Johannesburg


South Africas biggest city
Posted on Nov 19, 2016 In South Africa

When we arrived in Johannesburg, we have planned to stay at Cecilies uncle and wife, Peter and Lianne, who lives in an area called Fourways. They have a big beautiful house with pool, a maid and high security. They’ve treated us as VIP guests and they just been so kind to us. This was a perfect way to start our travels in South africa. They learned us how everyday life works around here, so we quickly felt like locals.

 

City of Johannesburg

Johannesburg is a big busy business city with around 10 million registered residents. We believe as a tourist arriving in Johannesburg, it might not be the easiest city to go around in on your own. You’ll need to know what you want to do in Johannesburg, because a lot of things here can be a bit intimidating and very different compared to europe. It’s normal to have security guards and fences around private areas. Johannesburg residents spans from very rich people living in big mansions to poor people living in townships and squattercamps.

So what is a township and a squattercamp?

Township 

A township is an urban living area. These areas was established back in the apartheid regime, and was in that time reserved for the non-white residents. Today Townships is still characterized by apartheid. It’s still only the black people that lives here, though the apartheid regime is gone today, thank god for that.

Squattercamp 

A squattercamp is an informal settlement. It’s an area some people settled down in without permit and over the years ended up as a bigger settlement. These areas is slum areas and only the poorest people live here in badly built tin houses. We’ve heard stories about these areas, that families have problems with rats biting their babies and nasty spiders and snakes that come into their houses. You will normally not just go into these areas by yourself, because it can be dangerous. We are still working on getting access to this kind of area, but you need some way to go in here. This could be with a pastor as a volunteer, were you’ll have a chance that they will respect you.

  

Must see’s in Johannesburg

Cradle of Humankind

Peter showed around in Johannesburg and he knew what we needed to see here. The first place he took us was to Cradle of humankind, where the oldest human bones in the world was found. This information surprised us because we didn’t knew that humankind, as far as we know, started in South africa. We went down into a cave called ”Sterkfontein” where the famous Mrs. Ples was found in 1947 which dates back around 2 million years old. Mrs. Ples is the most complete human skull ever found from that timeline.

 The cradle of humankind is an area around 47.000 hectares and have a lot of limestone caves where the human bones where found, and the sterkfontein cave is only one of them.

 A really great experience we can recommend to all visitors in Johannesburg.

Check out their website for more info.

Apartheid museum

The apartheid museum is made to get an understanding of how the time under the apartheid regime was. This museum will give you the whole story of how apartheid started, how it was living under these conditions and how it ended. And of course they’ll give you the whole story about Nelson Mandelas part of the apartheid too. You’ll go through all of your emotions here, and you will get a big respect to South africas violent history. 

You can’t take pictures inside the museum, so unfortunately we don’t have pictures from there.

It takes around 3 hours to go through the museum, but if you have time you can easily use the whole day here. It’s an experience you just have to experience when you are in Johannesburg, a must see!

Check out their website for more info.

Voortrekker monument

The Voortrekker monument is a monument made in honour to the afrikaners forefathers. Voortrekker is dutch for pioneers and was the first settlers in South africa, 4-500 years ago. The place is build on top of a hill and looks very majestic. It’s built in big solid granite, and reminds us of the old castles in europe.

Every year the 16th. of december a beam of sunlight will light through a small hole in the roof and hit an empty cradle in the middle of the monument which represents god and man.  

If you like very precise architecture and want’s to have an idea of how the settlers came to South africa, this is a great place to go to. 

Other attractions in Johannesburg could be a visit to the Soweto township were Nelson Mandelas lived for many years, or the old gold mines of Johannesburg. You could also drive to Pretoria and see the union buildings of South africa.

Check out their website for more info.

 

Go check out our gallery from Johannesburg to see the attractions we described in the article. Find it here!

 

Written by Mikkel & Cecilie