A Safari-free guide to Johannesburg

by Beth Slynes
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South Africa is one of the ‘go to’ places if you’re looking for a great safari. With so many species of wildlife it is a popular destination with travellers from around the world. But there is much more to South Africa than just safaris. This beautiful country has so much more for those looking for a culturally rich holiday than you would expect. Johannesburg is a great city with a lot of activities and sights to see for anyone looking for a boutique cultural getaway in South Africa. 

With a great selection of attractions dedicated to the history of the country and the beginning of mankind any history buff will certainly be in their element.

Lesedi is a cultural village dedicated to showing visitors the traditions and lifestyles of well known African tribes. You can experience firsthand what it is like to live as part of a tribe. Browse the village and markets with a local tour guide, as well as experience live tribal music, performances and true African cuisine. You might also witness a rain dance performed by the local tribe. The village is situated close to Hartebeespoort dam in the Magaliesberg mountain range, which offers; hiking trails, hot air balloon rides, river rafting down the Crocodile River and much more. With a great selection of restaurants and shops around the mountain range, it is a great place to spend the day on the best cultural break in South Africa.

The Apartheid Museum is a fantastic place to visit for those fascinated in history, aimed more at adults with its in depth facts and footage about the country’s horrifying history. For those looking for a more interactive attraction that will be fun and interesting for people of all ages, visit the Maropeng Visitor Centre. With exhibitions looking into the past present and future of humankind you will be shocked and awed at the displays that the Maropeng Visitor Centre has to offer, including representations of the four elements shown throughout the exhibits. The Maropeng journey through the past also includes an underground boat ride showing the various stages of the creation of the earth including a simulation of the most recent ice-age. With a great selection of interactive exhibits the Maropeng Visitor Centre is a great experience on your leading heritage trip to South Africa.

The Maropeng Visitor Centre is located in the Cradle of Humankind world heritage site, along with the Sterkfontein Caves, which offer another great day out. The Sterkfontein caves are famous for the fossils which were found within them some more than 4 million years old. You can walk through the caves or just see the exhibitions displaying fossils and models of various animals and objects, fascinating to people of all ages.

Boulders Beach is a must when planning a luxury cultural holiday in South Africa. The famous beach in Cape Town is not only a great place to relax and prepare for another day of activities, but it is also one of the few places in the world where you can swim with penguins. So take a dip in the warm waters from the False Bay coast and experience a once in a lifetime opportunity.

After a long day of cultural experiences why not finish the night with a restaurant dedicated to the culture you have been discovering. Lekgotla has authentic African cuisines from various areas of the country, a selection of some of the best South African wines, and a decor that conveys native African spirit it is a great place to end a busy day when on a boutique gourmet break in Johannesburg.

The country’s cultural heritage was influenced greatly by Nelson Mandela; his popularity among the people of South Africa has led to numerous places being dedicated to him. He is a huge part of the cultural heritage of the country, so be sure to visit some of the many places devoted to him on your boutique cultural getaway in South Africa. A popular area with both tourists and locals is Nelson Mandela Square, a huge public space filled with sidewalk cafes, magnificent restaurants and shops, with a fantastic sculpture of Mandela residing in the hub of the square.

Sandton Sun Hotel in Johannesburg is a wonderful hotel, certain to make your stay most comfortable. Located in the thriving city, the hotel is close to many attractions and with a huge range of facilities including a spa, swimming pool and a selection of restaurants and bars you can ensure a stress free stay as you fully enjoy your boutique cultural getaway in South Africa.

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