Museum Africa

Museum Africa provides the ultimate Joburg museum tour experience. Situated in the heart of jazzy Newtown, it offers a unique Afrocentric perspective on all things historical - from the first African civilisations through to our more recent politically volatile past. The museum is four storeys high, so make sure to book out your whole day to explore. Our favourite floor is the very top one, which showcases quirky science exhibitions and other miscellaneous wonders. You will leave this place feeling thoroughly enlightened.

Details: 121 Lilian Ngoyi St, Newtown, Johannesburg | 011 833 5624

Worker's Museum Newtown

Just a few blocks away from Museum Africa, you will find the Worker's Museum. This museum pays homage to the migrant workers of the early 1900s, who left behind their families for the promise of wealth and prosperity in the city of gold. Instead, they were met with incredibly harsh living and working conditions under the reprimand of tyrannical compound managers. The museum displays the original workers dormitories, with their cold concrete bunk beds. There is also an exhibition that reveals the "punishment room". While not for the faint of heart or sensitive of spirit, this museum offers an introspective look into the cruelty of humanity.

Details: Rahima Moosa St, Newtown, Johannesburg | 011 492 0593

James Hall Transport Museum

Now this is one for the whole family. The James Hall Transport Museum showcases the most comprehensive land transport collection in South Africa. Their display includes animal-drawn vehicles dated from 1870-1910, bicycles and motorcycles from 1786-1960, buses and coaches, fire engines from 1877-1960, motor cars from 1900-1980, steam-driven vehicles and trams and trolley buses from 1896-1986. There are a few picnic areas around the museum, so pack a picnic bag to take along with you. Booking is essential for group tours.

Details: Pioneers' Park, Rosettenville Road, La Rochelle, Johannesburg | 011 435 9718 | [email protected]

 

Wits Life Sciences Museum

The Wits Life Sciences Museum is the only natural history museum in Johannesburg. The museum displays include research and teaching laboratories, a large herbarium and live plants and animals. The main display area has skeletons, models and preserved specimens. Just outside the building there is an abundant garden with a peaceful water feature. Also hidden inside a glass display case, a lazy iguana sits waiting to surprise those passing by. Museum tours take place only on weekdays, so be sure to book your visit in advance.

Details: 33 Station St, Braamfontein, University of the Witwatersrand, East Campus, Johannesburg | 011 717 1000

Wits Art Museum

Just a skip away from the Life Sciences Museum, the Wits Art Museum presents a wholly different set of archaeological treasures. This gallery space celebrates pan-African art and work produced in the diaspora. They frequently host international artists for exhibitions as well. Free museum tours take place between Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM - 4 PM. If you are new to the world of art, tag down a nearby arts student (they will most likely be sitting off quietly to the corner thinking about the meaning of life). Alternatively, pop into the WAM Cafè for a bite to eat. Their mini quiches are to die for!

Details: University Corner, Corner Bertha and Jorissen Streets, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | 011 717 1365 or 011 717 3158 | [email protected]

Adler Museum of Medicine

The Adler Museum is situated in Parktown, on the Wits Medical School campus. The museum houses a vast collection of medical documents, art installations related to medicine and displays depicting the history of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy through the ages. Visit the exhibition dedicated to the development of African traditional medicine, featuring a replica of an African herb shop and a patient consulting a traditional healer. Or, explore your fascinations with the medical world at the museum unguided for free, or pay R20 for a guided tour.

Details: 7 York Road, Parktown, Johannesburg | 011 717 2081 | [email protected]

Image from Wits.

 

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory is the official home of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Situated in Houghton, the museum offers visitors a vast archive documenting the life, work and writings of the former statesman. The centre was opened in November 2013, exactly three years to the day after Mr Mandela last used the building as his office. His post-presidential office has been kept exactly as he left it.

Details: 107 Central Street, Houghton | 011 547 5600 | [email protected]

ABSA Money Museum

The ABSA Money Museum is the country's only banking and money museum. Situated in downtown Joburg, the museum traces the history of money usage back 4 500 years. The exhibition looks to when people exchanged commodities such as salt, seashells, beads and animals for services rendered. Coins and notes from all over the world are also on display. Ironically, for a museum all about money, the entrance here is free. All you need to take along is proof of identification.

Details: Barclays Towers West, 15 Troye St, Marshalltown | 011 350 4167 or 011 350 3003 | [email protected]

Credo Mutwa Cultural Village

Credo Mutwa is one of South Africa's foremost traditional healers, believed to have the ability to foretell the future. He is also a respected artist and sculptor. The Credo Mutwa Cultural Village in Soweto is an open air museum display of Mutwa's sculptures made between 1974 and 1986. These sculptures and buildings depict African folklore, Zulu and Tsonga chiefs, traditional dwelling places, healing clinics and Mutwa's strange 'aliens'. Although in slight disrepair, this outdoor curation offers a museum experience unlike any other. Entrance is free daily from 6 AM - 6 PM.

Details: 991 Bochabela Street, Central Western Jabavu, Soweto | 011 930 1813

 

Do you know of any other free museum tours in the city? Let us know about them!

James Hall Transport Museum

You don't have to be a petrol-head to appreciate the history of motor engineering. Take a walk through the ages at the James Hall Transport Museum and learn about the wonderful world of getting from A to B. Situated in three warehouses, the James Hall Transport Museum is filled with the most interesting cars, trucks, and motorcycles to have ever touched South African soil.

The Good Luck Bar

The cool thing about December in Joburg is that a lot of locals have gone to the coast on holiday. This pretty much means that the queues at the pubs and clubs are down to a minimum, the dance floors sport a few chilled folk and the bar counters have space for your elbows to rest. The Good Luck Bar in Ferreirastown is the hottest thing to hit Jozi since the heatwave in October 2016. Go grab a drink and a bite to eat at one of Joburg's oldest bars. Take tonnes of photos because the place is pretty sexy.

Life On 3rd

Why not head to Melville for a night out on the town and book yourself into one of the coolest and quirkiest little bed and breakfasts around? Life On 3rd has been around for quite some time and is a favourite among locals and tourists. From its tropical garden and quaint courtyard to the tasteful works of art on its walls, Life On 3rd is worth checking out.

Hennops Hiking Trail

Rekindle your love for nature with a hike. The Hennops Hiking Trail offers two unique features: a suspension bridge and a cable car with which to cross the river. Aspiring historians will enjoy seeing an underground cave where “Pruimpie” lived, plus traces of old settlements, the old dolomite mines, and ovens in which the rocks were heated to melt and extract the lime.

Silverstar Casino

Silverstar Casino will be bringing beach life to the West Rand for the third time this December. By day, The Square will be a sandy paradise for kids of all ages (even the grown up kind!) and by night, The Square will transform into a Calypso paradise with live music and summery cocktails. Silverstar’s Beach Festival will make your staycation spectacular! Entry is absolutely free with great food and drinks specials on sale around the beach and at selected restaurants on property. Check out Silverstar Casino's website for more information.

EB Social Kitchen & Bar

One of the coolest places to lounge out, have drinks and grab a bite to eat would be the EB Social Kitchen & Bar in Hyde Park. Enjoy mixed drinks that have been inspired by legendary good books, including a "Great Gatsby" with lashings of Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Pinot Grigio and Sherry!

Dope Donuts

Dope Donuts, a Joburg-based company that delivers delicious home-baked donuts direct to your door, is excited to announce the launch of their new summer menu. Enjoy a delectable range of new flavours, including Snow Globe (white chocolate glaze and coconut shavings), Double Dipped (white chocolate, milk chocolate and pecan nuts), and Stelly Pops (syrup with caramel popcorn).

By Shawn Greyling

Have you been to any of these cool and exciting spots? Let us know what you think of them in the comments section below. Do the writer a favour and share this top picks list on social media. 

Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.

James Hall Museum Of Transport

You don't have to be a petrol-head to appreciate the history of motor engineering. Take a walk through time at the James Hall Museum of Transport in La Rochelle, south of Joburg,and learn about the wonderful world of getting from A to B. Situated in three warehouses, the James Hall Museum of Transport is filled with the most interesting cars, trucks and motorcycles to have ever touched South African soil.

The Good Luck Bar

The cool thing about December in Joburg is that so many locals have gone to the coast. This pretty much means that the queues at the pubs and clubs are down to a minimum, the dance floors sport a few chilled folk and the bar counters have space on which your elbows can rest. The Good Luck Bar in Ferreirastown is the hottest thing to hit Jozi since the heatwave of October 2016. Go grab a drink and a bite to eat at one of Joburg's oldest bars.

Staycation

Life On 3rd

Why not head to Melville for a night out on the town and also book yourself into one of the coolest and quirkiest little bed and breakfasts around? Life On 3rd has been around for quite some time and is a favourite among locals and tourists. From its tropical garden and quaint courtyard to the tasteful works of art on its walls, Life On 3rd is worth checking out.

Hennops Hiking Trails

Rekindle your love for nature with a day hike. Hennops Trails are only 30km from Pretoria and Fourways on the R511, situated on a family farm. They offer three hiking trails (2.5km, 5km, 10km) and have two drawcards: a suspension bridge and a cable car to cross the river. Aspiring historians will enjoy seeing an underground cave where 'Pruimpie' lived (an orphan left behind after Mzilikazi fled the Zulu Impis in 1837), plus traces of old settlements, the old dolomite mines, and ovens in which the rocks were heated to melt and extract the lime.

EB Social Kitchen & Bar

One of the coolest places to lounge around, have a cocktail, and grab a bite to eat is the EB Social Kitchen & Bar in Hyde Park Corner. An extension of Exclusive Books, as a brand and as a venue, the store now has an eatery serving European and Mediterranean food and an outside deck and bar. Enjoy drinks that have been inspired by legendary good books, including a Great Gatsby with lashings of Johnnie Walker Gold, Pinot Grigio and sherry.

By Shawn Greyling

Have you been to any of these cool and exciting spots? Let us know what you think of them in the comments section below. Do the writer a favour and share this top picks list on social media. 

Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.