Places to stay in
Gauteng South Africa
'Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto and their
surrounds contain historic, cultural and social gems'
For many it is accepted as the heartbeat of the nation, Johannesburg and
its surrounds exude an energy that is difficult to capture in words. Perhaps
it is the relatively fast pace of its business sector along with the depth
of its past? Or maybe it's the cosmopolitan smelting of cultures from
around the globe? Whatever the magic, the hot spot of the nations past,
present and future is tied up in Gauteng.
Johannesburg, Egoli -
'place of Gold' - a name given to an area famed for its richness in the
precious mineral gold, but the wealth of Jo'burg goes much deeper than
its gold. It may have ben what drew thousands to its land long ago, but
today Egoli is rich in a hundred different ways.
A city of astonishing contrast, Jo'burg - or Jozi as it is fondly called
by some - is a hub of art, culture and history.
From its early days 120 years ago as a gold rush shanty town, Johannesburg
has shot up and earned a reputation for vibrancy and life. It is the third
largest city on the continent, surpassed in size by Cairo (Egypt) and
Lagos (Nigeria). The cosmopolitan spread has a blossoming art scene with
numerous galleries and dealers trading in art to satisfy all tastes -
from contemporary art to more grassroot 'township art' as well as more
traditional landscapes and wildlife paintings.
Newton - museums and culture
Billions of rands have been pumped into Newton in the inner city to make
it a first class, safe, cultural area and tourist attraction, it appears
to have been worth every cent. This area in the heart of Jo'burg is attracting
travellers and locals alike and is beating to the rhythm of a different
drum. What used to be the home of industry with the city's first power
station is now the heart of the city's arts community and hosts the Market
Theatre, Museum Africa, the Electric Workshop and several other cultural
hot spots. Museum Africa situated where the city's fruit and vegetable
market used to be is the country's major cultural history museum and bares
the heart and soul of the inner city. The displays capture fossil evidence
of stone and iron-age communities in the Jo'burg area as well as the first
white settlers. The museum holds the key to much of South Africa's history
as well as its current community and lifestyle.
Another museum in the Newton area is the South African Breweries World
of Beer. SABMiller is one of the largest brewing groups in the world and
here one can track the history of brewing and sample some of the delicious
and renowned brew!
An established part of Jo'burg's business and tourism draw-card are Flea-markets.
The numerous and varied flourishing markets feature all things African
ranging from masks and carving to jewelry, wire crafts, clothing, paintings
from around Africa and a myriad of African and other wares.
Here are a few of the main Flea markets:
The African Flea market -Rosebank Mall
Bruma Lake Flea market - Bruma
Crafters market - Fourways Crossing
East Rand Flea market - Boksburg
Market Theatre flea market - Newton Cultural precinct
Sandton and Nelson Mandela Square - Shopping
From shopping flea-market style to the luxurious upmarket hub of Joburgs
retail elite - Sandton City, in the heart of Jo'burgs northern suburbs
claims to be the ultimate shopping experience. With 290 stores under its
umbrella there is something for everybody. Local designer clothing such
as Jenni Button and Hilton Weiner, as well as international labels such
as Gucci, Diesel and DKNY, characterise this mall. Sandton City is also
linked to Nelson Mandela Square which is also a shoppers paradise. Cultural
curios, art and African couture are at your fingertips and there are dining
opportunities for every palate.
If it is the real heartbeat of Africa you are seeking , a visit to Soweto
is highly recommended, a multi-cultural, historic, vibrant part of Jozi.
Soweto is more than worth a visit. SOuth WEstern
TOwnship - or Soweto was the centre for political liberation
activity for decades before freedom came in 1994. Today it is a sprawling
connection of suburbs and exudes an unforgettable part of South African
culture and lifestyle, music, dancing, dining and clubs.
Struggling icon and first democratically elected president of South Africa
Nelson Mandela lived in the sprawling township with his wife and family.
His home is now the Nelson Mandela Museum, in the same street as Archbishop
Desmund Tutu's original home in Vilakazi street. It's the only street
in the world that was home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners ! Both famous
for their commitment to the liberation of all South Africans, these two
men and their families make up a solid part of South African History.
Another part of the 'struggle tour' in Soweto is the famed Hector Peterson
Museum - the child after whom this museum was named became the face of
the fight against apartheid when he was killed along with many others
on 16th June 1976. The photograph of Hectors limp body being carried by
another student after the police shot into a crowd of protesting school
children became a famed anti-apartheid weapon.
The Apartheid Museum's multi-media walk through the history of apartheid
allows you to step back to these days into South Africa's dark past. Opened
in 2001, this museum is one of the most meaningful experiences in the
Designed by Sir Herbert Baker and completed in 1913 the Union
Buildings and gardens overlook Pretoria. It was in these spectacular gardens
that Nelson Mandela was inaugurated in 1994. The grounds are also home
to the Delville Woods War memorial - a tribute to all the South Africans
that gave their lives in the fighting of World War 1, statues of various
South African Prime ministers and a police memorial.
Another icon of the past is the Voortrekker Monument, built as a national
shrine to commemorate the heroes of the great trek of the 19th Century.
The dome also offers a spectacular view of the city.
The Pretoria Zoo should also be on your 'to do' list in Pretoria. As the
largest zoo in South Africa the Pretoria Zoo has among many areas an aquarium
and reptile park, the cable car trip over the sprawling lawns full of
picnickers shows fantastic views of the city.
The Cradle of Mankind
Just 50km west of the metropolis of Johannesburg is one of South Africa's
World Heritage Sites - The Cradle of Humankind. It is here that 40% of
all human ancestor fossils have been unearthed. The best known of these
sites Sterkfontein, is where over 500 hominid fossils and 9,000 tools
have been found to date. A visit to the caves and excavation sites is
guaranteed to be fascinating and unique.
For many Johannesburg and its surrounds is accepted as the heartbeat
of the nation.
Egoli city of Gold