7 Day Trips from Johannesburg – 2024 Ultimate Guide

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Are you looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg for a day? Explore the beauty and diversity of South Africa with exciting day trips from Johannesburg. From stunning natural landscapes to rich cultural experiences, day trips from Johannesburg offer a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonders of this vibrant country. Whether you’re craving a safari adventure, a taste of local cuisine, or a journey through history, there is a day trip from Johannesburg that will cater to your interests. Join us as we uncover the top day trips from Johannesburg that will leave you inspired and rejuvenated.

Pretoria

Travel tips

  • Distance from Johannesburg: Approximately 34 miles
  • Time to get there: Around 1 hour by car
  • How to get there: You can take a Gautrain from Johannesburg Park Station to Pretoria Station. Alternatively, Intercape and Greyhound buses also offer services between the two cities.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Pretoria

Exploring Pretoria: Things to do

Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is a vibrant city with a rich history and cultural heritage. One of the must-see places in Pretoria is the Union Buildings, the official seat of the South African government and a symbol of democracy. Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens surrounding the buildings and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Voortrekker Monument is highly recommended. This iconic structure commemorates the Voortrekkers who embarked on a historic journey during the Great Trek. The monument offers insights into South Africa’s past and provides a glimpse into the country’s cultural diversity.

Nature lovers will appreciate a visit to the Pretoria National Botanical Garden, a serene oasis in the heart of the city. Explore the various themed gardens, including the medicinal garden and the succulent garden, and marvel at the diverse plant species on display.

Art aficionados should not miss the Pretoria Art Museum, home to a remarkable collection of South African art spanning different periods and styles. The museum showcases works by renowned artists, offering a glimpse into the country’s artistic heritage.

To experience the local culture, head to the vibrant Hatfield Square, a popular hangout spot for students and young professionals. Enjoy a meal at one of the trendy restaurants or grab a drink at a lively bar while soaking in the energetic atmosphere.

Whether you’re interested in history, nature, art, or simply exploring a new city, Pretoria has something to offer every traveler. Plan a day trip from Johannesburg and discover the unique charm of this dynamic South African capital.

Soweto

Travel tips

  • Distance from Johannesburg: 12 miles
  • Time to get there: Approximately 30 minutes by car
  • How to get there: You can take the Gautrain from Johannesburg Park Station to the Naledi Station in Soweto. Alternatively, you can catch a Metrobus from Johannesburg CBD to various stops in Soweto.
  • Click for Google maps directions:

Exploring Soweto: Things to do

Soweto, a vibrant township located just a short drive from Johannesburg, is a must-see destination for visitors looking to delve into the rich history and culture of South Africa. One of the top attractions in Soweto is the iconic Vilakazi Street, known for being the only street in the world that has been home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Visitors can explore the Mandela House Museum and learn about the life of the former South African president.

For a taste of local cuisine, head to one of the many shebeens (informal bars) in Soweto and try traditional dishes like pap (maize porridge) and chakalaka (spicy vegetable relish). Art enthusiasts will appreciate the vibrant street art that adorns the walls of Soweto, showcasing the talent and creativity of local artists.

History buffs can visit the Hector Pieterson Museum, which commemorates the 1976 Soweto Uprising, a pivotal moment in the struggle against apartheid. The museum provides insight into the events of that fateful day and honors the brave students who stood up against injustice.

To experience the lively spirit of Soweto, join a guided bicycle tour through the township, where you can interact with locals, visit community projects, and gain a deeper understanding of daily life in Soweto. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply want to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of a bustling township, Soweto offers a unique and enriching experience for all visitors.

Pilanesberg National Park

Travel tips

  • Distance from Johannesburg: Approximately 112 miles
  • Time to get there: Around 2.5 to 3 hours by car
  • How to get there: You can drive from Johannesburg to Pilanesberg National Park via the N4 highway. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle bus from OR Tambo International Airport or book a guided tour. There are no direct train stations to the park.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Pilanesberg National Park

Exploring Pilanesberg National Park: Things to do

Pilanesberg National Park is a must-see destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. The park offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of the African bushveld and observe the Big Five in their natural habitat.

One of the top activities in Pilanesberg National Park is embarking on a thrilling game drive. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffaloes. Visitors can join guided game drives led by experienced rangers who provide fascinating insights into the animals and their behaviors.

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, Pilanesberg offers hot air balloon safaris that provide a bird’s eye view of the stunning landscape below. The park’s varied terrain, which includes rocky outcrops, open grasslands, and wooded valleys, makes for a picturesque backdrop during the balloon ride.

Hiking enthusiasts can explore the park on foot along designated trails, allowing them to appreciate the smaller details of the ecosystem and potentially spot some of the park’s bird species. Birdwatching is also a popular pastime in Pilanesberg, with over 300 bird species recorded in the park, making it a paradise for bird enthusiasts.

In addition to wildlife viewing, Pilanesberg National Park boasts scenic picnic spots and viewpoints where visitors can relax and soak in the natural beauty surrounding them. Whether you’re a seasoned safari-goer or a first-time visitor, Pilanesberg offers a memorable and enriching experience that showcases the best of South Africa’s wildlife and landscapes.

Cradle of Humankind

Travel tips

  • Distance from Johannesburg: 34 miles
  • Time to get there: Approximately 1 hour by car
  • How to get there: Take the R563 road from Johannesburg towards Krugersdorp. Follow the signs to the Cradle of Humankind.

Exploring Cradle of Humankind: Things to do

The Cradle of Humankind is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its significant contribution to our understanding of human evolution. This archaeological treasure trove offers visitors a unique opportunity to delve into the origins of humanity.

One of the must-see attractions in the Cradle of Humankind is the Maropeng Visitor Centre, where you can explore interactive exhibits that showcase the evolution of humankind. From ancient fossils to modern-day advancements, the center provides a comprehensive overview of our journey as a species.

For those interested in delving deeper into the past, a visit to the Sterkfontein Caves is a must. These limestone caves have yielded some of the most important hominid fossils ever discovered, including the famous Mrs. Ples and Little Foot. Guided tours take you through the underground chambers, offering a glimpse into the world of our early ancestors.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the scenic beauty of the area, with rolling hills and indigenous flora providing a picturesque backdrop to your explorations. Take a leisurely hike or enjoy a picnic in the tranquil surroundings, soaking in the natural splendor of the Cradle of Humankind.

In addition to its historical and natural attractions, the Cradle of Humankind also offers a range of outdoor activities for adventure seekers. From hot air balloon rides to zip-lining adventures, there are plenty of ways to experience the landscape from a different perspective.

Overall, the Cradle of Humankind is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the origins of humanity and the natural beauty of South Africa. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or thrill-seeker, this iconic site has something to offer every visitor.

Magaliesburg

Travel tips

  • Distance from Johannesburg: 50 miles
  • Time to get there: Approximately 1.5 hours
  • How to get there: You can reach Magaliesburg from Johannesburg by car via the R24 highway. Alternatively, you can take a Gautrain from Johannesburg Park Station to Pretoria and then transfer to a bus heading to Magaliesburg.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Magaliesburg

Exploring Magaliesburg: Things to do

Magaliesburg is a charming town that offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg. The town is known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor activities, making it a must-see destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

One of the top things to do in Magaliesburg is to explore the Magaliesberg Mountains. These ancient mountains provide a picturesque backdrop for hiking, mountain biking, and bird watching. The area is also home to numerous caves and rock formations, perfect for those interested in geology and history.

For a more relaxing experience, visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the town’s quaint streets, lined with art galleries, craft shops, and cozy cafes. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample some local cuisine at one of the charming restaurants in town, offering a taste of authentic South African flavors.

If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, you can try your hand at hot air ballooning over the Magaliesburg landscape or go on a thrilling canopy tour through the treetops. For those interested in wildlife, a visit to the nearby game reserves and animal sanctuaries is a must, where you can spot a variety of indigenous species in their natural habitat.

Overall, Magaliesburg is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural experiences for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, this charming town has something for everyone.

Sun City

Travel tips

  • Distance from Johannesburg: 120 miles
  • Time to get there: Approximately 2 hours
  • How to get there: You can reach Sun City from Johannesburg by car via the N4 highway. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle bus from OR Tambo International Airport directly to Sun City. There are no direct train stations to Sun City.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Sun City

Exploring Sun City: Things to do

Sun City is a popular day trip destination from Johannesburg due to its vibrant entertainment options and beautiful surroundings. One of the must-see attractions in Sun City is the Valley of Waves, a water park with thrilling slides and a man-made beach. Visitors can also explore the Lost City, a luxurious hotel complex inspired by ancient African architecture.

For those interested in wildlife, a visit to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve is a must. Here, you can embark on a safari tour to see the Big Five and other native wildlife species in their natural habitat. Golf enthusiasts will appreciate the world-class golf courses at Sun City, offering stunning views and challenging holes.

In addition to these activities, Sun City offers a variety of dining options, shopping opportunities, and live entertainment shows. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, Sun City has something for everyone to enjoy during a day trip from Johannesburg.

Hartbeespoort Dam

Travel tips

  • Distance from Johannesburg: 56 miles
  • Time to get there: Approximately 1.5 hours
  • How to get there: You can reach Hartbeespoort Dam from Johannesburg by car via the R511 road. Alternatively, you can take a Gautrain from Johannesburg to Pretoria and then a taxi or bus to the dam.
  • Click for Google maps directions: Hartbeespoort Dam

Exploring Hartbeespoort Dam: Things to do

Hartbeespoort Dam is a popular day trip destination from Johannesburg, offering a serene escape from the city hustle. The dam, nestled in the foothills of the Magaliesberg Mountains, provides a picturesque setting for a variety of activities.

One of the must-do activities at Hartbeespoort Dam is taking a boat cruise. Enjoy a leisurely ride on the tranquil waters while soaking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lush greenery. For the more adventurous, water sports such as jet skiing and paddleboarding are also available.

Nature lovers will appreciate a visit to the Hartbeespoort Dam Snake and Animal Park, where you can get up close and personal with a variety of reptiles and wildlife. The park also offers educational experiences for those interested in learning more about the local fauna.

If you’re a history buff, a trip to the Hartbeespoort Dam Wall is a must. Learn about the construction of the dam and its significance to the region while enjoying panoramic views of the water and mountains.

For a relaxing day out, pack a picnic and head to one of the many scenic spots around the dam. Whether you choose a shady tree by the water’s edge or a grassy hill overlooking the dam, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Overall, Hartbeespoort Dam is a versatile destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, a day trip to this charming location is sure to leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.

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