A Great Way to Explore Johannesburg

VibeScout Johannesburg

When you’re new to Johannesburg, it’s great to have a good to-do list to start out with. And I don’t mean the kind of list telling you to call Eskom to set up your electricity (or, most likely to complain about an error on your bill) or calling the City of Joburg to alert them about the broken robot at the nearest intersection. We all have those lists and know that they are terrible and never go away.

What I’m talking about is a list telling you about all the exciting things you can do in the sprawling city you now call home, so that you can dive right in and get to know it. Joburg teems with exciting happenings at any given time, and the sooner you start, the more you’ll fall in love with this young and vibrant city. A bit farther down I’ll tell you about a great new tool to get real-time news about what’s happening in Joburg. But let’s go over the must-see sights first. In What To Do in Joburg you’ll find a comprehensive list, but here is a quick summary depending on your area of interest:


entrance to the apartheid museum in johannesburg
Apartheid Museum

History and Culture

Your list should include the Apartheid Museum, Hector Pieterson Memorial, Mandela House, Walter Sisulu Square, and Regina Mundi Church, all of them in Soweto. Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia is offers another great history lesson. Or Kruger House Museum in Pretoria a bit farther afield.

graffiti in Johannesburg
Graffiti Tour with Past Experiences

On Foot

If you’re adventurous, go on a graffiti walking tour with Past Experiences, join Dlala Nje’s Streets of Hillbrow. or go on MainStreetWalk’s Underground Pub Crawl. Join the Joburg Photowalkers on one of their Sunday walks, or find a tour that ventures into Alexandra, one of the most infamous (and historic) townships in the area.

Having fun at JoziX

With Children

If you have kids or are adventurous yourself, start with Gold Reef City, the Bird Gardens at Montecasino, the Maropeng Visitor Centre and Sterkfontein Caves in the Cradle of Humankind, JoziX, which is a bit like the TV Show Wipeout, the Magaliesberg Canopy Tour, and Avalanche, an artificial ski slope.

riding on an elephant at the elephant sanctuary near johannesburg south africa
Elephant Sanctuary


The best way to see animals is to venture into Joburg’s surroundings for the Elephant Sanctuary or the Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary near Hartbeespoort Dam, or the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre at De Wildt. Less than two hours away, you can explore Pilanesberg National Park in your own car and see the Big Five in their natural habitat.

Dainfern Square Shopping Centre
Dainfern Square


Johannesburg, more than any other African city, is for shoppers. People still flock from all over the continent to stock up in a place that seemingly has it all. Don’t miss Sandton City, the new Mall of Africa, Rosebank Rooftop Market on a Sunday, Bryanston Organic Market, and Dainfern Square.

johannesburg skyline as seen from Northcliff hill
View from Northcliff Hill

Enjoy the View

Be sure to drive up to Northcliff Hill, Johannesburg’s 2nd highest point. Another great view can be had from the top of the Carlton Centre, the Soweto Water Towers (which you can also bungy-jump off of!), the balloon at Montecasino, or the Melville Koppies.


Introducing VibeScout

All the above are mostly places any well-read tourist will know about. What if there was a way to get the true vibe of Johannesburg, by diving right into the scene whenever things are happening in one of its many suburbs? What if you knew about more authentic local experiences you could join, like live music, a food festival, an art exhibition, or anything else that is going on at this very moment in Johannesburg?

I’ve recently come across a service that is right on the pulse of these happenings in Joburg. VibeScout is a new tool that brings you fun things to do in Johannesburg (as well as other metropolitan areas like Pretoria and Cape Town). It’s a cool and completely free and easy to navigate entertainment guide for Johannesburg created by brothers Paul and Jonathan Myburgh. On VibeScout, you’ll find events as varied as this week’s Holiday crafts and animal feeding event for kids at the Johannesburg Zoo, the African Summer Christmas Picnic featuring iced drinks, a band, and African-inspired carols at Joziburg Lane, or if you’re lucky a raffle of free Johnny Clegg tickets for the first 100 patrons registering for one of his outdoor concerts on Facebook.

To find out more about how VibeScout came about and what new features it has in store, read the back story here.

I hope you’ll give VibeScout a try (make sure you also check it out before your next trip to Cape Town, Durban, or Stellenbosch). The sooner you start diving into the street scene of Jozi, the City of Gold, the sooner you’ll hopelessly fall in love with it like so many who have gone before you. Trust me on this.

This post was sponsored by VibeScout; opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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