Johannesburg is one of the world's youngest major cities. This does not mean that our proud city is devoid of history. Whether you are interested in the origins of mankind or in more recent historical events, Joburg tells an eclectic tale through its magnificent architecture, museums and significant sites. You certainly don't need a DeLorean time machine to travel back in time in this city. All it takes is careful observation and some expert guidance from your friends here at Joburg.co.za! Here are our top picks to help transport you back to the "good old days".
We'll kick off our time travelling expedition by visiting the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. This is where it all began after all. Take a walk through the Maropeng Visitor's Centre for an introduction to all things prehistoric. You can then book a tour of the Sterkfontein Caves. Come prepared to crawl your way through the caves as you descend deep into the depths of the earth. You'll be amazed by the stalagmite and stalactite formations, as well as the mind-blowing fossil discoveries made in these caves. It's well worth the drive from Joburg to travel back millions of years in time.
Lindfield Victorian House
Journey back to the Victorian era at the Lindfield Victorian House Museum situated in Auckland Park. This hidden gem is an absolute must-visit for aspirant Victorians or anyone with a love of trinkets and antique furniture. You will be taken on a guided tour through the stunning Herbert Baker house that has been loving kept up by Katharine Love. Afterwards you will enjoy a Victorian-inspired tea complete with tea and cream scones! This is a lovely experience for all ages, so book yourself a tour as soon as possible.
The Rand Club
The Joburg skyline is littered with the outlines of buildings old and new, creating a masterful portrait of past and present. If you have the time, take a meander through the city to try and spot its most famous landmarks. One of our favourites is the Rissik Street Post Office. This stately building was once the tallest in the city of Joburg! Sadly, like many of Joburg's old buildings it has been unoccupied for decades and is yet to be fully restored to its former glory.
But there is some hope for the old structures of the inner city. Pay a visit to the Rand Club to experience a true taste of Joburg's yesteryears. The current Rand Club building was opened in 1904 and still stands today as a proud bastion of elegance and heritage. The Club hosts a variety of events open to the public, or you can sign up for private membership to gain access to the club's most exclusive features. Put on your snazziest suit and join your chums for a fun game of snooker at the Rand. It's a one-of-a-kind experience.
Constitution Hill is home to one of the oldest historical landmarks in Johannesburg. Pay a visit to the Old Fort Prison to get a first-hand look at the prison cells that housed some of South Africa's most influential political stalwarts, including Joe Slovo and Nelson Mandela. While this may not be a history we prefer to remember, it is vitally important to understanding how far we have come as a nation. You can also visit the infamous women's jail and the Awaiting Trial Block to learn more about how political prisoners were treated during the Apartheid years. Once you've traveled through that distant past, walk up to the Constitutional Court to see our country's democracy fulfilled.
Do you know of any other historical sites in Johannesburg worth visiting? Let us know about them in the comments below!