09 Jan Top 3 Joburg thrills
If you think Johannesburg is just another international metropolis, think again. Where else in the world will you be able to enjoy the following?
Explore a gold mine underground
Gold Reef City instantly transports you to the gold rush days of 19th century Johannesburg. Feel the butterflies in your tummy when you descend into the depths of the earth and touch the rough rock that holds the wealth of a nation. Pan for gold in the icy mud and experience the euphoria of spotting the elusive spec of gold among the dirt. Watch the unforgettable sight of molten gold being poured and find out how mining officials lived in the good old days.
Although Gold Reef City was built on the site of a gold mine that closed in 1971, the underground mine tour is not all you can experience here. It is Africa’s largest theme park and if you decide to stay the night at one of the two hotels in this turn-of-the-century mining town, you will enjoy free access to countless fun-filled activities.
Apart from restaurants, night clubs, theatre shows, the casino and more, Gold Reef City is a delight to explore on foot. Fun rides, quaint little shops, historic buildings and the chance to buy gold jewellery where it was mined will guarantee a full and fun-filled day.
Open Wednesday to Sunday. Call Rhino Shuttles to drop you off and pick you up again.
Cycle through Soweto
Ask Rhino Shuttles to drop you off at Soweto Bicycle Tours in Orlando West, Soweto. Here you can choose from a 2-hour, 4-hour or full day bicycle tour with experienced guides and find out what makes this township unique. Eat at one of the local eateries or stop off at the shebeen for a beer with the locals.
Highlights you will visit include the location of the 1976 uprising, a workers’ hostel, Madiba’s home and other points of interest.
If you don’t feel up to cycling, take one of the tuk-tuk rides instead. You’ll see all the sights and drink in the atmosphere together with a beer or two during lunch.
Have your photo taken with a cheetah
Just 15 minutes North-West of Johannesburg lies The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre. Here breeding programmes for cheetahs, wild dogs and other endangered species are conducted. Previously known as the De Wildt Cheetah Centre, it has recently been renamed as a tribute to the woman who has devoted her life to the survival of the cheetah species.
The centre does not receive any government funding and they offer tours and adoption opportunities to fund their conservation work. Here you can have your photograph taken hand in paw with their ambassador cheetah. You can also see the world’s fastest land animal run up to 120k km/h (75 mph) over a short distance of around 500m. For a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, take a tour with the staff when they feed the animals. No kids under 6 are allowed on these tours, but the centre provides a special family tour for those with young children.
The chance to adopt your own cheetah cub, wild dog puppy (or choose your favourite animal from their list), means you will be contributing to the conservation of highly endangered wildlife. You will receive a certificate and email updates and photos of your adopted wild child’s progress. Now you can also say:
I am the voice of the voiceless,
Through me the dumb shall speak,
Till the deaf world’s ear be made to hear
The wrongs of the wordless weak