This is a guest post on Aditi’s Monologue – popular travel and lifestyle blog from India, by Vijay Ram who is a travel addict and has contributed before here. Follow him with the hashtag: #TravelnBetterBlog
Having worked in Johannesburg for nearly 2.5years, its almost been a second home to me. Johannesburg being the largest city in South Africa has many of things to do. It was once home to Nelson Mandela and holds rich history well preserved in the form of various museums such as Apartheid, Cradle of Humankind, Origin centre museum. There are a lot of wildlife sanctuaries, zoo, botanical garden and theme parks to roam around. You can cruise through Johannesburg in a hop on hop off bus which takes you to the main destinations. Explore around Soweto, once a segregated area under apartheid, represents the heart of South Africa’s 20th century struggle against injustice.
Durban occupies most of the coastal area and has some of best beaches you can relax around. With plenty of adventures such as shark cage diving, ocean walking, scuba diving, big swing, skydiving, you wouldn’t want to miss out on adrenaline part. There is also a wide variety of African cuisine which you can explore. You can easily spend one week in Johannesburg and Durban
Top Attractions in Johannesburg
Apartheid Museum: Learn more about the dark history in 20th century South Africa on the racial abuse and discrimination all the way to freedom 50 years later. A lot of video footage are available showing all the struggles faced during the white regime. Your visit to this museum will provide a necessary basic overview for comprehending the struggle and oppression of non-whites under apartheid.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve: After Kruger national park, Pilanesberg is the next preferred wildlife reserve where you can head out on a jeep with professional guide and explore wide range of animals and birds in their natural habitat. Discover more of Africa’s Big 5 – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino with other animals such as zebra, giraffe, ostrich and rare birds. You can easily spend upto half day in Pilanesberg reserve.
Cradle of Humandkind & Sterkfontein caves: Around 90mins drive from Johannesburg, Cradle of Humankind is paleoanthropological site and declared World Heritage site by UNESCO. A lot of ancient history from the birth of humanity, how people lived at the start of human mankind and animal fossils dating more than 4 million years. A lot of proof has been laid out in the form of skulls and skeletons preserved millions of years ago. Sterkfontein caves are set of limestone caves home to numerous African wild species. A must visit for all history lovers.
Gold Reef City: You can spend about half day soaking on to the fun rides, traditional costumes and exciting roller-coasters, combining entertainment with gold rush history on the site of a former mine.Johannesburg sits at the heart of the gold and diamond mining industry in South Africa. With a visit to the Gold Reef City amusement park, you can learn about the historic and cultural significance of the profitable industry in a fun yet informative way.
Soweto: Head southwest from the city centre of Johannesburg to the township of Soweto, built on rolling hills and home to more than 2 million people. Stop at the modest brick house that revolutionary and South African president Nelson Mandela once called home, now a National Heritage monument and museum. Afterward, visit the nearby home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a leading social rights activist and opponent of apartheid.As you learn about the complexities of Soweto’s history, pick up enlightening background information from a local guide. Your tour leaves you with a greater understanding of the township’s key role in dismantling apartheid, as well as its present and future.
Hartbeesport: Located in the north of Johannesburg, its known for its aerial cableway which ascends to the top of Magaliesberg mountains to get a stunning view. There are water adventures around, Chameleon village market where you can shop African handicrafts, aquarium with tropical fishes, crocodiles, penguins and seals, Strawberry farm with fresh berries to pick, cheetah reserve, monkey sanctuary and Hot air ballooning. A lot of things can be covered around Hartbeesport !
Sun City & Casino: Spend the next half day in Sun city, a luxury resort and entertainment casino. Quite next to Pilanesberg game reserve, Sun City which has great restaurants and spend some free time enjoying water rides and artificial beach set up. There is bar and casino as well.
Pretoria City Tour: For all the history lovers, Pretoria has got some historical monuments and pretty buildings to walk around. Check out the Voortrekker monument and Kruger house. Dignified buildings, well-manicured parks and pleasant pedestrian zones teeming with boutiques and cafés contribute to its powerful sense of grandeur. Take a pleasant stroll through the charming streets and soak up the laid-back atmosphere. If you travel year end you can check out the famous Jacaranda trees blossom with purple shades. It is such a beautiful sight which you would not want to miss.
Top Attractions in Durban
Ushaka Marine World:Most famous theme park of South Africa offers a wide range of water rides, dolphin shows, seal surprises, penguin walk and talk, marine aquarium and adventures such as shark cage diving, ocean walking, scuba diving and so on. Water slides are quite an experience. Spend a complete day soaking along with non-stop entertainment. Experience village walk shopping along open air mall, take a stroll along Ushaka beach, enter Dangerous creatures section seeing some rare species of reptiles and snakes, adventure more in Chimp and Zee section with rope walks. Ushaka world has it all for a day out. Online booking are always open to book your slot and save some time.
Orbi Gorge: It’s a canyon in southern part of Africa, 2hrs drive from Durban along the coastal shore of South Africa. Quite beautiful drive with nature and mountains around, one should go on such roadtrips in South Africa to get the feel of country. There are few wildlife game reserves nearby, and cliffs one can trek if interested. If you’re an adventure freak, Orbi Gorge is the right place as it has wide variety of adrenaline rush from Big swing, ziplining, wild rush, walking along a suspension bridge, white water rafting, paintball and so on.
Moses Mabhida stadium: Tour along the famous soccer stadium in Durban which has many thrills added along. Got the guts ? Think about an adventure walk to the top of stadium through rope, else Skycar to the top of stadium to experience 360 degree aerial views of Durban. Breath-taking views of beach and Durban city shouldn’t be missed out. Big swing is the next big thing to do in Moses Mabhida stadium, jumping from the top. There are Segway gliding tours around the stadium. Later explore the soccer stadium and shop some jerseys to keep one souvenir.
Beaches:Durban’s got some of the best beaches which is clean, serene and paradise for the tourists. Lovely weather throughout the year, beaches are packed with sun-seekers from dawn to dusk. Durban’s beaches lie along a stretch of golden sand, known locally as the Golden Mile. A host of flat, sandy beaches invite you to set down an umbrella and towel and while away hours in the sun. Some of popular beaches would be Umhlanga rocks, Durban north, Umdloti beach and South beach. Spend as many days and relax your vacation.
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About The Author:
Vijay Ram is a techie and globetrotter with an endless bucket list. More of a bookworm and later turned to wanderlust, exploring as much of the world one can. A pursuit which began on a small venture to Asia with friends and later expanded with work travelling across Africa, Middle East, United Kingdom and a lot in Europe (35 countries, 65+ cities and counting). He says “Choosing to travel places is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’m glad I’ve come along for the ride till date. To me travel isn’t just about being on a holiday or relaxing in a spa, but all about meeting new people, trying out yummy food, venturing into the unknown, daring out with adventures, experiencing other cultures and doing silly things, at times.” #Travelnbetterblog