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This area of Johannesburg is filled with mixed themes and is rife with history. A symbol of South Africa's journey to freedom, the Constitutional Court sits where the Old Fort Prison Complex used to house both political and common criminals. Figures such as Robert Sobukwe, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were once imprisoned in these walls until its closure in 1983. This site has been transformed into a monument of justice. Guided and interactive tours are scheduled regularly.
At 228 meters/728 feet tall, the Carlton Centre is the tallest building in Africa, making it one of Johannesburg's most popular landmarks. Built in the 1970's, the center has been an iconic part of the city's skyline ever since, with such additional features as the 50th floor, Top of Africa, observation deck, which offers panoramic views of the city, as well as an underground shopping mall, which connects the center to the neighboring Carlton Hotel (currently closed). Located in the heart of Johannesburg's Central Business District, this conveniently located landmark should be a part of any visitor's itinerary.
Art On Main is an art gallery that displays a number of very interesting art pieces. The creative space does more than display artwork. Artists congregate to discuss and share ideas, opinions, and thoughts, while an outdoor cinema screens film and a rooftop bar let artists, as well as customers, relax over a drink. They also have a reading room, art supplies, and bookstore and even host music concerts. Do call ahead for more details about the artists and more.
Featuring park-like surrounds, the Johannesburg Zoo offers a glimpse at over 3,000 animal species. Night-time tours are also offered, giving a fascinating show of the nocturnal behavior of many residents. ‘Behind-the-scenes' tours offer a chance to witness first-hand, the goings-on in a typical zoo such as the feeding and cleaning routines the public seldom see. Children's' birthday parties are hosted (book in advance) and a restaurant/tea garden is open during all normal visiting hours. An approximate time of four hours is required in order to view all the exhibits.
Probably the most frequented open-space area in the suburbs of Johannesburg, Zoo Lake has a restaurant, paddle-boat facilities as well as waterfowl in abundance. The restaurant is housed within buildings at the heart of the property and a bowling club lies to the right. Concerts are often hosted here and an annual, ‘Jazz at the Park' concert is becoming a recognized event. ‘Artists under the Sun' is a regular affair providing artists an opportunity to showcase their works by the lakeside. Weekends are always hectic and everyone and their dog seems to find some amusement there. No entrance fee. Dogs on leashes only. Plenty of parking.
As its name suggests, the Market Theatre, also known as the John Kani Theatre was once a fresh fruit and vegetable market. Dating back to the early 1900s, most of the original architecture still exists as well as a lot of the original signs. Within the huge complex, other than the Market Theatre stages, there are several galleries and restaurants. The three theaters at the Market are Main, Laager and Barney Simon. The venue stages all forms of production from drama, comedy, musical, community and South African to experimental theater.
Built around the No. 14 shaft of Crown Mines, this city is an authentic reproduction of Johannesburg at the beginning of the 1900s. There are fully furnished miner's houses with original furniture and fittings, including pressed ceilings. The museum exhibits include antique clothing and children's toys, which take the visitor back 100 years to the city that was. A train encircles the park and many shops offer interesting curios. You can also visit the original gold mine in a lift that goes down to 220 meters below the surface. An on site casino is open 24 hours daily.
The Apartheid Museum best reflects the history of South Africa's apartheid days. Under the able guidance of Nelson Mandela, the country strongly fought racial discrimination, and this museum stands as a reminder of those stories and experiences. Photographs, film footage and artifacts displayed in the 22 exhibition areas will take one through the journey of the nation's struggle. If you're in Johannesburg, do not miss an opportunity to gain insight into this integral part of South Africa's history.
Experience the forest from a whole new angle with Acrobranch, one of a number of outdoor adventure parks, which offers a number of exciting activities like canopy walks, bungee jumping and zip lines. Located in the James and Ethel Gray Park, this particular facility has one of Africa's longest zip lines which makes its way through the forested canopy of the park. Zip down the rope from tree to tree across their various zip lines or show off your climbing skills on their various obstacle courses which include everything from monkey bars to Tarzan swings. Separate obstacle courses are also available for kids and teenagers.
Formerly known as Sandton Square, this hub of city life in Johannesburg was renamed Nelson Mandela Square in 2004 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the birth of South Africa's democracy. Also the home of the Nelson Mandela statue, which was unveiled when the square was renamed, the square serves not only as a tribute to the famed president's historic efforts to bring peace to the nation but also a focal point where visitors and locals alike can contemplate the country's turbulent past. An Italian-style piazza full of shops, restaurants, and galleries, located near world-class hotels and the city's financial district, this is a must-see for any visitor to Johannesburg.
The Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve is the largest official nature reserve in Johannesburg, and it's well worth the short drive from the center of the city. The area contains diverse wildlife, including zebra and black wildebeest. There are also six hiking trails that range in difficulty.
Commonly referred to as Mandela House, Nelson Mandela National Museum is an important national monument in Johannesburg. This museum is housed at the prior residence of the legendary Nelson Mandela himself and takes one through the history of Africa. Operating since 1997, this museum showcases several artifacts of the former President. The museum chronicles the life story of Nelson Mandela and his family and his struggle for the betterment of Africa. The museum was renovated in 2009 and has been listed as one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa.