Jo at Jo Meintjes Travel does devote most of her time to organising tours further afield, but still has a keen interest for interesting places in South Africa, especially around Johannesburg in the Gauteng province.
The information here may assist if you are new to Johannesburg or for your day visits or have a few hours between flights Jo recommends:
Shopping Chauffeur driven tours can be arranged to some interesting markets with home made produce such as Bryanston (Thurs/Sat) or at Norwood Mall (Sundays the most vibrant) for local handmade African curios or into the regular upmarket shopping Malls.
For Gourmet shopping try The Farmers Market in Melville, Jozi Food Market, Parkhurst both on Saturday mornings. For the drinkers: SAB World of Beer in Newtown; a new brew to try in restaurants is called Darling Brew.
Entertainment: We have excellent theatre productions either in town at the Jo’burg Theatre or at Montecasino. Keep an eye on the newspaper for the latest productions or concerts, raves etc. Art Galleries – keep an eye on the paper for the latest exhibitions. The Johannesburg Art Gallery in Braamfontein is the biggest on the subcontinent with 15 halls; Picasso, Degas and Monet’s works feature.
Anthropological Visit the new museum at Origins, part of University of the Witswatersrand; then experience day tours at Sterkfontein and Maropeng where some of the oldest skulls of human kind were discovered. There is a good museum and restaurant attached to these facilities.
Historical Experience life in the early days of Johannesburg with visits to Historical buildings of the early Randlords still maintained thanks to the efforts of the Johannesburg Heritage Society’s encouragement. Local tour guides can take you in their transport. Visit some of the early mines such as Kloofendal and Langlaagte mines and gold pouring at Gold Reef City built on the world’s once largest producing mine: Crown Mines. Further afield in Pretoria there are hilltop Forts from the Anglo Boer War as well as the Voortrekker monument on the outskirts of town. Military artefacts can be seen at the War Museum on the edge of the Zoo, in Saxonwold.
Modderfontein, half way between OR Tambo international airport and Johannesburg, is still a leafy suburb with a good restaurant and the museum at Franz Hoenig Haus, depicting the early mining methods with dynamite. AECI originally developed this suburb for their dynamite factory hence the attractive old houses which can still be seen. Rumours have it that an international organisation will take over the area.
There is a 275 hectare nature reserve in the area. More information is available on the Modderfontein Conservation Society website. http://www.modderconserve.org
The Struggle Visit the Apartheid Museum, Lilliesleaf Museum and Constitution Hill recently renovated from the Johannesburg Fort – Mandela was once imprisoned here. Freedom Park not far from the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria remembers those who lost their lives. Trips to Soweto with a knowledgeable guide can be organised.
Gardening visits to some of the larger gardens, possibly even Brenthurst belonging to the Oppenheimers which stretches over 20 acres very near the city centre. October/November is Jacaranda time in Johannesburg and a beautiful time to visit. If you have any specialist interest like Succulents or Orchids Jo will try to assist.
Botanical Gardens – at Emmarentia and the larger and more prolific at Roodekrans on the West Rand. Both have cafés for refreshments.
Birding or other nature activities like frogs, trees – let us know if you wish to talk with experts or be taken on outings. Delta Park boasts a bird hide and is good for walks. It’s always best to walk with at least two of you.
Hiking – a guide will take you with a delicious lunch to hike in the Magaliesberg area with some striking views from the hilltops. Hikes can be catered according to your abilities. Some hikes include remote rock pools for a refreshing swim before/after lunch.
Bungee Jump? The Orlando Towers boasts the first bungee jump between two cooling towers.
Wildlife from day trips to Pilanesberg are possible with an early start from Johannesburg (preferably ask Jo Meintjes for 1-2 nights stay in a nearby hotel) to visits to the Lion and Rhino Reserve; the Lion Park; or pat the cheetahs at De Wildt where you can also see the endangered Wild Dogs. Lippizaner horse shows every Sunday 45 mins drive from central Johannesburg.
FURTHER AFIELD: day trips to the Tswaing Crater and the Vredefort Dome, a World Heritage Site, for the geologically minded are very worth while. Also to Pretoria either by own transport or Gautrain, (our rapid transit train) to see President Kruger’s house, Kruger’s Statue and the stately buildings including Government’s Union Buildings built in the early 20thC
CUSTOM MADE TOURS to Cape Town, Durban, the private game reserves in and around Kruger Park, or nearer to Joburg like the malaria-free areas of Welgevonden and Madikwe areas to the north are all easily booked with car hire and flights on request. Guided walking trails in comfortable accommodation in game areas available.
If you are settling in Johannesburg for any length of time Jo is happy to share her contacts for women’s clubs, many other societies organise regular lectures; there are birding, hiking & historical outings offered by the relevant club; or learn to play croquet, one of her passions. There is so much happening in the Gauteng area that the newcomer will soon feel at home amongst new contacts and friends.