Here’s Your Ultimate Guide For Johannesburg

Johannesburg is South Africa’s biggest city, filled with rich history, diverse cultures, and some great hidden gems for exploring. Here is your safe, quick, and affordable guide for getting the best out of your Joburg experience.

Johannesburg is an extremely intriguing city, as less than a quarter of a century ago, South Africa was still ruled by a political regime that divided citizens by race, and Joburg – the city’s nickname – was considered to be a dangerous “war zone.” Today, the city has a new populace, as it is becoming a hotspot for exploration.


Apartheid Museum

Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa
Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo by Michael Schofield on Unsplash

For a thorough understanding of South Africa’s history and apartheid era, a visit to Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum is a must. The museum features a series of graphic yet informative exhibits that represent the government’s racial oppression. There are also a number of interactive exhibits where visitors are invited to work together to show their commitment to fighting racism. The museum has two entrances – one for whites and one for ‘non-whites’ – to denote the physical separations enforced during apartheid. The museum is very emotional but also necessary to help you understand what occurred during this period of time. There is a lot to digest, so if you do go, take your time and carve a few hours out of your day so you can give the museum the attention it deserves.

Mandela House

Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa

Mandela House
FACEBOOK Mandela House

Built in 1942, the Mandela House became the home for Nelson Mandela and his first wife, Evelyn Ntoko Mase, in 1946. The two divorced shortly after, however, Mandela continued to live in the quaint home and by 1948, Mandela’s second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and their two daughters joined him until Mandela was forced to leave his family during the anti-apartheid movement. The property has now been converted into a museum, including: family belongings, photographs, original furniture, degrees, and awards given to the former president. This stop will provide insight into South Africa’s most famous politician.

Gold Reef City

Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa

Gold Reef City
FACEBOOK Gold Reef City

Located right across from the Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City is a diverse entertainment destination that is reminiscent of the area’s gold rush past. The resort offers a variety of entertainment for both the young and young at heart including: two 3-star hotels, a theme park, state of the art casino, a spectacular theater with live productions, and a number of delicious restaurants.

Cradle of Humankind

South Africa

Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind, Johannesburg
Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind, Johannesburg. Facebook Photo

Declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1999, the Cradle of Humankind is nicknamed the birthplace of humanity – where some of the world’s earliest life forms have been found. There are two main sights – Sterkfontein caves and Maropeng. Sterkfontein is where two of the earliest ancestors of the human race were found and you’re also able to explore inside the caves. Maropeng is the visitor’s center which includes an interactive description of how the world began. Although it’s located about an hour and a half away from the city, the surrounding region of Gauteng is one of the best day trips from Johannesburg.

Carlton Centre

Carlton Centre, 150 Commissioner St, Marshalltown, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa

Carlton Centre
FACEBOOK Carlton Centre

This 50 story building in downtown Johannesburg will give you a 360-degree view of the city below. Known as the top of Africa, the Carlton Centre is the tallest building on the continent at 731 feet, or 223 meters. It was once home to the prestigious Carlton hotel with quite the famous guest list. The hotel closed in the 1990s but continues to be a great spot for visitors to see some amazing views.


Cube Tasting Kitchen (Est Est Alea)

Shop 5, Parknorth Heights, 17 4th Avenue, Johannesburg, 2193, South Africa

Cube Tasting Kitchen
Cube Tasting Kitchen. Instagram

This local neighborhood restaurant offers what some might call an unconventional dining experience as the kitchen serves a pre-fixed, 10-course tasting menu served over the time span of no less than three hours. Serving only 30 guests at a time, this format plays into the owners’ vision of dining as a community.

The Local Grill (Parktown North)

40 7th Ave &, 3rd Ave, Johannesburg, 2193, South Africa

The Local Grill
FACEBOOK The Local Grill

If you are a meat lover, The Local Grill is calling your name as you are going to be spoiled with plenty of choices. Meat is sourced from the best local producers, aged on the premises, and cut to order. Kitchen tours are offered at this location if you are interested in learning about cooking and agifng methods, and meat cuts.

Tasha’s (Rosebank)

Shop G28, The Zone, Oxford Rd, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa

Tasha's Café, South Africa
Tasha’s Café, South Africa.  Instagram

Tasha’s is a prominent chain of eateries located throughout South Africa established by Natasha Sideris – a household name in the country’s cooking industry. The Rosebank café offers a range of simple but delicious and fresh bites, including: salads, sandwiches, omelets, and quesadillas. Each café has its own aesthetic, and the one located in Rosebank, Johannesburg provides the perfect relaxing yet delightful ambiance.

The Great Eastern Food Bar

The Post Office Centre, 30 Rudd Rd, Illovo, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa

The Great Eastern Food Bar
FACEBOOK The Great Eastern Food Bar

This restaurant is the perfect location for vegans/vegetarians, or large parties. This restaurant offers a variety of small plates, easy to share, including their famous hot and spicy vegetable gyoza dumplings, sashimi tacos, and the crispy scallion pancake with kimchi pickle. A few vegan options include cauliflower nuggets, and marinated tofu. The intimacy of the small space allows for the perfect casual yet energetic vibe, perfect for dinner or lunch with friends or family.


19 4th Ave, Parktown North, Randburg, 2193, South Africa

Coobs Restaurant, Johannesburg
Coobs Restaurant, Johannesburg. Instagram

This eatery celebrates and features natural, local produce in a relaxed bistro aesthetic. The food is 100% home-cooked, and ¾ of the food served comes from the restaurant’s organic farm in Magaliesberg. The menu has simple classics like baked bread, fish, salads, and steak, but the churros and other desserts are particularly delicious if you have a sweet tooth.


The Living Room

20 Kruger St 5th Floor 2001 Johannesburg, South Africa

The Living Room, Rooftop Bar
The Living Room, Rooftop Bar. Instagram Photo

The Living Room is a rooftop bar, situated in the precinct of Maboneng. It’s more relaxed and laid-back than your classic nightlife one. It’s great for a boozy brunch or a nice drink on a Sunday afternoon, as the food is tasty and pairs well with their signature drinks!

The Landmark Cocktail Bar

Cnr William Nicol & Ballyclare Dr Bryanston Shopping Centre, Bryanston, Sandton, 2021, South Africa

Landmark Cocktail Bar
Landmark Cocktail Bar. Instagram

The Landmark Cocktail Bar is a richly decorated bar that draws inspiration from Johannesburg’s most famous landmarks like the Public Library and the Rand Club. Similarly, their extensive cocktail menu is inspired by Joburg’s great landmarks, like the JAG (Johannesburg Art Gallery) cocktail, made with rum, basic, Crème de Cacao, and fresh lime and pineapple juice.

Mad Giant Brewery

1 Fox St, Ferreiras Dorp, Johannesburg, 2048, South Africa

Mad Giant Brewery
Mad Giant Brewery. Facebook

If you are in Joburg, you would be missing out if you didn’t come to this huge craft brewery filled with amazing wall art. Craft beer is made on the premises and available on tap and there is also a nice selection of food ranging from appetizers to desserts. Mad Giant Brewery’s Killer Hop Beer won the best beer in Africa.


Neighbourgoods Market

Juta Street

Located on Juta Street in the Braamfontein neighborhood, this semi-outdoor market is really fun. Shopping at Neighbourgoods is a great way to support local, small businesses while eating oysters from Namibia and drinking craft beer.

44 Stanley

44 Stanley Ave, Braamfontein Werf, Johannesburg, 2092, South Africa

44 Stanley, Johannesburg
44 Stanley, Johannesburg. Instagram

This garden courtyard is a hidden gem for unique and independent boutiques as well as chic restaurants. You can find custom leather bags, exquisite Belgium chocolate, vintage records, and local clothing, all with a South African twist.

The Zone

177 Oxford Rd, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa

Located in Rosebank, The Zone has a great, diverse collection of stores, drinking spots, restaurants, and even an arcade. This energetic environment won’t have you bored and is great for meeting up with friends.


Thaba Eco Hotel

Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, 46 Impala Rd, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa

Thaba Eco-Hotel, Johannesburg
Thaba Eco-Hotel, Johannesburg. Facebook

This eco-friendly hotel surrounded by the Southern Johannesburg metropolis, is situated in the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, having an abundance of indigenous trees, wildlife, plants, and birds. With world-class facilities, a luxury spa, and breathtaking sceneries, Thaba provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience while also reducing its carbon footprint.

The Residence Boutique Hotel

17 4th Ave, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, 2198, South Africa

Residence Boutique Hotel, Johannesburg
Residence Boutique Hotel, Johannesburg. Facebook

This five-star boutique hotel is one of a kind that is an elegant and luxurious environment, welcoming for all guests. With 18 designer suites providing privacy and comfort, guests can relax and take in the views of the garden, tennis courts, and pools.

Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg

67 Jan Smuts Ave, Westcliff, Johannesburg, 2132, South Africa