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Best areas to stay in Johannesburg or Pretoria

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Best areas to stay in Johannesburg or Pretoria

Hello fellow travellers. My wife and I will be in South Africa again in 2015, and the last thing we'll be doing is spending 3 or 4 nights in either Johannesburg or Pretoria. There are plenty of things we're planning to do, but need some advice on the best area to stay, central to both, with places to eat, safe, etc. When we have that we can then start to look for B&Bs or hotels. We're seasoned travellers to South Africa, but this will be the first time doing anything other than pass through this area on the way to or from the airport. Any advice would be hugely appreciated.

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1. Re: Best areas to stay in Johannesburg or Pretoria

It is wonderful that at least yourselves are going to spend some time in Gauteng, instead of just passing through.

We definitely need more of this.

There is a wealth of historical, and cultural heritage to be seen in the area, ranging from 3 million year old fossils, right up to the present, including art, politically and economically important sites, etc.... you name it.. we have it!

Also, if nature is your interest, then there are botanical gardens, etc.

I would recommend either ROSEBANK, or SANDTON, in Johannesburg, with the emphasis on Rosebank.

I cannot help with Pretoria areas, as far as accommodation goes, but Pretoria is also a fascinating city to visit.

There are many good B&B s in and near to Rosebank.

For more advice, stay tuned, or drop me a private message.

here is a short list:

What to do, in and near Johannesburg/ Pretoria

Johannesburg has over 100 “Blue Plaques”


Soccer, rugby, cricket, athletics, at one of our superb stadiums


Bungee jumping at the Soweto Towers


Soweto tour

City Tour Ho Ho Bus available

Lesedi Cultural Village

Performing arts

Ballet, plays, at one of our superb theatres,

in down town, or Soweto, or in some of the “entertainment complexes”, like Monte Casino, etc

Fine art

Outdoor sculptures

Von Brandis Statue, Miners Monument, George Harrison Statue, Scottish soldier, Oppenheimer fountain, Brenda Fassie, Kippie Moeketsi


Johannesburg Art Gallery, Having recently undergone an extensive upgrade:

Larger than the National gallery in Cape Town. Contains works by Dutch masters, Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin, Picasso, and many local artists

Sadly the area around the gallery is a little “seedy”, now

Wits (University) Art Gallery

a treasure trove of African art displayed in a bright, airy, climate controlled environment.

The Origins Centre ( Rock Art)

Constitutional Court

Numerous Private galleries

Artists under the sun

Various pieces of art around the city, and in Soweto.


First weekend of every month


Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (usually perform at Linder Auditorium)

Standard Bank International Jazz Festival August

Jazz on the Lake, free, at zoo lake in September

The Bassline Jazz club, in Newtown

The Coca Cola Dome

Other outdoor concerts at various venues, like the Zoo, or Botanical Gardens


World class malls:

Sandton Rosebank, East, North, South Westgate, Cresta, Maponya in Soweto,

African Craft Market Rosebank 7 days

Market on Main, Sundays

Neighbourgoods market Braamfontein, Saturdays

Rooftop Market, Norwood, Sundays

Bryanston Organic Market

Design Centre: Arts on Main

Cambanos for African Curios, tanzanite, diamonds ( in Midrand)


Small but excellent Johannesburg Zoo

Melville Koppies (when open)

National Botanical Gardens, Roodepoort, AND Pretoria

Lion Park

Rhino and Lion Park

Crocodile farm

Krugersdorp Game Reserve


AECI Dynamite Factory Museum.

Museum Africa, ( not great, but interesting) which incorporates:

Bensusan Museum of photography, and the Africana Museum.

World of Beer

Sci Bono Discovery Centre (Science Museum)

Workers museum

Apartheid Museum

Lilliesleaf farm , in Rivonia, where the arrests of Umkhonto we Sizwe leaders took place: a world class interactive museum

Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum

Gold Reef City Gold Mining Museum (and theme park)

Constitutional Court precinct, incorporating the old fort prison where Mandela and Gandhi were imprisoned, as well as the infamous Women’s prison

Satyagraha House, where MK Ghandi lived, and formulated his philosophy of non violent protest.

James Hall museum of Transport

It is largest transport museum in Africa

National Museum of Military history

Amongst others, contains aircraft found nowhere else in the world

Origins Centre, covering Human evolution and bushman art: a world class interactive museum

Adler Museum of Medicine. At Wits University, only by appointment

History of the health sciences in Southern Africa, with special reference to Gauteng.

Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Museum.( coming soon)

Gambling and shows

Monte Casino and theatre

Gold Reef City Casino and theatre

Emperor's Palace Casino and theatre


Cradle of Humankind (Sterkfontein & Maropeng: world class museums)

Has yielded more hominid fossils than anywhere else on earth

South African Airways Museum Germiston

Elephant sanctuary Hartbeespoort

Monkey Sanctuary Hartbeespoort

Mountain Cableway, Hartbeespoort

Ann van Dyk Cheetah research centre Hartbeespoort

First place, world wide here cheetah were successfully bred for re introduction to the wild.

Also African Wild dog

Petra Diamond Mine

Only place worldwide where you can buy a diamond at the actual mine

Only place you can buy a “Cullinan Star Cut” diamond


South African Air Force Museum

Jan Smuts House

Melrose House

Paul Kruger House

Sammy Marks House.. built on a farm purchased from my great grandfather

Church Square

Heroes Acre

For the Australians…….. Breaker Morant’s Grave

Transvaal Museum of Natural History

National Cultural Museum

Union Buildings and gardens

South African Mint Midrand

Police Museum

Voortrekker ( Pioneer) Monument

Boer War forts, Schanskop and Klapperkop ( restored, Boer war museums)

Tswaaing Meteorite Crater

Pilanesberg ……

Malaria Free, big 5 Game reserve only 2 hours by road from Johannesburg

Sun City, South Africa’s “mini Las Vegas”, out in the middle of “nowhere”.

Largest Buddhist temple in Southern Hemisphere Bronkhorstspruit

Largest Mosque in Southern Hemisphere Midrand

Etc etc etc………. speak to me about your interests.

2. Re: Best areas to stay in Johannesburg or Pretoria

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3. Re: Best areas to stay in Johannesburg or Pretoria

Gavin and Thuli, thanks for such comprehensive replies - lots of things to do that we'd already looked at but lots of new ideas as well.

B&Bs seem very reasonably priced compared to UK, but that'll be a lot to do with the current exchange rate. My wife found a likely looking place in Blackheath - is this a decent area, bearing in mind all the usual things about travelling that we do as a matter of course?


Edited: 7:03 am, March 30, 2014
4. Re: Best areas to stay in Johannesburg or Pretoria

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