Day Trips & City Tours

 

Cradle of Humankind

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By visiting here, you will be going to the birthplace of humanity. See fossils, learn about how humankind was born, view stone tools up to 1-million years old.  A visit to this Museum takes you on an unbelievable journey back in time.  

 

The Cradle of Humankind was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 as a result of the area’s exceptional contribution to the understanding of humankind’s history and development.  All together, there are 15 major fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind, of which the Sterkfontein Caves is the most famous.

Lesedi  Cultural Village

 
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At Lesedi, 'Place of Light' you can enjoy African Culture and Dancing.  This Cultural Village is specifically focussed on tourists and celebrates the cultural traditions of several different cultures of South Africa.   

 

It reproduces traditional dwellings and offers demonstrations of dances and other cultural activities.  Guests are invited to the Ndebele village with a welcome by all the people of Lesedi, this is followed by a full program on traditions of the different cultures and make for a very interesting tour.

Lesedi is situated near Johannesburg, within the Cradle of Humankind, in Gauteng, South Africa.

 

Pretoria - City of Tshwane

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Enjoy the Historical City of Pretoria by visiting the Voortrekker Monument, Church Square, Kruger House and the magnificent Union Buildings, (home to the President's office), from where you can delight in a panoramic view of the fondly named “Jacaranda City”.

 

The name stem from the beauty of the Jacaranda Trees found on most avenues and blooming beautifully during Spring and Summer in South Africa.

When Nelson Mandela said in 1999 - “the day should not be far off, when we shall have a people’s shrine, a freedom park, where we shall honour with all the dignity they deserve, those who endured pain so we should experience the joy of freedom.” - he was describing the Freedom Park, which today stands on 52 hectares on Salvokop in Pretoria, a monument to democracy.  Freedom Park opened its doors in December 2007.  It is a space where South Africans and visitors to the country can reflect on the past, and is an inspiration for the future. It is regarded as one of the most ambitious heritage projects the government has invested in, an attempt to encapsulate the heart and soul of South Africa in a physical space.

 

The park is established on the cornerstones of human dignity, rights and freedom and reflects the sacrificial achievements of the nation. It serves, “as a permanent reminder, now and for future generations, that South Africans did take a step forward to put closure to the past while not forgetting it.”  A tour of this administrative city is a must to any appreciative traveller.

Sun City Hotel and Resort

 
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Legend has it that an ancient civilisation came here on a pilgrimage from the lands in the North of Africa. They came to build a magnificent palace for their much-revered king. It served as the spiritual centre of their vast empire until an earthquake reduced it to ruins, now restored in form and rejuvenated in spirit.

 

The Palace of the Lost City offers far more than mere five star royal hospitality. A tribute to man’s imagination and revered for its art and architecture, it is truly one of the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’.  Faux elephant tusks, sculptured bronze & crystal, richly woven colours of Africa, mystery-scented air and jungle cascade fuse into an atmosphere fit for a king.

With fresco ceilings above and ancient tiles below, you are left to stand in awe at the sheer scale of this masterpiece. The wild elegance and savage beauty in bronze and stone, culminates in a life-size sculpture of the mighty Elephant Shawu, who takes pride of place in the Elephant Courtyard.

 

The Sun City Resort has something for everyone – a wide range of hotels to suit every taste and an exceptional range of sporting and leisure facilities.

 

Two visually breathtaking championship golf courses, designed by Gary Player, offer a challenge to golfers of all abilities. The Valley of Waves offers even more, from surfing two-metre-high waves to relaxing on the Lazy River ride.   Spot the Big Five at the adjoining Pilanesberg National Park or be pampered with a range of health, skin and beauty treatments at the world-class Spa.  Enjoy magnificent gaming at the casinos, dance along to themed shows or bask in the limelight as international stars perform, explore every possible pursuit from nightclubs for adults and teenagers, to cinemas, coffee shops, restaurants and curio stores, the possibilities are endless.

 

Kamp Kwena Children’s Club is a dream-come-true for children.  (See photo insert)  This resort offers the peace of mind that your children are having a great time in their supervised children’s entertainment programme.

 

The Voortrekker Monument

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In July 2011 The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) published a declaration in the State Gazette that the Voortrekker Monument is to become a National Heritage Site.

 

On 21 March 2012 on Human Rights Day the Minister of Arts and Culture declared the Voortrekker Monument a National Heritage Site. This is the first Afrikaner Monument to be declared as such since 1994. The Monument is now protected by law; however the Monument will not become a State owned Institution but will have conservation status. 

Inaugurated on 16 December 1949, the majestic Voortrekker Monument is situated in the northern part of South Africa in the Pretoria (Tshwane) region in a nature reserve. It is a unique Monument which commemorates the Pioneer history of Southern Africa and the history of the Afrikaner and is situated in a beautiful setting. Today it is the most visited heritage site of its kind in Gauteng and one of the top ten cultural historical visitor attractions in the country.

 

Cenotaph Hall

What does the Cenotaph symbolize?
The Cenotaph is the symbolic centre point of the Monument. It represents the symbolic resting place of Piet Retief and all those Pioneers who passed away during the Great Trek. Some people mistakenly refer to it as the sarcophagus. A Sarcophagus contains human remains and a cenotaph does not.

 

Cupola

What is the significance of the Cupola?
Above the Hall of Heroes is a cupola containing an opening through which the Sun shines.
Every year, on 16 December, the sun shines on the centre of the Cenotaph. This is a symbol of God's blessing of the aspirations of the Pioneers. Since 1952, this day was known as the Day of the Vow and is currently known as the Day of Reconciliation.

Smuts House & Tea Garden In Centurion

 
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This Historical house is nestled in the picturesque village of Irene, with its deep green meadows and hay-scented air, a peaceful haven that seems oddly out of place on the industrialised Highveld between Johannesburg and Pretoria.  

 

This is a unique museum that reveals much about the life and the spirit of this great statesman of South Africa.  

General Jan Christiaan Smuts was a soldier, scholar, statesman and philosopher, and indeed one of South Africa's most remarkable leaders, an enigmatic and multifaceted person who was never fully understood by his countrymen.

 

The historical site will not only give you insight to this Remarkable Man’s life, it will offer you an opportunity to breath in the quiet and tranquillity of the area while you take a stroll around the garden, a natural park where thousands of indigenous trees and shrubs planted by Smuts are still to be seen, indeed a lovely site to visit.

Cullinan Diamond Mine

 
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This Premier Mine is an underground diamond mine situated in the town of Cullinan, 40 kilometers east of Pretoria. Established in 1902 and renamed the Cullinan Diamond Mine in November 2003 in celebration of its centenary.

 

The mine rose to prominence in 1905, when the Cullinan Diamond — at the time the largest gem diamond ever — was discovered here. It is also the only significant source of blue diamonds in the world.  

On the surface visitors can see the big hole, the shaft and the diamond room where a selection of uncut diamonds and replicas of World-famous diamonds are displayed.  On the underground tour, tourists are fitted with safety clothes and equipment, and then transported to the mine entrance via tram. This is a physically challenging tour and recommended for visitors physically fit

 

Gold Reef City Johanneburg

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Gold Reef City is a large amusement park in Johannesburg, South Africa.  

It is located on an old gold mine, the park is themed around the gold rush on the Witwatersrand.  Staff periodically wears costumes of the 1880s, and the buildings on the park are designed to mimic the same period.  

 

There is a museum dedicated to gold mining on the grounds where it is possible to see a gold-containing ore vein and see how real gold is poured into barrels.

There are many attractions at Gold Reef City, not the least of which is the water rides and roller coasters. The live shows of Idols South Africa are filmed in the Hippodrome, a large auditorium based in the park.

 

Gold Reef City is on the southern end of the Central Business District Johannesburg.  It is also the site of the Apartheid Museum.  There are hotels and restaurants situated all over the city. It also features a children's science museum and a tour of the deepest gold mine in the world.  

 

Nelson Mandela Family Home

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Nelson Mandela's humble little house in Orlando West, Soweto, now called the Mandela Family Museum, is an interesting stopover for those keen to imbibe a slice of authentic history on the world's most famous former prisoner. The former South African President Nelson Mandela lived in this humble home from 1946 to 1962 before he was imprisoned on Robben Island.

 

President Nelson Mandela returned to the house after his release from prison in 1990, despite suggestions from government officials that he should find a safer home.

At a rally welcoming him home to Soweto his opening words were, "I have come home at last." However, after 11 days back at the house he moved out again.

 

He later wrote in his autobiography:  “That night I returned with Winnie to No. 8115 in Orlando West it was only then that I knew in my heart I had left prison. For me No. 8115 was the centre point of my world, the place marked with an X in my mental geography.”

 

Mr. Mandela donated the house to the Soweto Heritage Trust (of which he is the founder) on 1 September 1997, to run as a museum.  It was declared a National Heritage Site in 1999.

 

This House Museum comprising four inter-leading rooms, contains an assortment of memorabilia, paintings and photographs of the Mandela family, as well as a collection of honorary doctorates bestowed on Mr. Mandela by universities and institutions around the world.  There is also a boxing belt from Sugar Ray Leonard, a multi-coloured cloak presented to the former president, and a row of his old boots.

 

However, during the ensuing years, when his life as a freedom fighter was all-consuming, Mr. Mandela seldom stayed there. He was the "Black Pimpernel", living a life on the run, until his arrest and imprisonment in 1962.

 

The fact that Soweto was the 16th most popular place for tourists to South Africa during 1999 was ascribed to the opening of Mandela House in December 1997

 

Apartheid Museum

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The Apartheid Museum, the first of its kind, illustrating the rise and fall of apartheid.

 

The Apartheid Museum aims to keep memory alive by presenting the story of apartheid and how it affected the lives of millions of ordinary South Africans.

 

The overriding message is to show local and international visitors the perilous results of racial prejudice and how this, in the case of South Africa, nearly destroyed a country.

The Apartheid Museum opened in 2001 and is acknowledged as the pre-eminent museum in the world dealing with 20th century South Africa, at the heart of which is the apartheid story. In 1995 the South African government set up a process for the granting of casino licenses, establishing an agency to do this called the Gambling Board.

 

The bid documents stipulated that bidders should demonstrate how they would attract tourism and thereby grow the economy and stimulate job creation.The bid was successful, Gold Reef City Casino was built and an adjacent piece of land given for the construction of a museum.The cost of the construction of what became the Apartheid Museum  was approximately 80 million rand.  

 

An architectural consortium, comprising several leading architectural firms, conceptualised the design of the building on a seven-hectare stand. The museum is a superb example of design, space and landscape offering the international community a unique South African experience.

 

The exhibits have been assembled and organised by a multi-disciplinary team of curators, film-makers, historians and designers. They include provocative film footage, photographs, text panels and artefacts illustrating the events and human stories that are part of the epic saga, known as apartheid.

 

A series of 22 individual exhibition areas takes the visitor through a dramatic emotional journey that tells a story of a state-sanctioned system based on racial discrimination and the struggle of the majority to overthrow this tyranny.

 

For anyone wanting to understand and experience what apartheid South Africa was really like, a visit to the Apartheid Museum is fundamental.The museum is a beacon of hope showing the world how South Africa is coming to terms with its oppressive past and working towards a future that all South Africans can call their own.

 

Regina Mundi Catholic Church

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Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Moroka, Soweto, was built in 1964. Not only is it one of the biggest churches in Africa, but it has a unique history too. It became famous during the apartheid years when it opened its doors to anti-apartheid groups and activists. In those days church services often ended up as political rallies. It continues to play a vital role and remains the spiritual haven for thousands of Sowetans, and it continues to attract tourists from all over the world.

 

In March 1998 Regina Mundi made international headlines when President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary visited the church, and recently, on 22 June 2011, the American first lady, Michelle Obama visited the church and addressed women from different countries.

The A-shaped exterior of the building is quite simple in design compared to most catholic churches. Its main feature is the vast interior.

 

The most prominent artefacts in the church are, a picture of The Black Madonna depicting a black Virgin Mary holding a black infant, Jesus. It was created in 1973 by Larry Scully as a part of a campaign to raise funds for the education of black South Africans, the second one being its stained-glass windows, decorated with scenery of Mary’s life. These windows were donated by Mrs. Jolanta Kwasniewska, wife of the President of the Republic of Poland in 1998.

Hector Pieterson Memorial

 
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The memorial was erected to commemorate the death of 13 year old Hector Petersen who was killed in the student protests of June 1976.

 

Although the media often named Hector as the first child to die on that fateful day, another boy, Hastings Ndlovu, was actually the first child to be shot. But in the case of Hastings, there were no photographers on the scene, and his name was not immediately known. This sad, yet very much part of the history of South Africa can be experienced by visiting the memorial as well as other historic places of interest in Orlando West in Soweto.

On 16 June 1976, school children protested the implementation of Afrikaans and English as dual medium of instruction in secondary schools. This was implemented throughout South Africa. Students gathered to peacefully demonstrate, but the crowd soon became aggressive when the police arrived.  A crowd of approximately 10,000 started rioting, killing two West Rand Administrative Board members, and burning a number of dogs, vehicles and buildings associated with the police and the Transvaal Education Department. When the police arrived the crowd became violent, throwing rocks at the police. The police in turn fired teargas into the crowd in order to disperse them, before the crowd could be dispersed, the police opened fire on the demonstrators. There are conflicting accounts of who gave the first command to shoot, but soon children were turning and running in all directions, leaving some children lying wounded on the road.  

When Hector was shot, he fell on the corner of Moema and Vilakazi Streets, he was picked up by an 18-year-old schoolboy, who together with Hector's sister, Antoinette (then 17 years old), ran for help,  however he sadly passed away at the a nearby clinic  shortly after their arrival.

Since June 1976, Hector's surname has been spelled Peterson and Pietersen by the press but the family insists that the correct spelling is Pieterson. The Pieterson family was originally the Pitso family but decided to adopt the Pieterson name to try to pass as Coloured people, a different ethnic group under the Apartheid system of racial classification, because Coloured people enjoyed somewhat better privileges under apartheid than blacks did.

All the above day trips can also form part of a custom Safari or Tour package.   

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