Why you should spend time in Johannesburg when visiting South Africa

Why you should spend time in Johannesburg when visiting South Africa

Johannesburg South Africa:

There are a lot of reasons to visit a place as wonderful as South Africa. The wildlife viewing is fantastic, from the classic Big 5 viewing at Kruger National Park in the east and Madikwe Game Reserve in the North, to the exotic sealife, Southwest's Cape Town, South Africa has plenty to offer. For travelers looking for delicious wine and a vibrant urban scene, Cape Town has it all. But to get the true sense of South Africa and its cultural history, consider spending a day exploring the capitol and largest city, Johannesburg.

For most South Africa travelers, Johannesburg is their gateway to the rest of the country. While many will spend the night in Johannesburg upon their arrival before heading off to a game reserve the next day, adding another day in Johannesburg and visiting just a few important sites can really give you a sense of South Africa's history and its current place in the world. 

Nelson Mandela is the face of South Africa. You see him everywhere, from statues to murals, and even on all of the currency. In the Southwestern part of Johannesburg, you'll find Soweto, home to Nelson Mandela during his early years as well as some of the most important historical events that took place during the Apartheid era of South Africa. In June of 1976 Soweto came to the world's attention when mass protests of the government's policy to enforce education in Afrikaans rather than in their native language. The rather modest home where Mandela lived prior to his 1962 arrest has been turned into a museum. Just down the road is the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Not far from Soweto is the Hector Pieterson memorial and museum, located just blocks away from where a young Hector Pieterson was shot and killed in 1976.

The Apartheid Museum, opened in 2001, is probably the best place in Johannesburg to learn about the rise and eventual fall of the Apartheid movement, and all of the events and figures surrounding it. The museum has 22 individual exhibition areas and serves as a beacon of hope showing the visitor how South Africa has come to terms with is unfortunate past while also working towards a future that can benefit all South Africans. 

Feel free to contact Chris Moriarty, our South Africa expert, if you want to know more about any of the South Africa trips we offer or check out our website.

Keeping it wild,

John Gleason

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