Anyone who lives in Johannesburg knows it is a hub of great food, culture and entertainment. Rapidly changing for the times, Johannesburg has worn many faces throughout its life as the beating heart of South Africa. Now, it’s home to independent coffee shops, cinemas and restaurants, and emanates a feeling of hipster-cool. The streets hum with the history of the people who made it the eclectic city it is today, and this can be felt in the presence of the vibrant characters who live on those streets now.
There’s no place quite like Johannesburg. Whether you’re a seasoned local or a visitor wanting to get to know the area better, there might be more ways to explore Johannesburg than you first thought. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our favourite ways to see this indescribable city for locals and visitors alike. If you’re looking to buy a unique gift for a Johannesburg native or just yourself, look no further than our selection of gifts as indescribable and eclectic as the city itself.
Check out our list of Johannesburg days out separated by activity type below:
If you have an interest in fishing, this Beginners Fly Fishing Lesson in Gauteng is a great way to get to grips with the sport while enjoying the serene natural beauty of the Cradle of Mankind Heritage Area. Anyone who loves fishing can tell you it has a quiet, meditative quality, so where better to enjoy it than an area of outstanding natural beauty?
You’ll start your day at Kloofzicht Lodge Spa, where you’ll meet your instructor and the rest of the group. There, you can take a moment to absorb your beautiful surroundings before getting started. Your instructor will go over the history of fly fishing, and introduce you to the various equipment used. For the next 2.5 hours, you’ll learn everything you need to know to be a successful fly-fisher! Your expert guide will be on-hand to ensure your flies are tied on properly, and to offer advice so that by the end of your session you will hopefully have caught (and released) your very own fish.
Once cited as 'the tallest and grandest urban slum in the world', Hillbrow has long been known for its high population density, crime levels, and 'hijacked' buildings. However, this guided tour of the area seeks to dispel the now outdated myths and help you find a place in your heart for Gauteng's most misunderstood area. Your tour will begin at the famous Ponte Tower, where you'll gain exclusive access to an apartment for unrivalled views over Johannesburg, an introduction into the area's infamous past, and an exploration of the city's iconic donut-shaped building. Continuing on your journey of discovery, your guide will lead you through the streets of Hillbrow and Berea, where you'll discover a range of community hot spots and experience the hubbub of activity on Pretoria Street. Your tour even includes a local lunch and a refreshing beer (or soft drink) at a popular Hillbrow shebeen.
For a lot of us, clothes shopping is an absolute chore consisting of racks of clothes we can’t envisage on our own bodies, skinny mannequins who look nothing like us, and sharp elbows of other customers in our sides as we try to browse the racks of tops that resemble napkins. But once you find that perfect pair of jeans that fit you just right, the coat that makes you look like a cool detective or the shoes that make you feel like Beyoncé, there’s no denying the power and value of clothes that truly suit you. (The real You, not who you were pretending to be when you bought that glittery belt. You know the one we mean.)
Put the joy back into shopping with this personal shopping experience in Gauteng. With the help of a professional stylist, you’ll browse the eclectic boutiques and retail stores of Sandton City Shopping Centre and learn how to shop for your body and budget. You only need to look at one horrendous designer handbag to know that a hefty price tag does not equate to style, so during this in-depth 6-hour session you’ll discover how to shop smart, and pick up some great pieces that’ll serve you for years to come.
You know that great food we mentioned at the beginning? This Taste of Yeoville Food Tour is the perfect way to experience it. Yeoville is a unique suburb of Johannesburg, and is the true epicentre of Pan-African life. During this 4 hour walking tour, you’ll experience a dynamic culinary immersion into all things Johannesburg, beginning with sundowners at the iconic Ponte Tower Community Centre. Your guide will tell you all about how the centre has helped revitalise the neighbourhood to become a hive of entertainment and culinary innovations, changing constantly with the times (like Johannesburg.) Your tour will take you on a delicious journey through Johannesburg, exploring everything from Congolese dishes, to Cameroonian-style fish fresh from the Braai. You’ll also enjoy complimentary drinks from each of the locations, leaving you relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to dance the night away with your fellow explorers. Having met some colourful characters along the way, you'll finish your tour back at Ponte for one last look at the stunning Gauteng cityscape.
If Johannesburg is a city filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, why not tick another thing off your bucket list while you’re at it?
Experiencing a city by microlight is a truly unique activity that can’t be replicated. The microlight is different to other aircrafts in that it makes you feel like you’re floating on air, offering uninterrupted views for miles around. If you’re understandably apprehensive about this slightly jelly-legged experience, you can rest assured that your instructor has over 40 years in the industry. The phrase ‘safe hands’ doesn’t even begin to cover it! Arriving at the airfield for your aerial adventure, you’ll meet your instructor who will give you a detailed safety demonstration before you board the aircraft. This fixed-wing light sport aircraft is unlike any standard plane you may have flown in before. As the ground starts to shrink beneath you, the incomparable landscape of Johannesburg will open up and stretch into the distance. By the end of your half hour, you’ll be back on solid ground with a huge smile on your face – and planning your next microlight adventure!
Who says dudes can’t go to the spa?! Depriving any gender of the joy of pampering seems just plain cruel, and possibly sexist. (We’re not sure on that last one but if it means more people can get massages then we’re all for it.) If you’re in need of a brush-up on spa etiquette, check out our Gentleman’s Guide to the Spa here.
Meanwhile, sit back and relax during this Bachelors Pamper Day in Johannesburg. Perfect for a stag do to make the gang feel preened and pampered before hitting the town, or just as an excuse to enjoy a day of relaxation, you can’t go wrong with this highly-acclaimed spa day. This top-tier spa offers traditional barbering and treatment services to an exclusively male clientele, and you'll feel like royalty as soon as you walk in the door as a sense of sophistication and luxury washes over you. Attentive staff will be on-hand to cater to your every need, while you enjoy a head massage, pedicure, facial and a classic shave using products specifically formulated for men. If you're a party of five or more, they'll even throw in a bottle of whisky! It’d be rude not to, right?
Everyone needs a little extra break every now and again, and for when chocolate and Netflix in your pyjamas just won’t cut it, that’s where spas come in. This Pure Bliss spa day is the ultimate day of luxury and relaxation, taking place in a gorgeous spa fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including a heated indoor swimming pool, steam room, sauna and relaxing floatation pool. You’ll receive a professional Swedish massage, a rejuvenating facial, a manicure and pedicure – leaving you feeling relaxed and pampered from head to toe!
Floatation therapy is a new wellness treatment sweeping the globe, steadily gaining popularity for its soothing and mind-clearing effects! You’ll begin your experience by arriving at the spa in Johannesburg, which is appropriately surrounded by a peaceful flower garden. From there, you’ll be signed in by the friendly staff and shown to your floatation tank. The therapist will leave you in total privacy while you undress and enter into a state of relaxation unlike anything you’ve ever felt! The removal of external sensations of light, sound, touch, gravity and temperature allows the mind to be at total peace and enter into a deep meditative state. No wonder floatation therapy is praised for its stress-relieving properties.
… And that concludes our top things to do in Johannesburg! We hope you’ve found an adventure that’s perfect for you, and if you’re still looking, you can browse our full range of Johannesburg experience gifts here. Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or a loved one, memories make the best presents – and there’s no better place to make memories than Johannesburg.
If you’ve any comments about our experiences, feel free to leave questions below. We’d love to hear from you! From all of us here at Experience Days, happy exploring!