Jo'burg & Pretoria Holidays

While Gauteng may geographically be South Africa's smallest province it is an urban playground of note with the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Johannesburg is South Africa's largest city as well as the financial and commercial heart of the country, while Pretoria is the administrative capital which is both a showpiece of South Africa's sad and controversial past, and of its vibrant new life.

The largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg is a booming, happening city with an infectious energy and vibrancy. Jo’burg has grown rapidly since the discovery of gold in 1886 and is today Africa’s richest metropolis. Along with a diverse cultural life, some fantastic shopping, restaurants and nightlife, Johannesburg has many notable landmarks and attractions.

An absolute must-see is the fascinating Apartheid Museum, which graphically charts the chilling era of segregation and oppression. Overlooking the city, Constitution Hill is home of the architectural marvel, Constitutional Court, as well as important heritage buildings such as the Old Fort museum and Women’s Gaol museum.

The precinct of Newtown is the heart of Johannesburg’s cultural landscape and brims with trendy coffee shops, restaurants, galleries, craft workshops, nightclubs, threatres and museums.For a journey into the soul of the fight for freedom, be sure to visit the famous township of Soweto. More of a city than a township, Soweto is a sprawling area where you can see the many milestones of South Africa’s turbulent history, including the former homes of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

For a change of scene head to the smaller and more relaxed city of Pretoria, which is the country’s administrative capital. Whilst not as dynamic as Jo’burg, it has a rich heritage with stately buildings, good museums and pretty jacaranda-lined streets.

Be sure to visit the imposing Union Buildings, a crescent-shaped complex where thousands gathered in 1994 to see Nelson Mandela inaugurated as South African president.

High on a hilltop south of the city centre is the Voortrekker Monument, which commemorates the epic exodus of Boers from the Cape into the interior. Nearby Freedom Park traces the story of South Africa’s liberation and encompasses a series of poignant memorials and an impressive museum.

Why visit Jo'burg & Pretoria?
  • Fascinating museums
  • History and heritage
  • Great shopping
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites nearby
Essential facts about Jo'burg & Pretoria
Local Time

GMT +2 hours

Currency

South African Rand

Travel information

Johannesburg is approximately 11 hours (non-stop flights) from the UK. Pretoria is an hour’s drive from Johannesburg.

Best time to go

Johannesburg enjoys a mild climate with approximately six weeks of chilly weather in mid-winter (July-August) and summers with warm sunshine (October-March). The rainy season occurs in summer rather than winter and tends to be short sharp storms rather than prolonged rain. Pretoria’s climate is similar to Johannesburg, but as it lies at a somewhat lower altitude temperatures can be very slightly higher.

Travelling with children

South Africa has relaxed its requirements for travelling with children under the age of 18. Visa exempt children (including UK Nationals visiting for tourism purposes) entering South Africa accompanied by an adult are required to present only a valid passport on arrival, regardless of whether the child is travelling with both parents, one parent, or an adult who is not a biological parent.

There are other requirements for children travelling unaccompanied. For more information, contact the South African High Commission www.southafricahouseuk.com or the South African Department of Home Affairs www.dha.gov.za.

Unmissable Experiences in Jo'burg & Pretoria
Soweto excursion
Soweto

This half day tour from Johannesburg offers an insight to the legendary township of SOWETO, acronym for South Western Township, which is home to 2 million people. Visit the Hector Pieterson Museum, then pass Mandela House before continuing to Regina Mundi Church, site of many secret meetings of the then banned political parties, and finally travel past Soccer City.

From £45

Pretoria and Cullinan Diamond Tour excursion
Pretoria and Cullinan Diamond Tour

This full day tour from Johannesburg begins with a visit to the Cullinan Diamond Mine, South Africa’s third richest diamond mine. See the workings and machinery of the mine and the enormous open cast mine. After lunch at a local restaurant continue to Pretoria to see the legendary Voortrekker Monument, the Kruger Museum and the Union Buildings.

From £129

History of Humankind and Lesedi Cultural Tour excursion
History of Humankind and Lesedi Cultural Tour

This full day tour from Johannesburg starts with a visit to the World Heritage Site of The Cradle of Humankind. After a stop at Maropeng Visitor Centre, an exhibition focusing on the development of humans and ancestors, you’ll discover Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Sotho and Pedi cultures at the Lesedi Cultural Village and experience their warmth and hospitality. The tour concludes with a traditional African meal.

From £139