Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa, but there is plenty to do. The best part – some of the best things to do won’t cost you cent! Here are 19 free things to do in Gauteng.
1. Go back in time at James Hall Museum of Transport
You don’t have to be a petrol head to enjoy a visit to Johannesburg’s James Hall Museum of Transport, the largest transport museum in South Africa. Exhibitions include anima-ldrawn vehicles from the late 18th century, trams, bicycles dating back to 1786 and a steam vehicle collection. Tel 011-435-9718, www.jhmt.org.za.
2. Feed the bunnies at the Bunny Park
For a family outing, head to the Bunny Park on Joburg’s East Rand. The rabbits, as well as donkeys, cows and goats, are tame and can be hand-fed, so take along a bunch of carrots or buy veggies at the kiosk. (Upgrades on the facilities and animal enclosures are in progress, but the park is open for visitors – ed.) Tel 011-422-3651.
3. See some of SA’s best art at the Goodman Gallery
Visit the Goodman Gallery in Parkwood, a contemporary art gallery that’s home to the works of 40 artists, including William Kentridge, Kendell Geers and David Goldblatt. Tel 011-788-1113, www.goodman-gallery.com.
4. Get down to live music at Aware Record Store
New vinyl shop Aware Record Store at 70 Juta Street in Braamfontein is the place to be on Saturday afternoons when the pavement becomes a stage for live bands. awareza.tumblr.com.
5. Relax at Zoo Lake
Zoo Lake remains a favourite weekend destination among locals. Kids will love to feed the ducks and a paved path offers a safe meander for trainer bikes. Plenty of picnic spots are available.
6. Soak up the views from Northcliff Hill
The vistas from Northcliff Hill, the second-highest point in Johannesburg, are expansive, stretching out over the northern suburbs. Drinking sundowners on the hill is a wonderful way to enjoy the city lights.
7. Visit Circa on Jellicoe
The architecturally exquisite Circa on Jellicoe in Rosebank is great for exhibits of South African contemporary art and technological wonders. Tel 011-788-4805, www.circaonjellicoe.co.za.
8. See medical wonders at the Adler Museum of Medicine
Wits University’s Adler Museum of Medicine traces the history of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy in its displays of documents, sculptures, stamp and medallion collections, and a library of rare books, as well as a reconstruction of an early Johannesburg doctor’s room. Tel 011-717-2081.
9. Have a lesson in history at Walter Sisulu Square
In the heart of Soweto, where the Freedom Charter was signed in 1955, Walter Sisulu Square consists of shops, offices, the Open-Air Museum, a tshisa nyama braai area and the Freedom Charter Monument. www.waltersisulusquare.co.za.
10. Enjoy nature at Delta Park
Walk along Braamfontein Spruit at Delta Park, a green lung within the city of Johannesburg.
11. Head to Emmarentia Dam
Explore Emmarentia Dam’s lawns and walkways. Take along a canoe for a paddle or pack something to throw on one of the braais.
12. Visit the Money Museum
Learn about the history of money, dating back 4 500 years, at the Absa Money Museum in downtown Johannesburg. www.absa.co.za.
13. Admire Asian architecture at the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple
For a Taiwanese cultural immersion, go to Nan Hua Buddhist Temple in Bronkhorstspruit. The architecture is exquisite, with Chinese-style concrete castings, red-glazed roof tiles and vibrant murals on interior and exterior walls. Tel 013-931-0009, www.nanhua.co.za.
14. Explore Africa’s past at Museum Africa
Take a step back in time at Museum Africa in Newtown, which documents the continent’s past, in places such as Kemet (now Egypt) and Punt (Somalia). Tel 011-833-5624, www.museumafrica.org.
15. Walk in a nature reserve
Put on your walking shoes and head to Kloofendal or Klipriviersberg nature reserves in Johannesburg. www.jhbcityparks.co.za.
16. Take a scenic drive
Jump in your car and drive from Pretoria to the Magaliesberg along the 120-kilometre stretch that forms the Magalies Meander. Stop at various viewpoints that provide splendid vistas of the koppies and rolling grasslands. www.magaliesmeander.co.za.
17. Wander through a market
Visit the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein on Saturdays. There’s no charge to browse and sample some of the yummy goods, but you’re unlikely to leave empty-handed. www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za.
18. Visit Cullinan
The collection of shops in Cullinan has an arty vibe and history buffs can start at Cullinan Tourism and History on Oak Avenue for a display of photographs, objects and information about the town’s past.
19. Be immersed in flowers at The Multiflora Flower Market
Head towards the mine dumps south of Johannesburg’s CBD for buckets full of blooms. The Multiflora Flower Market is home to the largest flower auction in Africa. www.multiflora.co.za.