Top 10: Free things to do in Johannesburg

The Market on Main is a regular event at the Maboneng Precinct. The Market on Main is a regular event at the Maboneng Precinct.

1 Museum Africa

This free museum in the vibrant Newtown Precinct is situated on Mary Fitzgerald Square. Museum Africa focuses on the culture and history of South Africa, Johannesburg and the South African War, or Second Anglo-Boer War. It also host regular art exhibitions. The entrance to the museum is at 121 Bree Street. more

2 Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve

This beautiful nature reserve in the south of Johannesburg is a pleasant surprise for first-time visitors and a delight for nature lovers in the city. There are six hiking trails in the hilly 680ha reserve. The reserve is great for bird-watching and has an impressive number of mammal species including zebra, red hartebeest, black wildebeest and springbok. more

3 Public art

The City of Johannesburg invests a percentage of the business development budget for the metropolis in public art and the results have been spectacular. From Braamfontein’s metal trees to Hillbrow’s Angel of the North and Newtown’s graffiti gallery, there is art to enjoy around virtually every corner in the city of gold. more

4 Zoo Lake

There are few better picnic spots in the middle of Johannesburg than Zoo Lake, a pleasant park along Jan Smuts Avenue. The park is a haven for relaxation, but it’s also an excellent place to go for a run, walk or stroll. The tree-lined lawns around the big pond lend themselves to laid-back picnics or ball games. more

5 Neighbourgoods Market

Don’t tell any Capetonians, but Johannesburg's version of the Neighbourgoods Market is just as good as the one in the Mother City. Every Saturday this colourful market in Braamfontein’s Juta Street hosts an eclectic range of food stalls, from fresh baked goods and farm produce to home-brewed beer. more

6 Emmarentia Dam

This dam and the surrounding Johannesburg Botanical Gardens are popular with runners, cyclists and dog walkers. On the weekend the grassy slopes are dotted with picnics and barbecues, with its laid-back vibe rivalled only by Zoo Lake. Dating back to 1886, the beautifully landscaped gardens boast 2 500 succulents and over 20 000 indigenous trees. more

7 The Maboneng Precinct

Focused around the galleries, studios and offices of Arts on Main, the Maboneng Precinct is one of the flagships of Johannesburg's urban renewal programme. Many galleries are free to the public and give a unique glimpse into South Africa's contemporary art scene. Every Sunday Arts on Main hosts the Market on Main, where you can enjoy delicious food and drink from countries around the world along with typical South African fare. more

8 Historic monuments

Although Johannesburg is a relatively young metropolis, there are plenty of monuments that remind visitors of its history. Ranging from the Oudstryders Monument (honouring Boer soldiers) to the Julius Jeppe Monument (honouring the man who built the first stone house in the gold rush town) the city has plenty to offer interested visitors and history buffs. more

9 Kliptown Open Air Museum

Situated on Soweto’s Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, the Kliptown Open Air Museum tells the story of the many people who contributed to the drafting of the Freedom Charter, adopted on 26 June 1955 on what was then a dusty soccer pitch in Kliptown. more

10 Melville Koppies Nature Reserve

This nature reserve in the middle of the Melville suburb is regarded as the last remaining natural portion of ridges in Johannesburg after the discovery of gold in 1886 saw an explosion of mining. The reserve has many interesting stone age sites and the indigenous vegetation of the area gives an excellent idea of what this part of the Highveld once looked like. more