Johannesburg Heart Of South Africa

Submitted by: Rachel Hill

The city of Johannesburg is the commercial and financial heart of South Africa. It is known by numerous nicknames; Gauteng and Egoli, for example, and they all mean place of gold. It was the discovery of gold that first brought settlers to this place over a hundred years ago, and the Western Deep Gold Mine is still producing wealth.

Gold Reef City

Just eight kilometers (5 miles) south of Johannesburg is Gold Reef City, a wonderful reconstruction of Johannesburg as it appeared in the 1890s when it was a frontier mining camp. It is built around Shaft 14, a gold mine that was in operation from 1887 to 1971. The amusement park here has twenty-six rides that are all free of charge, but the real attraction is gold. You can pan for gold at Digger Joe s Prospector Camp, and see an actual demonstration of gold being poured. There are excellent museums, such as Gemstone World. Be sure to take a ride on the Gold reef City train. This park has a festive atmosphere that makes it one of the most popular attractions in South Africa.

A City For Art Lovers

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Lovers of art may be surprised to find that one of the best art galleries in South Africa is housed in an operational bank. The Standard Bank Art Gallery provides a showcase for both local and international artists. The bank displays its own impressive collection of fine works of art, and also hosts visiting exhibits. In addition, the building is a venue for concerts and recitals. At Joubert Park there are displays of historical, traditional, and modern South African art. Visitors can also see displays of ceramics and sculpture.

Remembering Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi once lived in Johannesburg and worked as a lawyer and civil rights activist. Of course, this often got him in trouble with the Transvaal Law Courts. Today a busy downtown square that was completely renovated in 2002 is named after him. In the centre of Gandhi Square there is a life sized statue of the great pacifist leader. This is one of the most trendy shopping areas in South Africa, with many boutiques and cafes, and an arcade that links it to Marshall Street.

Key Downtown Landmark

The Carlton Centre is fifty storeys high, making it not only the tallest building in South Africa, but also the tallest on the African continent. It is the key landmark of downtown Johannesburg. The Carlton Centre is part of a 5 star hotel complex. It has an underground shopping mall with 180 stores and several restaurants. There is even an ice skating rink. Take the elevator to the Top of Africa observation deck on the 50th floor for some spectacular panoramic views of the city.

Turbulent History

Of course, it is difficult to think of South Africa without taking into consideration its turbulent history, and events that are still in living memory. Go to the Apartheid Museum to learn all about those dark days when racist policies were a fact of everyday life. The displays of photographs and artifacts inside are powerful reminders of a courageous struggle against oppression. The Old Prison Complex on Constitution Hill, and the South African National Museum of Military History are also important points of interest for history buffs visiting Johannesburg.

About the Author: Rachel Hill is a Southern Africa Travel specialist, a company specialising in luxury, tailor-made

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holidays, as well as holidays to other destinations in Southern Africa. Our experienced consultants will help you design your very own luxury holiday, and will be happy to provide you with a free quote.

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