Who would have thunk it, there is actually stuff to do in Joburg and surrounds… Well let us give you a quick glimpse of the many attractions we here at Past Experiences like to take you guys…
We love to tailor-make tours and events and any of the below options can be included. So take a look and let us know what you are interested in visiting and let us put together a tour for you!
Nestled in the Cradle of Humankind we find the Sterkfontein Caves, home to more than 50% of the world’s hominid fossil finds which date back more than 4-million years to the birth of humanity. Probably the most important and most famous of these fossils are “Mrs Ples”, a 2.1-million-year-old Australopithecus skull, and “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton that is more than 3-million years old! This attraction is kid-friendly!
Maropeng Visitors’ Centre
The Maropeng Visitor Centre is a definite must see! This world-class exhibition focuses on the development of humans and our ancestors over the past few million years. Discover forgotten fossils; learn how humankind was born, view ancient stone tools, and walk in the footsteps of hominids. This attraction is kid-friendly!
Combining cutting edge technology with the creative vision of South Africa’s foremost artists, Past Experiences and the Origins Centre will take you through a startling journey of discovery. We’ll introduce you to South African archaeology and determine how early art, culture and rituals have shaped us into the people we are today.
Gold Reef City
For a winning combination of fun, thrill and history, join us on a trip to Gold Reef City. This destination is brimming with experiences for all ages as we delve into a comprehensive and colourful depiction of mining life at the turn of the nineteenth century. Later we take time to enjoy the world-class theme park.
Emotive exhibits comprising of film, photographs, text panels and artifacts illustrate the events and human stories that led to the dramatic rise and fall of apartheid. The Apartheid Museum should be visited by anyone wanting to understand and experience apartheid South Africa.
Walk through the Old Fort Prison complex and discover the stories that these century old walls have to tell. From the Treason Trialists, striking mineworkers and youths caught in the Soweto Uprising, to the incarceration of Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela, Constitution Hill is steeped in history.
Take a step back in time as we journey through Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and the rest of Africa. Host to several rich collections of historical and archaeological finds, Museum Africa takes a unique approach to their main displays which you will find intriguing. The museum also houses The Geology Museum, one of Johannesburg’s oldest museums and resource centres, opened to the public in 1898, and The Bensusan Museum of Photography with a stunning collection of both photographic equipment and prints. Museum Africa is free to the public.
Wits Art Museum (WAM)
One of the most exciting attractions to have opened in the Inner City of Joburg in recent months WAM houses the University of the Witwatersrand’s (Wits) art collection. It also plays host to numerous temporary exhibitions. This is definitely worth a visit!
The Bus Factory/ Unity Gallery and Artist Proof Studio
A favourite of the Past Experiences team the Bus Factory Building in Newtown is where much of Joburg’s regeneration takes is planned and executed from. It also houses a number of fantastic Inner City craft, jewellery and art projects. Visit the Bus Factory with us and you will definitely keep on going back!
Johannesburg Art Gallery
Situated in Joubert Park, one of the oldest parks in the inner city, the Johannesburg Art Gallery is the largest gallery on the sub-continent. International works by Dante, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Henry Moore adorn the walls of this must-see gallery. For a local flavour, join us as we feast our eyes on traditional art and artifacts as well as the collections of Gerard Sekoto, Alexis Preller, and Maud Sumner to name a few. The gallery also sells a very wide variety of art books from all their shows along with beautiful curios and posters and postcards.
70 Juta Precinct
One of our favourite areas of regeneration and home to some fantastic coffee shops, galleries, shops, bars, an Inner City Beach (yes you heard us correctly) and a FANTASTIC saturday market! This is a must do attraction!
Arts on Main and the Maboneng Precinct
An Inner City Precinct full of restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, a movie theatre and much more, this is a great spot to include on the tour that you take with Past Experiences! Oh and it has a great Sunday Market.
KwaZulu Muti – Museum of Man and Science aka The Muti Market
If you want to learn about the beliefs and traditions of different African cultures, then a visit to this world famous Muti Market is a must. Enter this world and explore the different herbs and traditional remedies. The bones might even be thrown for you, the ancestors consulted and a diagnosis given. The shop welcomes visitors and also sells a huge variety of locally produced craft and artifacts, our favourites are the walking sticks, pottery and Swazi materials.
Adler Museum of Medicine
This is just what the doctor ordered. From early medicine in South Africa and the influences from the West to ancient Eastern antidotes and traditional South African Sangomas, the Adler Museum has it all. Housing over 40 000 pieces illustrating the history of medicine in all it’s forms, this museum will capture the imagination and teach you something new every time you walk through it’s doors.
With over 2000 animals covering 54 hectares, the Johannesburg Zoo is an adventure waiting to happen! Founded in 1904 on a piece of land donated to the public by the firm of the late Hermann Ekstein, the Zoo and neigbouring Zoo Lake has been at the centre of Johannesburg recreation for 107 years. Do look out for special events such as interesting late night tours and zoo sleepovers and also festivities for the whole family usually around school holidays and christmas. We are also proud to say that Johannesburg Zoo is considered to be one of the most ‘animal-friendly’ zoos in the world!
The Ditsong National Museum of Military History
A true relic of the past, it’s here that we uncover the history of all military conflict in which South Africans have played a part. The museum’s displays not only reflect historical aspects but also illustrate technological development in warfare. Bring your history books to life and join us for a tour. The museum also home to a German ME 262 twin seater fighter plane, the only existing craft of its kind in the world
Settled in the bustling Johannesburg central business district, standing tall against the African sky is the Carlton Centre. At 223m tall it is the tallest building in Africa and only 3m short of featuring in the world’s top 100 skyscrapers. The viewing deck on the top floor offers panoramic views of Johannesburg and Pretoria and the mall downstairs is still one of the best places to shop in the city! Now owned by Transnet, the bulk of the building still functions mainly as office space.
Regina Mundi Church
Soweto’s largest Catholic Church has not only been a spiritual safe haven for thousands of Sowetans, it has also played a critical role in the township’s history of resistance against apartheid during which the church served the whole christian community, becoming non-denominational during the Soweto Uprising in 1976. Join us as we uncover the scars and successes that this monument to the community has to tell. You can also visit an amazing permanent photographic exhibition upstairs in the church which shows a number of world famous struggle era images depicting life during the dark days of apartheid and beyond.
Hector Pieterson Memorial
On the 16th June 1976 a peaceful student protest march turned into a nightmare when police started firing rubber bullets and live amunition into a crowd of marching youths. We take a trip back in time and examine how this horrific event captured the attention of people throughout the world, highlighting the injustices of apartheid, and changed the course of South African history. The memorial was named for Hector Pieterson, possibly the most iconic victim of the South African freedom struggle.
Visit the home of former South African President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and his family from 1946 into the 1990s. Mandela House is an ideal narrative in terms of Madiba’s life, both in the context of his home, and in the context of his life and beliefs as a whole. The space also heavily emphasises the roles that Winnie and the rest of the family played in Soweto and the world as this home was where the children grew up while President Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island rather than a space that they all shared continuously. We found this house to be one of the most informative museums in Johannesburg relating to the lives of Sowetans during the anti-apartheid struggle.
Commemorating the Great Trek and the Battle of Blood River, the Voortrekker Monument is one of the top ten cultural historical visitor attractions in South Africa. Built by Gerhard Moerdijk and inaugurated on 16 Dec 1949 this monument is still used today on that date to remember The Vow made by Voortrekkers at the battle of Blood River by means of a Cenotaph which is lit by the sun only on that day. Our visit also includes a tour of Fort Schanskop, the Anglo-Boer War Museum, the Heritage Gardens and much more. Ideal for school tours!
Expect to find an abundance of cultural and historical information around every corner at the Transvaal Museum. Who knows, you might even bump into Johannesburg’s oldest resident Mrs Ples? From the Hall of Life and the Hall of Mammals to the Austin Roberts Bird Hall and the GeoScience Museum this is natural history at its best! The museum was opened in 1892 by the Kruger government and still stands opposite the Pretoria City Hall immediately recognisable by the giant whale skeleton outside the musum’s main entrance.
The lives of one of South Africa’s most influential and interesting leaders, Jan Smuts and his iconic wife known as Ouma are explored at this beautiful country venue. The prefabricated house started it’s journey in Britain, then to India and finally brought to South Africa where it served as an officer’s mess during the Anglo-Boer War after which it was bought by Smuts who ended up living in this semi-permanent dwelling until his death. Displayed in the museum are artefacts relating to Smuts’s life and political career both in SA and abroad but also a huge collection of items that belonged to the family. What a lovely visit!
This pristine Victorian residence was named after the famous Melrose Abbey in Scotland. Now a museum, Melrose House dates back to the Anglo-Boer war when Lord Roberts requisitioned it as the headquarters of the British forces, after the invasion of Pretoria in June 1900 and later the Peace Treaty of Vereeniging which ended the Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902) was signed in Melrose House on 31 May 1902. Steeped in history, Melrose House takes you back to Victorian times in South Africa. Absolutely worth a visit as this collection of Victorian items is one of the finest in Gauteng.
Sammy Marks House
Dating back to 1884, this gracious Victorian mansion was the residence of the magnate Sammy Marks. Now a museum, guests can enjoy themselves as they wander through the only Victorian mansion in the country with its interior preserved intact and wholly authentic. From exquisite furniture, paintings and silverware to the details of Sammy’s contribution to the development of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, a tour through Sammy Marks House is guaranteed to impress.
Built at the highest point of South Africa’s capital city, Pretoria, the Union Buildings represent a decadent layer of South Africa’s history. The buildings form the official seat of South Africa’s government and houses The Presidency as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs architecturally decided through the unification of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek and the British government in 1910. This architectural marvel and its spectacular gardens are a “must see” when visiting Pretoria.
If you like to arrange a visit to one of these sites, click here