Surprising to some, Johannesburg is not one of South Africa’s capital cities, however it is the largest city of the country and richest. It is next to Pretoria, the capital of South Africa’s executive branch of the government.
Johannesburg, also known as Jo’burg, or simply Jozi by locals, is served by the OR Tambo International Airport, OR Tambo airport is Africa’s busiest airport, serving connections to all continents except for Antarctica, therefore this is your primary gateway into South Africa.
Once you have landed and disembarked, go explore the city of Johannesburg straight away, follow this guide and make the most of your 72 hours in Jozi.
The Apartheid Museum
To learn the history of the place your visiting is always important and this in no truer than in Johannesburg. Visitors and tourists in Johannesburg should not miss this must-see museum, an important and crucial part of South Africa’s history and fight for freedom and democracy.
There is a wide variety of artefacts and media exhibits illustrating the beginning and end of an era of segregation and oppression, which also help to explain the situation of inequality and conflicts that are still happening currently to a somewhat lesser extent. Due to the many interesting sights and size of the museum, exploring it will take a considerable chunk of day 1.
Market on Main
Make sure your stay in Johannesburg will take place during the weekend, since the ”Market on Main” only happens once a week, every Sunday; This way you will be able to occupy a good portion of your Sunday in this specialty arts, handicraft and street food market. Located in the Maboneng precinct of downtown Johannesburg, it is held at the ”Arts on Main”, a cultural center in a converted 20th century warehouse, from 10 AM until 3 PM. Don’t miss it!
Not only are there animals native to Africa here, but also from all around the world; More than 2,000 animals are divided into different zones: ”The spice route” (species from Asia), ”Heart of Africa” (typical from central Africa, such as lions, giraffes, gorillas, birds, and more), ”Southern Safari” (selection of local species native to South Africa itself), ”Extreme environments” (deserts and polar regions; Camels and penguins, for example), and ”Amazonia” (species from South America).
The zoo has a fantastic reputation and very positive reviews, if you don’t get the chance to visit the reserve Jo’burg Zoo is a good substitute.
Cradle of Humankind
This is a region near Johannesburg considered a World Heritage Site, containing various types of fossils, especially those of human ancestors, hence the name for the region. Approximately 40% of all humanity’s fossils are in this region, scattered across caves and valleys. In addition to the fossil sites, culture and crafts, there are also reserves with wildlife sightseeing tours, and restaurants with premium wines and great food. How often do you get to visit a site where your ancestors walked..? This is a must.
Jazz Scene and nightlife
Your visit to Johannesburg is not complete without having seen Johannesburg’s vibrant jazz scene and dynamic nightlife. The main venues are ”The Bassline”, ”Blues Room”, and ”The Rock”, which feature jazz, blues, and typical kwaito music. Braamfontein also features ”The Orbit”, considered the best jazz bar in South Africa, and the ”Marabi Club”, with its vintage decoration and classical selection of cocktails.
There is so much to see and do in Johannesburg, you could easily spend a week here, but if you’ve only got 72 hours then this is a great way to spend it!