Did you know?
The historic Union Buildings in Pretoria is the South African government's administative centre.
Gauteng is home to the funky precinct of Newtown - a great place to explore Johannesburg's urban culture - with fantastic restaurants, laid-back jazz venues, comedy clubs, late-night eateries, and night clubs. Here you'll also find the eclectic MuseumAfrica, the Bensusan Museum of Photography and the world-famous Market Theatre, as well as art galleries, crafts shops and street artists.
Step back in time to a place where humans first roamed the earth. The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site comprises numerous limestone caves containing the fossilised remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and some of the earliest hominids.
These cave sites have produced over 850 hominid fossil remains and are some of the world's richest concentrations of hominid fossil bearing sites. This is also the home of ‘Mrs Ples', our famous 2,8 million year-old ancestor, and the recently discovered new species of hominid named Australopithecus sediba, which was announced on 8 April 2010.
The fascinating Maropeng Visitors Centre will take you on a journey of exploration into the development of our human ancestry.
Gold Reef City, in the south of Johannesburg, is the city's renowned entertainment theme park which recreates the environment of the late 19th-century gold rush days. Here you'll find a fun historical recreation of Johannesburg's mining heritage, 2 theatres showcasing South African talent, a thriving casino and a number of restaurants and delightful eateries. A major highlight is a trip down a decommissioned mine shaft. There are also amusement park rides for those seeking an adrenalin rush.
If you only have 2 hours to get out of the city don't miss a trip to the Lion Park in Lanseria. You'll get to see lions up close, interact with lion cubs and witness lion feeding. There are also cheetah and wild dog enclosures, as well as giraffe, zebra, ostrich, hyena, and antelope in the park.
The Voortrekker Monument is an impressive and evocative memorial to the Afrikaner people (the Boers), who migrated in their thousands from the Cape Colony by ox wagon to the interior of South Africa in search of independence and a better life, in the Great Trek of 1835 to 1854.
The monument features magnificent granite reliefs and sculptures, including a world-famous tapestry and a circle of 64 life-sized granite ox wagons, which represent the hardships and sacrifices that were endured.
The most famous township in the world, Soweto is a must-see for those interested in South Africa's political history. Visit the Hector Pieterson Memorial - a symbol of the resistance against the brutality of the apartheid government. It commemorates the June 1976 Soweto uprising when 12-year-old Hector Pieterson was shot and killed.
Visit the Mandela House museum in Vilakazi Street and then head off to Sakhumzi's Restaurant or Wandie's Place, two of Soweto's famed shebeens. Make sure you have a few hours to spare as township life can get very entertaining. You can also take an ecofriendly cycling tour of Soweto, mingle with the community, and see its historical sites.
And for the really adventurous, bungee jumping off Orlando Towers with its spectacular views of Soweto and surrounds is a must.
Next to Gold Reef City, you'll find the Apartheid Museum. Here you can take an emotional journey through South Africa's turbulent political history. The museum features innovative architecture and high-tech displays, where, through pictures and words, the tumultuous times that resulted in South Africa's struggle for freedom - have been recreated.
Constitution Hill is a national heritage site that has witnessed a century of South Africa's history and is a tribute to our country's dramatic transition to democracy. Today it is a human rights precinct and a major tourist attraction; it's also the home of South Africa's Constitutional Court. The Old Fort complex (home to the notorious Number Four prison) is, to date, the only jail in the world that housed 2 major international peace icons, namely Mohandas Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
Tshwane's impressive Freedom Park pays tribute to those who have fallen during the anti-apartheid struggle. This beautiful garden of remembrance celebrates significant moments in the history of South Africans that shaped and paved the road to freedom and democracy.