Having the opportunity to take part in some excursions and day trips during your stay in Johannesburg can make your trip more enjoyable. For example, you can visit the Lesedi Cultural Village, Hartbeespoort Dam, and the Cradle of Humankind. You can also enjoy the Lion and Safari Park and the Marievale Bird Sanctuary.
Pilanesberg National Park
Located in the North West province of South Africa, Pilanesberg National Park is a great way to experience wildlife. This reserve is home to over 7000 animals including the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo). It also has 360 different bird species.
The park is ideal for those who want to see plenty of animals on a single day. The best time to visit is during spring or fall, when the park is less overgrown. A hot air balloon safari is also a great way to enjoy the views.
You can choose to do a self-drive safari or have a guided tour. You can also opt for a multi-day safari, in which you can spend several days exploring the park.
Cradle of Humankind
Located in the Gauteng province of South Africa, Cradle of Humankind is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is home to fossils of the earliest ancestors of humans. The fossils in the site reveal the history of our ancestors and their environment. The cradle is a must-see for those who enjoy archeology.
The site was first discovered in 1896 by G. Martignalia. It contains a number of spectacular flow stone formations. It was declared a World Heritage Site in December 1999.
There are many tours to the site. The cheapest option is a group tour, but private trips are also available. These include a driver and transport to and from the site.
Lesedi Cultural Village
Located on the outskirts of Johannesburg, Lesedi is an African cultural village which demonstrates the different cultures of the continent. This excursion and day trip includes transport and an authentic African lunch at the Nyama Choma Restaurant.
The Lesedi Cultural Village consists of five tribal villages, each one representing a different culture. A guide will walk you through each, pointing out the differences in architecture and traditions of each tribe.
The Ndebele tribe is famous for its colorfully crafted homes. The Giant Ingoma is the name of a song and dance performed by all of the villages.
The Lesedi Culture Village also features a multimedia presentation on the history of the Rainbow Nation. The tour is split into groups for a more comprehensive experience.
Lion and Safari Park
Taking a Lion and Safari Park excursion from Johannesburg will offer the chance to see African wildlife up close. Visitors can expect to spend at least two hours at the park, and there are a variety of activities for guests to choose from.
Several companies offer day tours to the park. Most include round-trip transport from the hotel in Johannesburg, as well as admission to the park. If you want to add additional attractions, there are also multi-day tours that will take you to other areas of South Africa.
Many tour companies will also include lunch and entrance fees. You may also choose to have a private tour that lets you have a customized itinerary.
Located 90 minutes north of Johannesburg, Hartbeespoort Dam is a popular destination for weekend holiday-makers from the city. This scenic valley between the Witwatersberg and Magaliesberg mountains is the perfect backdrop for a variety of adventure activities.
You will be able to view the dam from the surrounding hiking trails and from the dam's wall. You can also visit the Elephant Sanctuary and see African elephants in action.
Other activities include a boat cruise along the dam, sailing and waterskiing. If you are looking for something a little more adventurous, you can try hot air ballooning.
The aerial cableway at Hartbeespoort offers great views of the dam and surrounding areas. There is a cash bar and a viewing platform at the top.
Marievale Bird Sanctuary
Located in the Gauteng province, Marievale Bird Sanctuary is a wetlands and wildlife reserve that is free to visit. This is a 10 km2/4 mi2 reserve that has four bird hides and a picnic area.
Marievale is a Ramsar Convention-designated wetland that is home to over 230 bird species. Among the more rare birds are the African marsh harrier, Bushveld Pipit, short-toed Rock Thrush and Fawn-coloured Lark. During summer, the reserve is home to over 3500 birds.
The habitat of the sanctuary is grassland, reedbeds and shallow open water. The deeper sections are usually less productive. Pockets of shallow water host a variety of ducks, including Yellow-billed and White-faced Whistling ducks, Spur-winged and Egyptian Gees, Grey and Purple Herons.