JOHANNESBURG Day Tours

Egoli, City of Gold. They came from far and wide to strike it rich in Johannesburg when gold was discovered in 1886. Our multicultural ‘City of Gold’ still pulsates with entrepreneurial energy, power and the jingle of money, so it’s little wonder the pace is fast and furious. Let Thompsons Africa guide you through this intoxicating maze.

JOHANNESBURG CITY TOUR


HALF DAY TOUR
Departs Daily between
08h15 & 08h45
Set off for Constitution Hill, home of South Africa’s architectural marvel, the Constitutional Court and site of Johannesburg’s Old Fort Prison (closed Sundays). Explore the inner city of Johannesburg learning about the gold rush, before exploring the Maboneng Precinct, a wonderful example of urban regeneration of the eastside of Johannesburg. Return to your hotel via the lush, up market suburb of Houghton.

YOUR EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Constitution Hill
  • Constitutional Court
  • Johannesburg’s Old Fort Prison (closed Sundays)
  • Johannesburg inner city
  • Maboneng Precinct
  • Houghton

PRETORIA AND CULLINAN DIAMOND TOUR


FULL DAY TOUR
Departs Tue, Thu & Sat
between 08h00 & 08h30
The Cullinan Diamond Mine is the site of the World’s oldest and South Africa’s third richest diamond mine. Premier mine opened in 1902 and together with it founded the pretty Victorian village of Cullinan. The Cullinan Mine produced the world’s largest gem quality diamond – a massive 3106-carats uncut!  This diamond was chiseled into 98 individual diamonds including the Great and Lesser Stars of Africa, the 2nd and 3rd largest polished diamonds in the World which are now set in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The tour starts with a 15 minute video before we are led into the high security premises of the mine where we are shown the workings and machinery of the mine. We then visit the enormous open cast mine, excavated from Kimberlite rock which is now four times larger than the famous ‘Big Hole’ in Kimberley. Continue to Cullinan Diamonds where we view diamond cutting and polishing before we are invited to browse the loose diamonds and exquisite jewellery and perhaps make that special purchase! After lunch at a local restaurant, we continue with our cultural journey of exploration through our capital, the Jacaranda City, so called for its breathtaking purple-lined streets when the jacaranda trees are in full bloom. We’re ready and set to trace South Africa’s extraordinary history via a range of imposing, intriguing museums and monuments, beginning with the legendary Voortrekker Monument, a memorial to the early settlers. We travel on to the Kruger Museum, the private residence of President Paul Kruger of the old Transvaal Republic. We’ve chosen to end this City Tour with the Union Buildings, not only an architectural icon, but site of the emotionally charged scene which played out at Nelson Mandela’s joyful inauguration as president in 1994. You’ll be standing precisely where South African history turned the corner.

Minimum 4 pax  •  No children under 10 years
 

YOUR EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Cullinan Diamond Mine workings and machinery
  • Open cast mine
  • Diamond cutting and polishing

LILIESLEAF - A PLACE OF LIBERATION


HALF DAY TOUR
Departs Tue, Thu & Sat
between 13h30 & 14h00
Situated in residential Rivonia, the insightful and interactive museum experience at Liliesleaf honours South Africa’s remarkable heritage and the impressive trajectory of South Africa’s socio-political past. Once the headquarters of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the military wing of the ANC and the Congress Alliance, Liliesleaf holds a position of esteem among struggle landmarks in South Africa. Visitors to Liliesleaf will experience a first-hand account of the events and circumstances leading up to the infamous raid of the Rivonia farm, as well as insights into some of the revolutionary personalities who helped to shape South Africa’s democracy. Liliesleaf is one of Joburg’s best museums, not only because the new structures have been integrated so eloquently into the existing historical site, but because it challenges visitors to consider their responses to thorny moral and political dilemmas that were inseparable from life under apartheid and frighteningly pertinent today.

YOUR EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Liliesleaf Museum interactive experience

SOWETO TOUR


HALF DAY TOUR
Departs daily between
12h45 & 13h15
You know the name. It’s a legend. SOWETO, acronym for South Western Township, is home to over 2 million people, who, despite living in crowded and chaotic conditions, have a tangible sense of community, one which ironically, the ordered, walled, elitist northern suburbs lack. Inside Soweto, we visit the Kliptown Open Air Museum where delegates met in 1955 to adopt the Freedom Charter, now the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights and the South African Constitution. Our journey continues to Regina Mundi Church, site of many secret underground meetings of the then banned political parties. Our next stop is the Hector Pieterson Museum, and discover the cause of the tragic riots which led to his death; we pass Mandela House, and give you time to visit this fascinating little museum (own account). Finally we take you past the largest stadium in Africa, Soccer City, host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final. Soweto is unlike a suburb you’ve ever seen or been to, yet the history of struggle encapsulated here is a cornerstone of the South African Story.

YOUR EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Kliptown Open Air Museum
  • Hector Pieterson Museum
  • Mandela House (own account)
  • Regina Mundi Church
  • Soccer City, host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final

SUN CITY & THE PILANESBERG NATIONAL PARK


FULL DAY TOUR
Departs daily between
06h30 & 07h00
Wild and wonderful, that’s for sure. The day begins early with a professionally guided, closed vehicle game drive into Big Five country: the Pilanesberg National Park. Who knows which of the Big or Little Five you’ll see? Close neighbour to this superb natural reserve, is Sun City, one of South Africa’s most popular theme resorts, and you’ll have full access to the casino for a little flutter or two. For the really curious, you’ll want to visit the Valley of Waves, Swimming Pools, and even enjoy a guided tour of the Lost City (own account). It’s a fabulously relaxing day…and might prove very profitable for some! 

YOUR EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Professionally guided, closed vehicle game drive
  • Sun City casino
  • Valley of Waves (own account)
  • Guided tour of the Lost City (own account)

JOURNEY TO FREEDOM


FULL DAY TOUR
Departs Tue, Thu, Sat & Sun
between 08h30 & 09h10
Many South Africans gave much, some gave all, to achieve a truly democratic South Africa. Come with us on this full day tour which shares some of the journey, pain and struggle of those heroes; witness the places, experience the diverse museums where these momentous, tumultuous years have been so well documented. Our day begins at the Kliptown Open Air Museum where delegates met in 1955 to adopt the Freedom Charter, now the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights and the South African Constitution. Our next significant stop is the fascinating Regina Mundi Church, site of so many of the underground meetings of the then banned political parties. Standing in here, you can feel the tension, picture the intensity, the strain on the faces of those unthinkably brave souls, committed at any cost to changing the way of life of a nation. Our next stop is the Hector Pieterson Museum, where we start to unravel the cause of the devastating riots, before travelling past Mandela House, where you have the option of visiting this small museum (own account). We’ve chosen to lunch in Soweto at a local restaurant. We then continue our journey driving past the affluent suburb of Diepkloof, which is in stark contrast to the lower income areas seen earlier in the day, en-route to the iconic Apartheid Museum. This is an interactive voyage of discovery, one which takes you from the dark days of ‘whites only’ privilege, through to Nelson Mandela’s historic release. The Apartheid Museum is a multimedia experience, with documentary film snippets, texts, sound clips and live accounts, recapturing life in the dark days of South Africa. It’s a fascinating tour, filled with tales of bravery and sadness, but ultimately, it’s a story with the right ending.

YOUR EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Kliptown Open Air Museum
  • Regina Mundi Church
  • Hector Pieterson Museum
  • Mandela House (own account)
  • Lunch in Soweto at a local restaurant (own account)
  • Diepkloof
  • Apartheid Museum

HISTORY OF HUMANKIND & LESEDI CULTURAL TOUR


FULL DAY TOUR
Departs Wed, Fri & Sun
between 07h00 & 07h30
We’re going right back to our beginnings, to the exceptional World Heritage Site of The Cradle of Humankind. The superb Maropeng Visitor Centre is truly an exciting, world class exhibition, focusing on the development of humans and our ancestors over the past few million years. From past to present, we’ll be exploring Five cultures at the Lesedi Cultural Village, heart and home to families of a range of African tribes, all living harmoniously in traditional homesteads. You’ll be right there experiencing the warmth and hospitality of people from the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Sotho and Pedi cultures, and you’ll find it fascinating! Our multilingual, multi-visual orientation depicts the history of South Africa, and will deepen your understanding of the complexity of our multicultural community. We will enjoy a traditional African meal, a fine way to round off a day of new experiences and fresh insights.

YOUR EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • World Heritage Site of The Cradle of Humankind
  • Maropeng Visitor Centre
  • Lesedi Cultural Village
  • Traditional African meal