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Day 1 in Johannesburg

Welcome to Johannesburg! Upon arrival at the airport, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!

We recommend you get acquainted with the city by taking a walk around Nelson Mandela Square, where you will find a wide selection of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Take a picture next to the famous 20 ft bronze statue of the country`s beloved late president `Madiba` Nelson Mandela, which stands in the center of the square. Find a restaurant or café for lunch while people watching in the square, and taking in the vibrant atmosphere of the cosmopolitan city.

Alternatively, you can take The Red City Tour, which offers a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of the city and its biggest sights, including Constitution Hill, the Apartheid Museum, and the Carlton Center. There are 11 stops total on the tour and the bus departs every hour beginning at 10 am.

After lunch and a tour of the city, you can make your way to one of the city`s outdoor spaces. Delta Park is the largest green space in the city, covering 257 acres of land, covered with green lawns, woods and boasting three dams which have walking trails and bird watching sites around them. Check out the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary and the Delta Environmental center found within the park.

Or make your way to the beautiful Johannesburg Botanical Gardens which sit on the shores of the Emmarentia Dam. These spectacular gardens and tranquil dam covers 308 acres of land, with a variety of different gardens including rose and succulents. There are walking and cycling trails around the dam, as well as canoes and rowboats, to float on the waters. You can visit the small café on site, which has refreshments and pre-packaged picnics to enjoy on the grounds.

If time allows, make your way to The Lindfield Victorian House Museum, a living museum run by Katharine Love, who oversees the day-to-day running of this fascinating museum. The Victorian style home is so well preserved it has received many awards and accolades, built in 1910, Love purchased the home in 1967. The interior features 19th and 20th-century pieces of furniture and artwork with other artifacts and household items from the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Visitors can enjoy High Tea served on the front terrace of the home overlooking the beautiful gardens.

Another option is visiting The South African National War Museum, which opened in 1947, and preserves South Africa`s history and involvement in WWI, WWII and the Civil War. The museum features a large collection of over 44,000 items and artifacts including rare vehicles used in the War.

As evening time approaches, make your way to Melville, which is one of the city`s most happening dining districts. The popular neighborhood is filled with a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars that run along 7th Street and 4th Avenue, most of which offer a la carte dining. Enjoy dinner in this Bohemian-inspired neighborhood while taking in the eclectic ambiance of the evening.

Day 2 in Johannesburg

Start your day with a hearty breakfast and some strong South African coffee, which can be enjoyed at any of the coffee shops found around Jo`burg. The Maboneng Precinct is a particularly popular spot for coffee shops. Maboneng, meaning `place of light`, has become of the hippest towns in South Africa, since its regeneration in 2008. The colorful streets are filled with vibrant street art and old warehouses that have been transformed into art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.

After breakfast and some browsing make your way to Constitution Hill, one of the most important historical sites found in the city. The hill is the former site of a fort that was later used as a prison and now consists of the Old Fort, the Number Four Jail, the Woman`s Jail, and the Awaiting Trial Block which has been replaced by the Constitutional Court of South Africa. This is where Africa`s Freedom Fighters, including Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandi, were held prisoners along with thousands of others during the Apartheid days.

Make your way to JAG/The Johannesburg Art Gallery, located in downtown Jo`burg. An impressive museum housing one of the largest collections of art in Africa, some of the masterpieces on display here include work by Picasso, Monet, Dali, and Warhol, spread throughout 15 different exhibition halls. The museum owns 9,000 pieces of art, but only 10% is able to view on display at any one time, the rest are kept in storage. Grab some lunch in the area surrounding the museum where you will find African, Greek, Italian, French and Indian restaurants.

Spend your afternoon on a bicycle tour of Soweto (South West Townships), explore the renowned streets of Soweto where former Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu both lived. Learn about the history and cultural relevance of the area along with its tumultuous history dating back to the Apartheid days. Visit Nelson Mandela`s family home (now a museum) and the Hector Pieterson Memorial.

On your way back to the city visit the world famous Apartheid Museum, which illustrates the rise and fall of the country`s era of segregation and oppression, chronicling the rise and fall of the Apartheid using film footage and interactive displays. The museum can be quite graphic, yet very informative with photographs, artifacts, and newspaper clippings. A particularly distressing small chamber, filled with 131 nooses that represent the government opponents that were executed under anti-terrorism laws.

Gold Reef City, is situated across from the Apartheid Museum and contains a gold mining museum, where you can learn about the city`s gold mining past. Visit the theme park with over 30 different rides and roller coasters where the staff is dressed in period themed costumes that mimic the gold rush days. Try your luck at the famous Gold Reef City Casino, with slot machines, tables, and sports betting. And choose from one of the 12 different dining options found onsite for some dinner. After dinner, do some shopping at the stores and enjoy live music, dancing, and entertainment for the evening.

Day 3 in Johannesburg

Start your day with a visit to one of the city`s many bustling street markets, where you can enjoy fresh pastries or fruit for breakfast, and pick up the essentials for a picnic later on in the day. There are markets dotted all around Jo`burg, where shoppers can pick up fresh produce, street food, arts, crafts and souvenirs in a fun vibrant atmosphere.

After breakfast, and wandering around the markets make your way to Liliesleaf Farm, an award-winning heritage site and museum that played a vital role in the Apartheid period in South Africa. The farm was the secret hideout for the African National Congress activists, including Nelson Mandela in the 1960`s during the liberation struggle. A museum here showcases films, maps, photographs, and history on the secret locations where the ANC members planned to overthrow the Apartheid government. Several members of the ANC were arrested here in 1963 after a police raid which led to the `Rivonia Treason Trials`. Enjoy a snack and refreshment at `Cedric`s Café` situated on site and visit the resource center.

Next up is The Absa Money Museum where the largest collection of money which has circulated around the country can be seen. This is the only banking museum found in the country featuring a collection of various types of money, including cowrie shells, Venetian glass beads, and gold coins, which have been recovered from sunken ships. Explore the museum which boasts a collection of over 600 money boxes and covers the history of finance and banking over the past 4,500 years.

As Afternoon approaches head downtown to the Carlton Center. This popular shopping center is located within a skyscraper, which stands at 732 feet tall and features 50 floors, including over 180 stores and eateries. Enjoy some retail therapy and grab some lunch at the food court.

Visit the `Top of Africa`, which is on the top floor, an observatory providing 360-degree bird`s eye views over the city of gold. The Carlton Center is the tallest building in Africa since 1973 and was once the tallest southern Hemisphere, with half of its floor space located below ground.

As evening time approaches you can capture the sun setting over the city from the `Top of Africa`. Then make your way over to The Market Theatre Complex for drinks, dinner and a night out at the theatre. This cultural precinct boasts three theatre venues, restaurants, and bars where you can spend the evening enjoying theatre, dance and musical productions.

Additional Days in Johannesburg

If you are able to spend additional days in Johannesburg, visit the Johannesburg Planetarium which is the first full-sized planetarium in the country and hosts 70,000 visitors a year. There are displays, tours, and workshops offered and many school children come here to learn about their star signs and the movement of the moon.

The Johannesburg Zoo covers 140 acres of land housing over 2,000 animals of 320 species, including the rare white and Siberian Tigers, which have both successfully been bred at the zoo. `Twist` is a large male Siberian Tiger that weighs 705 lbs, the father of all of the Siberian Tigers found in South Africa.

If you are visiting Johannesburg on the weekend check out the markets, including the Market on Main (Sundays) found at the Arts on Main in Moboneng Precinct with stalls selling some of the best produce and street food in the city. The Rosebank Flea Market (Sundays), features local artists, craftsman and unique African Art.

Your Last Day in Johannesburg

Depart from your hotel to the airport for your return flight home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer to the airport if so the representative will meet you at your hotel with plenty of time to get you to the airport for your flight out.