My family and I have recently been on a short holiday in South Africa. We spent a few days there on our way to Europe last September. Today, I will share with you my Soweto and Johannesburg – South Africa Guide in the hope that you can find it useful to organise your own trip.I had never been to Africa before, so I was really looking forward to this trip! The idea was to just spend a few days relaxing and doing safaris. We had only 8 nights and 9 days to use up for this part of the trip, so we had to make hard choices. In the end, we chose Pilanesberg and Madikwe for our safaris. Make sure to check out my posts on them.
We also spent 2 nights in Johannesburg. As we did not have a lot of time, we chose to stay near the airport and take a half-day trip to explore the city and Soweto.
Besides going on safaris, we also wanted to have a glimpse of Johannesburg and the history of the country we were visiting. Unfortunately, we only had time for a ½ day excursion and we chose to visit Soweto.
We did so we Choice Tours – the same people who organised our transfers. We loved the excursion and I can highly recommend it.
Our driver drove us through downtown Jo’burg, which is almost completely uninhabited!
Apparently, the offices were all owned by white people who moved overseas.
This is the City Hall.
We also passed by the FNB Soccer Stadium.
In Soweto, we first stopped at the Hector Pieterson Memorial where we visited the very interesting museum.
It commemorates the role of the country’s students in the struggle against apartheid and in particular, the role played by the school children who took part in the Soweto protests of 1976, many of whom were shot by the apartheid police while protesting against the sub-standard of education in black schools in South Africa and the mandatory use of Afrikaans as a language of instruction in black secondary schools.
Then we visited Nelson Mandela’s house where Mandela and his family lived from 1946 into the 1990’s.
It is very small but very interesting too.
It’s filled with pictures and interesting objects.
Then we drove around the huge township.
It was a really interesting experience.
No trip to South Africa should be done without visiting Soweto and learning about the country’s recent history of apartheid. Highly recommended.
THE AVIATOR HOTEL
We spent the first night in Johannesburg at The Aviator Hotel. It’s just 3 km from the airport and they have a free 24-hour airport shuttle. There is also a restaurant, but we were so tired, we went straight to bed.
We had a family room, which was huge. It was practically like having 2 rooms with 2 toilets. We had a Queen room.
And a Twin room.
The room and hotel were clean and reasonably ok. The hotel also has a little pool.
Breakfast was nice as well.
With plenty of choices.
It was a good place to spend a night.
PEERMONT METCOURT HOTEL
On our way back from Italy, we spent another night (and 2 days) in Jo’burg. This time, we stayed at the Peermont Metcourt Hotel at the Emperors Palace Hotel Casino Convention and Entertainment Resort.
The Emperors Palace is near OR Tambo International airport and it has 4 hotels, a health and beauty spa, a casino, plenty of dining options, a movie theatre, conference facilities, etc.
The Peermont Metcourt Hotel has a free airport shuttle, a pool, and a bar.
We had a family room with 2 Queen beds. It was smaller than the room at The Aviator, but it looked much better. Newer furniture and bedsheets. It also looked cleaner.
Breakfast was very nice as well.
With plenty of choices.
It was a very good place to spend a night. Recommended.
We had dinner at Spur’s which is something between a steak house and a diner. Very casual and quite nice.
We tried their Buffalo Wings & Calamari Strips.
And their milkshakes (chocolate and strawberries).
The food was nice and the service was impeccable and very friendly. Recommended.
If you are visiting South Africa, you will very likely fly in and/or out of Johannesburg. I strongly recommend that you spend at least 1 day in town visiting Soweto. It is fundamental to understand the history of this country.
Don’t forget to pin this post on Soweto and Johannesburg!