10 Top Guided Tours to Take in Johannesburg

Number Four
Number Four | © Constitution Hill
Photo of Carina Claassens
29 May 2018

Experiencing all that Johannesburg has to offer has never been easier. With a plethora of tour options to suit every kind of traveller, visitors are in for a treat. Here’s our round-up of the top guided tours to take in South Africa’s City of Gold.

Cover the whole city on an open top bus

A tour on the Johannesburg City Sightseeing bus allows visitors to easily get around this bustling city hassle free and on their own time. Hop off at historical landmarks or spend hours browsing some of the best museums in South Africa. Choose between a one- or two-day ticket and even combine tours if you’d like to see areas like Soweto. Audio commentary is available in 15 languages, so you’ll always be in the know.

Pricing starts at R160 (£9.70), making this an affordable way to see the City of Gold.

Apartheid Museum | © South African Tourism

See the inside of a notorious former prison at Constitution Hill

No visit to Johannesburg is complete without a tour of Constitution Hill, a former prison and fort saturated with history. Today, the hill is the seat of South Africa’s Constitutional Court, which houses an array of impressive local artwork. There are a wide range of guided tours on offer, from a one-hour highlights tour to a full tour and even night tours, the popular Walk with Madiba Tour, the Art and Justice Tour, and more. Guests on the full tour (which shouldn’t take more than two hours) will see the Old Fort, the Women’s Jail, Number Four, and the Constitutional Court.

Ticket pricing starts at R76 (£4.60) per adult.

Visitors being guided through the former prison complex | © Constitution Hill

Delve into a cultural melting pot with Dlala Nje

As far as culinary tours go, this one tops the list when visiting Johannesburg. Dlala Nje takes guests into the cultural heart of the city, Yeoville, and combines history and architecture with the most interesting dishes you’ll ever taste. You’ll visit a Congolese village, a West African inspired market (where you can taste mopani worms if you’re up for it), and a Cameroonian eatery, to name only a few of the highlights.

Tickets cost R460 (£28) per adult and includes a main meal and drink.

Carapau in a Cameroonian eatery | © Jono Wood

Let Ekala Eco Tours take you back to your roots

The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is situated on the outskirts of Johannesburg and Ekala Eco Tours guides visitors through both Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves. On the tour, you’ll visit the largest public display of hominin fossils, view footage of the inside of the caves where excavations took place, all while learning about this valuable site and the insight it continues to provide on the early stages of human development.

The exterior façade view of the Maropeng Tumulus Building and the Cradle of Humankind | @ South African Tourism

Cycle through the country’s oldest township

Uzuko Tours and Transfers, run by Nontuthuzelo Ntikinca, takes visitors through one of the most vibrant parts of Johannesburg, Alexandra. South Africa’s oldest township is home to approximately 500,000 residents, and a local will act as your guide during the tour. Expect taverns, historic sites (including the Nelson Mandela Yard), Kings Cinema (an Art Deco theater), the Alexandra Beer Hall, Freedom Square, and much more. Whether you want to take this exciting township on by foot or bicycle is up to you, but Uzoko Tours and Transfers will take care of the rest.

Visitors in front of a Mandela mural | © Uzuko Tours and Transfers

Experience traditional African villages with Mo Afrika

A visit to Lesedi Cultural Village promises to be unforgettable. With Mo Afrika, visitors are guided into five traditional African villages, from Xhosa to Ndebele, where you’ll experience music, arts and crafts, and cuisine. After a vibrant traditional dance, visitors head to Nyama Choma restaurant, where a feast awaits. If African cuisine is what you’re after, this is where you’ll find it, as the eatery specialises in North-, East-, and South African meals—you can even taste crocodile.

Ticket pricing starts at R1 300 (£78) per person and includes lunch or dinner buffet, a traditional dance show, all transfers, and entrance to the village.

Zulu Warrior posing outside Lesedi Cultural Village | © South African Tourism

Educational beer tasting

The SAB World of Beer is situated in the Newtown Cultural Precinct and offers visitors an amalgamation of history, beer, and loads of culture. Start the award-winning tour by sampling raw barley and hops before heading off to the historic pub for an informative beer tasting session. And don’t forget to pop into the souvenir shop, where you’ll find everything from t-shirts to bottle openers.

Tour ticket pricing starts at R127 (£7.60) per adult and bookings are essential.

Beer tasting with a difference | © Robert Mathews / Unsplash

Discover the hustle and bustle of Soweto

Soweto Backpackers takes guests on an unforgettable bicycle tour of South Africa’s most famous township. Choose between a half- or full-day tour, where a local guide will show you what life in Soweto is all about. From meeting residents to learning about the many historic sites and having a cold one at a shebeen to checking out some of the less-visited spots, you’ll see it all. Traveling on two wheels allows for an interactive and immersive experience.

Bicycle tour pricing starts at R435 (£26) for a two-hour tour, per person.

A bicycle tour is one of the best ways to experience Soweto | © South African Tourism

Go off the beaten track with The Roving Bantu

Whatever you want to see, The Roving Bantu will take you there. Tours are filled with real-life stories and facts about the city and Master Guide Sifiso Ntuli makes every effort to show visitors the “other side” of Johannesburg by including off the beaten track experiences. Tours are tailor-made to suit your needs—from inner city tours to the Brixton Fietas Heritage Trek and the Marching to Pretoria tour, The Roving Batu covers every part of the city and its surrounds.

Four hours is the recommended tour time and pricing starts at R1 000 (£60) per person.

The brand lives by the slogan "tours with a difference" | © Simon Kehagias Photography

Walk and talk with Past Experiences

Past Experiences offer walking tours ranging from historic tours where guests will see some of the oldest buildings in the city to a shopping tour where African fabric, Nollywood (Nigerian) films, and more can be purchased. The public art tour shows guests what the Johannesburg street art scene is all about and then there are neighbourhood-specific tours, like the “I Love Newtown” and “I Love Braamies” tours. The tour group is all about experience and aims to immerse visitors into the city. As such, tours are conducted on foot, allowing you to get up close and personal with your surroundings. What’s more, all guides are professionals in their respective fields, so everything you learn will be from the best in the business.

Street art by Falko | © Past Experiences

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