known for its role in South Africa's history, particularly its involvement in the struggle against apartheid. You will find many historical exhibits to learn all about the city. It is also a great place to visit if you want to see some wild animals on safari.

How can I spend a day in Johannesburg?

If you have just one day in Johannesburg, you will have to decide if you would rather learn about history at the Apartheid Museum or head out to the Lion & Safari Park for a wildlife encounter.

It is recommended to spend longer in this great city so you can also visit Liliesleaf Farm Museum, see the Hector Pieterson Memorial, and even book an exclusive classic flight over Johannesburg for a romantic and intimate tour.

Which is more fun, Johannesburg or Cape Town?

Both Johannesburg and Cape Town have unique attractions and experiences that appeal to different interests. It depends on individual preferences and what they are looking for in a travel destination.

Summing Up: Fun Things to Do in Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa, is an extraordinary destination that seamlessly merges history, culture, and adventure. 

Whether you choose to explore the city center and its remarkable museums or embark on thrilling encounters with wildlife at Pilanesberg National Park, Johannesburg has something for everyone.

With its complex history and vibrant arts scene, this city offers a captivating blend of experiences. 

Immerse yourself in the magic of Johannesburg and create unforgettable memories of South Africa's diverse heritage and exciting attractions.