The biggest city in South Africa has many incredible historical monuments, iconic landmarks and fascinating secrets going back millions of years. The history buffs among us have the opportunity to indulge in the rich past of the now vibrant, growing and prestigious city of Johannesburg. We have three Accor accommodations around the city in Bedfordview, Randburg and Midrand for you to choose from before heading out on an adventure in Johannesburg.
Indulge in the glitz of eGoli – The Place of Gold – and rub shoulders with international business moguls, Hollywood stars and local artists. The bright lights, massive highways and trendy malls found in the city today have been moulded into existence through gold mining activities in the mineral rich area over hundreds of years. Johannesburg’s modern history dates back to 1886 when the city was first founded and today it is one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the world.
Just like the many migrants that have made the trek to this great city of gold, you too can begin your journey of discovery and exploration.
Get in-depth knowledge of the history of South African in general and Johannesburg in particular at one of the many museums around the city.
- Slip your feet into some comfortable shoes, and get lost for hours in the history of South Africa and Johannesburg. With open-face brick walls welcoming you into the Apartheid Museum, a feeling of curiosity takes over as you begin the journey into the modern history of the country centred around the apartheid era. Located in the bustling suburb of Soweto, film, art, sculpture and photography bring to life the story of South Africa and its brave people.
- Take a short drive to Vilakazi Street in Soweto to the Mandela House Museum and experience the life of former South African president Nelson Mandela. His home between 1946 and 1962, the red-brick matchbox style house is packed with original furnishings, personal memorabilia, family photographs and even the world championship belt given to Mandela by Sugar Ray Leonard.
- 20 minutes' drive away from Mandela House is the Museum Africa. Housed in the building of a former fruit and vegetable market, this time machine takes you even further back into history to tell the story of Johannesburg going back thousands of years. The tour through the museum starts with an ancient rock art collection, dates forward to the city's gold mining era, and finally shifts to the birth of the new Rainbow Nation in 1994.
- Step into a world millions of years old at the Cradle of Humankind. Built into what has been made to look like a small hill, the main museum greets you with the natural coolness of a cave and takes you deep into the lives of some of the earliest settlers in the area with ancient artefacts, bone fragments and model homesteads.- Put on your hiking shoes and take a walk to the Sterkfontein Caves where a 2.3 million year old Australopithecus africanus fossil (Mrs. Ples) was found in 1947. There are a number of other dramatically beautiful limestone caves in the area waiting to be explored. Nearby, you will find another network of caves called the Rising Star Cave System, home to the Dinaledi Chamber (chamber of stars), where an extinct species of hominin currently named Homo naledi was discovered in 2015.
After a day of exploration, let Accor and our partners in Johannesburg help you relax as you reflect on the day. Wind down at a rooftop bar with the locals, exchange stories about the city's past and discover how the history of Johannesburg has shaped this iconic metropolis.
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