Gauteng, South Africa - ECO South Africa Sport and Travel

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Gauteng, South Africa

Gauteng, South Africa

  • Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The city is one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world, and is also the world’s largest city not situated on a river, lake, or coastline.  While Johannesburg is not officially one of South Africa’s three capital cities, it does house the Constitutional Court, South Africa’s highest court.  The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills.  Johannesburg is served by O.R. Tambo International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Africa and a gateway for international air travel to and from the rest of Southern Africa.
  • Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa.  It is one of the country’s three capital cities, serving as the executive (administrative) and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.  Pretoria is popularly known as the Jacaranda City due to the enormous number of Jacaranda trees planted in streets, parks and gardens.  In flowering time the city appears blue/purple in colour when seen from the nearby hills because of all the Jacaranda trees.  The time of year the Jacarandas bloom in Pretoria coincides with the year-end exams at the University of Pretoria.  Legend has it that if a flower from the Jacaranda tree drops on your head, you will pass all your exams.
  • Soweto is a lower middle class populated urban area of the city of Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa, bordering the city’s mining belt in the south.  Its name is an English syllabic abbreviation for South Western Townships.

Cradle of Humankind and Tswaing Meteorite Crater

Cradle of Humankind (Maropeng & Sterkfontein Caves)
Maropeng, situated in the Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng province, South Africa, it is a world-acclaimed tourist destination that is not only part of the South African national pride, but appeals to the world.  The Tumulus building is a first of its kind in the world!  It is designed to look like an ancient burial mound from the front, upon exiting one then looks back on a very modern structure.  The architecture is symbolic of the journey through the evolution of life.  Newly opened exhibition consists of four large show cases which include life like models of hominids, a sabre tooth cat, a reconstruction of a mined cave vs a pristine cave, cave formations and geologies, early life forms, fossils in general, specific finds (like Mrs Ples Taung Child, Little Foot) details of fossilization, paleo botany and landscapes.  Sterkfontein Caves, world famous for their fossil finds and a well-known visitor destination.  After an extensive face-lift in 2005, the Sterkfontein Caves is now home to a top restaurant, conferencing facilities, improved access into the caves, new walkways and a boardwalk past the excavation site where world-acclaimed fossils have been discovered.

Tswaing Meteorite Crater & Museum
If an object the size of half a soccer field hit the earth at 4,000 kilometres per hour hundreds of thousands of years ago, what would you expect to find?  The raterh special Tswaing Meteorite Crater, some 40 kilometres north of Pretoria.  What’s special about it is that firstly, it is one of the best preserved meteorite craters in the world, and secondly, it’s very accessible – you can walk down into the crater, unlike a similar crater in Zrisona in the United States, which gets so many visitors – 250,000 a year – that access to the bottom of the crater is no longer allowed.  The Tswaing Crater (Tswaing meaning “Place of Salt”in the Twsana language) gets 12,000 visitors a year, coming to marvel at this wonder that hit earth 220,000 years ago with an impact of about 100 atomic bombs of the type dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.  It created a crater of just over one kilometre in diameter and sent up 60 metres of earth to form the present-day cater rim.

Voortrekker Monument, Constitutional Hill and Freedom Park

Voortrekker Monument
The huge monolith that is the Voortrekker monument stands as a major landmark on a low hill, just outside Tshwane. The Voortrekker monument was built in honour of the great Voortrekkers or pioneers, who left the Cape during the period 1835 to 1854 to cut through the interior of the country in what became known as the Great Trek.

Constitutional Hill
Nowhere can the story of South Africa’s turbulent past and its extraordinary transition to democracy be told as it is at Constitution Hill. Visit Constitution Hill and learn about the injustices of South Africa’s past while observing the process by which freedom was won and is now protected. The Constitutional Court of South Africa is Johannesburg’s newest historical landmark and a unique architectural symbol of South Africa’s democracy. On this   site, once the Old Fort Prison Complex, commonly known as Number Four, political prisoners and common criminals awaited trial and sat out their jail sentences. Today, the elegant Constitutional Cour presides over this once-reviled place and stands as a proud monument to South Africa’s hard-earned freedom. Exhibitions and guided tours have been designed as an interactive experience, offering visitors the opportunity to participate in the building of Constitution Hill. Available Exhibitions and tours:
Number Four:
The journey to Number Four, the dark heart of Constitution Hill, deepens the visitor’s understanding of what it means to be placed at the bottom of the racial hierachy and how the apartheid system made criminals of   black men.
The Mandela Cell:
View a filf documenting Mandela’s time at the Old Fort, and his emotional return to Constitution Hill some forty years later. The film is a poignant reminder of one man’s ability to inspire change in the political and moral structure of an entire society.
The Women’s Jail:
The grace of this handsome Victorian-style building belies the pain and suffering that occurred within. Currently closed for renovation, the hoarding, which protects the building, has been transformed into a temporary exhibition that honours the contribution of women to the struggle for freedom in South Africa.
We the People Wall:
Running the length of Constitution square, at the base of the Old Fort ramparts, contributors range from Nelson Mandela and other ex-prisoners to ordinary people across South Africa. Leave your message for the We the People wall.
We the People – in the shade of the Constitution:
This photographic exhibition is the result of the first We the People road trip that travelled across South Africa’s nine provinces in 2003 from urban areas to isolated rural communities.
Objects from the Past:
A collection of prison objects and emblems that sheds light on the system of punishment and incarceration in apartheid South Africa.
Freedom Park
Driven by the necessity for the diverse people of South Africa dn the world to understand and appreciate the country’s struggle for liberation, The Freedom Park was born as a national and international icon of humanity and freedom.  The uphill climbs and winding roads serve a very symbolic purpose at The Freedom Park: it stands as a testimony to the arduous road that South Africans had to travel to reach their destination of humanity and freedom.  Golf carts are available for the disabled and elderly.  Comprising a memorial, interactive museum and garden of remembrance, the park will strive to accommodate all of the country’s unfolding experiences and symbols to tell one coherent story of the struggle of humanity for freedom in South Africa – the struggle for survival, land and resources and how they shaped the social, economic, polical, cultural and historical landscape of the country.  The park will address gaps, distortions and biases to provide new perspectives on South Africa’s heritage, challenging traditional narratives through a re-interpretation of the country’s existing heritage sites.

Pioneer Museum, Museum of Military History and National Cultural History Museum

Pioneer Museum
The Pioneer open air Museum is set in a graciously restored Victorian settler farmstead complete with horse mill and threshing floor, farming implments intact. A vist to the three hectare area givens one a real sense of early farming culture in South Africa, as one takes a guided tour around the farm, which includes cooking method demonstrations and farming techniques from early tiems. Where else can you see early bread baked in an old clay oven, candle making with animal fat, hands-on milking, wheat grinding, muzzle loading and even the roasting of cofee beans? Cows, goats, donkeys, ducks, chickens and peacocks roam the farmyard, adding further to the atmosphere of the farm – a traditional T-shaped house complete with thatched roof and traditional dung and peach-pip floor. Even the original type of pioneer furniture is evident in the rooms to give one a true insight into what it must have been like for the origianl pioneers to this part of the country.

National Cultural History Museum
The National Cultural History Museum houses vast collections documenting the life of South Africans, from the early Stone Age, throught the Iron Age, and up into our day. Notable exhibitions incude the San Art Exhibition, the Marabastad exhibit as well as an art gallery. Various temporary exhibitions are also held. The National Cultural History Museum is regarded as a centre for living culture and it focuses on the diversity of the country’s cultures and history of its people. It includes objects, manuscripts, documents, records, photgraphs and publications on cultural history in all areas in South Africa.

Museum of Military History
The museum opened only in 1947 and was called the South African National War Museum. It was changed in 1975 and was called the South African National Museum of Military History. It holds a collection of over 44 000 items from both world wars and the civil war against Apartheid, divided into 37 categories that include photographs, the art collection and some of the rarest aircraft in the world. The Musuem of Military History also has a library with a unique collection of journals, archive material and books.

ABSA Money Museum, Adler Museum of Medicine and the Transvaal Museum

ABSA Money Museum
Home to the largest collection of money used in South Africa’s past in the world. The ABSA Money Museum is the only banking and money museum in the country, and holds a fascinating history of how economic, political and social change can dramatically affect a currency. ABSA Money Museum’s historical records stretch all the way back to the beginnings of Johannesburg, and displays ranges from fairly early mony froms, the cowrie shells and Venetian glass beads, through to gold coins recovered from sunken ships. The scientific study of money and its history, or Numismatics, is the essence of the museum’s displays. Learn about bank-related crime, how to use an ATM, and what it means to save whilst viewing the museum’s collection of over 600 money boxes. Whilst we think of money as coints, banknotes, credit cards and cheques, in the past people traded with commodity money, like salt, seashells, metal and animals. In essence, this type of proto-money had the same basic attributes as money today – scarce and not easily counterfeited. Money has been in use for the last 4500 year, long before people learnt to write.  And in fact the use of trading red ochre in Swaziland, for instance, may date back at least 100 000 years.

Adler Museum of Medicine
Learn about early medicine at the Adler Museum of Medicine. Today the collection consists of over 40 000 objects depicting the history of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy through the ages. In June 1974, the Museum was officially handed over to the University of the Witwatersrand.

Apartheid Museum, James Hall Museum of Transport and the Kruger House Museum

Apartheid Museum
After a few hours at the Apartheid Museum you will feel that you were in the townships in the ‘70’s and ‘80s, dodging police bullets or teargas canisters, or marching and tyoi-toyiing with thousands of school children, or carrying the body of a comrade into a nearby house. The Museum, with its large blown-up photographs, metal cages and numerous monitors recording continuous replays of apartheid scenes set in a double volume ceiling, concrete and red brick walls and grey concrete floor, is next to the Gold Reef City Casino, five kilometres south of the city centre. A multi-disciplinary team of curators, filmmakers, historians, musicologists and designers has been assembled to develop the exhibition narrative which sets out by means of blown-up photographs, artefacts, newspaper clippings, and film footage, to graphically animate the apartheid story. Tickets for the Museum are plastic credit-card size cards indicating either “Non-white” or “White”, and with one in your hand, you know you have begun a harrowing journey.

James Hall Museum of Transport
The James Hall Museum of Transport is an incredible collection of over 400 years’ worth of various modes of land transport that range from steam driven vehicles, trains, trams and trolley busses, to animal drawn carriages, early bicycles and cars of every hue and shape (or just about) known to man. It not only contains a number of rare and important vehicles, but is also an incredible view of the country’s history from the perspective of transport that ranges from farm carts, through the first taxis used in the townships to modern day. The museum is divided into various forms of power – animal power, steam power, pedal power – that makes homin in on one’s favourite aspect of transport easy. The animal power section is more than a little exciting and includes a fine example of a horse-drawn mail carriage, various forms of Cape carts, and the rikshaw – so mauch a part of Durban’s history but which was originally imported by Japanese immigrants in the 1890s and used throughout major cities in South Africa. The courtyard houses a number of steam vehicles, some of them still in working order, which is equally exciting and deserves a wander through if only to realise that there are far more steamed powered vehicles than the good old steam train! The James Hall Museum has a notable selection of surviving bicylcles and motorcycles on display, including the penny farthing. But the main body of this display belonts to a remarkable collection of vintage, post-vintage, pre-war and post-ware vehicles.

Kruger House Museum
The last house in which President Paul Kruger was to live, between 1883 and 1901, before he left South Africa to go into exile in Europe, where his bronze statue takes centre stage facing the Palace of Justice. The Kruger house is a house museum, i.e. it attempts to recreate the ambience of a historic period, event or person. An almost total historic environment has been recreated. Visitors to Kruger House should feel as though the President or Mrs Kruger might return at any moment.

Croc City, Bird Sanctuary, Johannesburg Zoo and National Zoological Gardens

Croc City Crocodile Farm
Croc City Crocodile Farm provides the opportunity to observe one of the world’s most spectacular predators at close range. You are also given the change to HOLD a hatchling. On display there are croc hatchlings to large adults of up to five meters inlength. The tea garden offers delicious refreshments and in the curio shop you will find a wide variety of souvenirs, as well as vacuum packed crocodile meat.

Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary
The 11.8 hectare sanctuary lies within the Walkerspruit Open Space System in which two streams feed water into webland basins that attract a large number of water bird species. There is a bird hide and guided walks as well as an exhibition hall. It is wonderful places to see some of the more common birds close up. The sanctuary lies in Muckleneuk and is a regular Sunday afternoon picnic spot for families. Teh area around the Blue Crane restaurant, which lies virtually on the dam and adjacent reed beds, attracts blue crane, gre crowned crane, rock doves, speckled pigeons and the odd Egyptian goose, that all feed regularly here.

Johannesburg Zoo
The Zoo is 54 hectares in size, with 2070 animals, 380 species. The Johannesburg Zoo-to-You is an extension of the Zoo’s living classroom concept, which brings you a variety of live contact animals that includes birds, reptiles, insects and small mammals. The presentation is based on a wide variety of topics and includes conservation, animal defence, and general information on animals and their homes.

Grade 4 – 7: Conservation / The role of Zoos; Ecology / Circle of life; Endangered / Threatened species; How important are teetha nd feeding habits?; Invertebrates in all their glory; Vertebrate classification; Fabulous Frogs.
Grade 8 – 12: Conservation / The role of Zoos; Ecology / Circle of Life; Endangered / Threatened species; Game reserves and zoos.  What’s the difference?; How important are teeth and feeding habits:; Vertebrate classification; Careers in Natural Sciences; Fabulous Frogs.

National Zoological Gardens (aka Pretoria Zoo)
More widely known as the Pretoria Zoo, the National Zoological Gardens is not only the largest zoo in South Africa and the only one with national status, but is also rated as one of the top zoos in the world. Today there are 3117 animals and the zoo boasts the largest inland marine aquarium in the country, as well as a reptile park. The zoo also has the third largest collection of exotic trees. The world’s first white rhino born in a zoo was delivered here at the National Zoological Gardens.  It is also the only zoo in Africa with insectariums, and a white tiger.

Orlando Towers, Gold Reef City and Bungee Mogale

Bungee Mogale
50 meters of pure adrenaline rush! The bungee jump operates off the Kings Kloof Bridge in Krugersdorp Mogale City.  Challenge the limits of the mind and test the edge of fear by leaping off the impressive bridge. Available Jumps:  Forward Dive, Backward Dive, Waist jump. The site is a veritable one-stop adventure site. Besides bungee jumping you will find a bridge swing, 320 m foofie slide, adventure circuit and restaurant.
Gold Reef City
From traditional mine dancing to Jozi’s Story Of Gold, from choreographed bird shows to street entertainers, and from adrenalin-pumping rides to Africa’s only 4D theatre, the Theme Park offers a variety of attractions that no other venue in Africa can match. Gold Reef City Theme park has an abundance of adventure rides, restaurants, history, sites seeing and tours for you to enjoy:
  • Over 30 thrill rides
  • Jozi’s story of Gold (Heritage Tour)
  • Restaurants
  • Amusement Attractions
  • Tribal Dancers
  • Kiddies Corner
  • Farmyard
  • Speciality Shops
Orlando Towers
The 33-storey Orlando Towers, once the cooling towers of the Orlando Power Station, have become a populare adventure facility. Visitors to the towers can bungee jump, abseil down the towers and even power swing between the two structures. Those looking for less heart-stopping action can simple choose to take in the view from the top of the towers, which are beautifully decorated with murals of South Africa. Adrenaline junkies are guided to the top of the one tower, from where they can take the floating stairs to the viewing platform and take in the spectacula scene of Soweto and Johannesburg. They can choose to go down the same way they came up – or they can put on a harness and drop down the tower, swing inside the tower or swing between the two towers.

Gautrain, Origins Centre, Ngwenya Glass Village and SABC Tour

The Gautrain is a state-of-the-art rapid rail network in Gauteng.  The rail connection comprises of two links, namely a link between Pretoria and Johannesburg and a link between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton.

Origins Centre
The newest heritage resource in South Africa, this is one of the finest learning centres and home to Khoi San Rock Art in the world.  It is also a facility where yu explore the origins of humans in Africa and peek into the fascinating world of the earliest humans.  At the Origins Centre visitors can see the earlies image made by man, found here in South Africa; take an 80,000 year journey to the present in search of the art and culture that has inspired and motivated humans in their search for innovation and modernity and trace their genetic makeup through DNA and found out who they really are.

Ngwenya Glass Village
The Ngwenya glass blowing factory is the centre of the Ngwenya Glass Village.  You can watch the ancient art of glassblowing and browse the 2 shops that make up the villiage.

Like South Africa itself, the country’s public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), has a rich and fascinating history.  In the radio park you can watch DJs and presenters in action and visit the media library where tens of thousands of CDs are stored.  The tour includes a stop at the technical museum, which covers the introduction and development of radio and television broadcasting in South Africa, and a simulated studio where wannabe presenters can get behind the microphone.  The tour also stops in at the SABC’s television production studios where many popular shows are pre-recorded and where production sets are kept.  The news studio is a highlight of any tour.  Here you will be exposed to all the behind-the-scenes efforts that go into news and weather broadcasts.

City Tour, Nelson Mandela Museum House, Museum Africa and Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

City Tour
Sandton City/Houton:
We proceed to Sandton City, drive around and to Houton where our leaders like Mr Nelson Mandela and jacob Zuma live when they are in Johannesburg. These are the most beautiful and expensive suburbs in Gauteng.
Pretoria City:
Historic Church Square with its beautiful building. Drive through this beautiful city to the various Union Buildings.
Insight into a typical South African township.

Nelson Mandela Museum House
This is one of the biggest attractions in Gauteng. The house has been preserved the same state as it was when the Mandela’s lived in it in the 1960’s. Visitors to the Museum in the past include international tourists, heads of state and local residents keen to learn about the great man.

Museum Africa
In the words of the curators, Museum Africa is a journey back into the glory years of the Africa continent’s past, when the first civilisations thrived. It is not a revisionist African history written by biased Afrocentric scholars. The journey through Africa’s history visits places like Kemet, now known as Egypt, Kush (Sudan) and Punt (Somalia), which the ancients called ‘Gods’s country’. Museum Africa is about a time the world forgot; a time very little of the world knows; a rich history with which a generation of black children can identify and correct the record on African hisotry as it has been presented up until now. Museum Africa’s collection and research focuses on indigenous African cultures, history and archaeology, and linguistics, and the collecto of rock are is more than impressive. The collected works of art contain many local artists as well as Pre-Raphaelite and Impressionist paintings.

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre
Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Gauteng’s exciting new Science Centre and the largest in Africa, is a uniquely crafted edutainment destination for learners, educators, families, companies, and tourists to interactively participate in exciting and fun-filled activities in mathematics, science and technology.

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