Johannesburg does not have the best reputation in the world. Unfortunately, a lot of people say “the city is unsafe” which makes most travellers totally avoid the city or just stay overnight on their way to and from another city. We, being the adventurous family that we are, chose to spend a few days exploring Joburg and the surrounding area.
Here’s our recommendation for the top 5 things to do for families with young kids:
1) CITY SIGHTSEEING TOUR
Doing a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour is a great introduction to a city. We have done similar tours in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi so it made sense to start Joburg the same way! On our first day, we did the entire Red Loop stopping at Constitution Hill followed by the entire Green Loop and then ended off the day at the Carlton Tower to visit “The Top of Africa” (the highest building on the continent). On the second day, we visited the Apartheid Museum and combined it with a Soweto Tour.
2) SOWETO DAY TRIP
If you want to learn more about Apartheid history, you must check out Soweto. City Sightseeing offers a 2 hour tour in a Mini Bus stopping in several places along the way including the FIFA 2010 World Cup Stadium (known as “Soccer City”), the Orlando Towers, the Hector Piederson Memorial, and the Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu Houses. You can also set the Tin Houses which shows you the extreme poverty which still exists in this part of South Africa.
When we heard that you could pet Lion Cubs, we quickly organized a day trip to Lion and Safari Park. We started off with a 1 hour tour where we got within a few meters of lions. The best part were the Animal Interactions. We all got to pet 2 adorable Lion Cubs while I was able to cuddle an Adult Cheetah. We had a delicious lunch on-site and to finish off an eventful day, Rianne and Ryan got to feed the resident Giraffe. Rianne was even able to get a #GiraffeKiss!
4) LESEDI CULTURAL VILLAGE
This was a second visit to a cultural village. The first was only one tribe whereas Lesedi Cultural Village allows you to learn about 5 different tribes in a short timeframe. We got to walk through 5 villages where our friendly guide explained some of the unique features of each tribe. We then got to see a Dancing Performance (the highlight was definitely the Zulu War Dance). We finished off with a mouth-watering traditional African Buffet and Braii (“BBQ”).
5) CRADLE OF HUMANKIND
This was the final attraction we visited before leaving Joburg! There is an incredible museum which you enter using a Disneyland-style Boat Ride. Our kids don’t normally like museums, but they loved Cradle of Humankind! There is also a UNESCO Cave System nearby which will take you 2-3 hours to visit. If you plan well and start the day off early, you can do Lion and Safari Park, Cradle of Humankind, and Lesedi Cultural Village in one day!
What did we miss? Let us know in the comment section below!