Jo’Burg, Jozi… this South African city is the vibrant, beating heart of the country and has plenty to see and do that won’t break your piggy bank. From museums to sculptures and parks, here are the best free things to do in Johannesburg.
Museums and galleries
James Hall Museum of Transport – Travel back in time at this transport museum, whose collection includes some beauties like 18th century trams, bikes and even a steam vehicle collection!
Goodman Gallery – For contemporary and modern art, there’s no better place to go than the Goodman Gallery. The collection is home to 40+ artists including William Kentridge, Kendell Geers and David Goldblatt.
Museum Africa – This free museum focuses on the culture and history of South Africa, Johannesburg, the South African War and the Second Anglo-Boer War. Located on Mary Fitzgerald Square, entrance to the museum is via Bree Street.
Kliptown Open Air Museum – This open air museum is located on Soweto’s Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication and tells the story of the people who helped draft the Freedom Charter, which was adopted in 1955 on June 26th. At that time the place was nothing but a dusty football pitch. Today, it’s a remarkable piece of history.
Other free museums in Johannesburg include:
- Adler Museum of Medicine
- Circa on Jellicoe
- Peacemakers Museum
- Money Museum
Pack a picnic and head to Zoo Lake for the afternoon. You’ll find this park just along Jan Smuts Avenue. It’s a great spot for a relaxing afternoon sitting on the grassy lawn, feeding the ducks in the pond and playing ball games.
Johannesburg has some amazing parks and nature reserves. The two big ones to visit are Kloofendal and Klipriviersberg. The latter is an impressive 680 hectare space in the south of Johannesburg and has some great hiking trails where you can spot wildlife like zebras, red hartebeest, black wildebeest and springbok.
Walter Sisulu Square
If you’re interested in discovering the history of Johannesburg and South Africa, there’s really no place like Water Sisulu Square. It was here that the Freedom Charter was signed in 1955. Today the square is home to a number of shops and offices, the open-air museum we mentioned above and the Freedom Charter Monument.
Northcliff Hill is the second highest point in Johannesburg and is the best place to go (with your camera in two of course) to take some photos of the city. The views are expansive and really stretch out over the northern suburbs of the city. You can’t beat an evening up on Northcliff Hill with a couple of cold beers after a long day of sightseeing.
Bunny Park – Bunny Park is an odd sort of tourist attraction in Jozi’ East Rand. The park is home to rabbits, donkeys, cows and goats and are tame so they can easily be hand-fed so make sure you bring along some apples and carrots for them to eat.
Neighbourgoods Market – Copied from Cape Towns Neighbourgoods Market, the one in Johannesburg is just as good (if not better!). This colourful market sets up every Saturday in Braamfontein on Juta Street and hosts an eclectic range of food stalls and handicrafts.
Finders Keepers Market – This is another good place to shop in Johannesburg with more than 600 stalls selling arts, crafts, antiques, collectibles and all sorts of other things. If you start to feel peckish after such a long day of shopping and sightseeing, head to the International Food Court and Deli to eat.
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