Five must-do tours in Gauteng

July 10, 2018

By opting to take one or more of these tours when you visit Gauteng, you’ll not only be saving time by avoiding parking and car-hire concerns, but local tour guides provide a wealth of background information that will make your visit all the more enjoyable.

Hop on an open-top red bus

A great way to orientate yourself is to take a City Sightseeing hop-on, hop-off tour of inner-city Johannesburg and its leafy suburbs – both on a single ticket.

The Green City Tour is a relaxing, scenic trundle in an open-top double-decker bus that wends its way through a number of residential areas. By contrast, the City Tour takes in historical destinations such as Constitution Hill and the Apartheid Museum, where you can learn more about South Africa’s turbulent history; the Johannesburg Zoo, with its hippo, bear, tiger, elephant, crocodile, oryx, lemur, cheetah, giraffe and many other exotic and endemic species; and the South African Breweries’ World of Beer, which includes a beer tour and beer tasting.

Radio commentary in 15 languages and free shuttle service to the Rosebank departure point from some hotels in Sandton and Melrose, are added features.

For more details and pricing, visit

https://www.citysightseeing.co.za/johannesburg/products/johannesburg-open-top-bus-tours or call +27 (0)861 733 287.

Day safari to the Pilanesberg

If you’ve set your heart on a safari destination, a 13-hour Pilanesberg day tour with Field Guide Association of South Africa-qualified tour guides is a great option.

Collection is at 6am from any address in Johannesburg’s northern, central and western suburbs, Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport.

A lunchtime stop at a five-star bush lodge, or at a restaurant in the middle of the Pilanesberg National Park, is an opportunity to stretch the legs and sample excellent cuisine. The second part of the tour happens in the afternoon, before departing at 4pm for Johannesburg.

The malaria-free Pilanesberg National Park is South Africa’s fourth-largest game reserve. It is situated in an extinct volcano, where rocky ravines, grassland, wetlands and a central lake support a bounty of game.

Look out for larger mammals such as the Big 5, hyena, caracal, wild dog, giraffe, eland and tsessebe, as well as various reptiles. More than 300 bird species, including eagle, whydah, babbler, hornbill, shrike, finch and oriole, make this region a birder’s delight.

Visit http://pilanesbergsafaris.com/ for more information or call +27 (0)84 500 1773.

Bicycle tour of Soweto township

Travelling through Soweto on a bicycle makes it easy to negotiate different neighbourhoods, experience township life and meet the locals.

There’s a choice of a quick two-hour cycle, a half-day tour, or a full-day’s immersive experience.

On the half-day tour you’ll visit Meadowlands and Sophiatown, famous for forced removals during apartheid; see where the student uprising of 1976 took place and where one of the first slain students, Hector Pieterson, is memorialised; visit Vilakazi Street, where Nelson Mandela Archbishop Desmond Tutu lived; stop to taste traditional meals at food stalls and visit a shebeen.

The tour ends with a traditional beer tasting, and sharing of African customs and rituals. Lunch at a community park is included.

Visit http://www.sowetobackpackers.com/ or call +27 (0)11 936 3444 for further information and prices.

Image: Lebo's Soweto

Cradle of Humankind tour

The Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the world’s most significant archaeological and anthropological locations, is best enjoyed on a full-day or half-day guided tour.

The 470km2 Cradle region lies west of Johannesburg. It is riddled with an estimated 300 caves where thousands of hominin and animal fossils – some an estimated 4-million years old – have been unearthed.

Tours begin at the Maropeng Visitor Centre, where numerous exhibits chronicle the 4-billion year-old history of life on Earth and set the stage for the caves visit. Meet your ancestors and see how humankind has evolved over the ages before moving on to explore, first-hand, the live Sterkfontein Cave fossil dig.

Visit https://tinyurl.com/y9ctmcgf to find more detail on this tour.

Constitution Hill and Apartheid Museum tour

If South Africa’s history is of interest, then this six-hour tour will prove most enlightening. You’ll learn about life during the apartheid days of South Africa’s past, and how 21st century democratic society is protected by the Constitution.

While Constitution Hill is a repository of all things legal before, during and after the country became a democracy, the Apartheid Museum features 22 individual exhibition areas featuring film footage, photographs, artefacts and stories that tell the story of the struggle against apartheid.

The tour includes pick up and drop off at your hotel, bottled water, snacks and entrance fee. Visit https://secure.funguru.co.za/activities/2606 or call +27 (0)21 657 1000 for further information and bookings.

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