Johannesburg, affectionately known as Jozi, eGoli, Joburg and the ‘City of Gold’, is South Africa’s largest metropolis, and is built on the rich heritage of gold mining.
Formerly the Johannesburg International Airport (JNB), OR Tambo is seated in the heart of Kempton Park (Ekurhuleni) in Gauteng. With plenty of cheap flights to JHB, there’s no reason not to plan things to do near OR Tambo.
8 Incredible Things to Do Near O.R. Tambo Airport
Whether you’re in the City of Gold for a few hours or spending some days here, there are tons of exciting and memorable things to do near JNB Airport.
1. Uncover More at the Cradle of Humankind
Around 50-minutes’ drive from Johannesburg Airport lies some of the most significant fossils found in the world. The area forms part of the Cradle of Humankind, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The main focus is on the Sterkfontein stalactic caves and hominid fossil fields. This is where Mrs Ples and Little Foot were discovered.
You can learn all about the birth of humankind at the remarkable visitor centre, Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves. Opening times are from 9 am – 5 pm and combination tickets prices are R165 per adult and R97 per scholar.
2. Explore the Kruger National Park
If a safari is at the top of your list, the Kruger National Park is not only one of the top game reserves around; it’s also the largest National Park in South Africa.
It lies around 420 km from OR Tambo to the closest gate in the park, the Malelane Gate. You can rent a car or take a bus to reach the park. Alternatively, fly from O.R. Tambo International Airport to one of the three airports nearby the reserve. The closest being the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMI).
The park is home to a remarkable quantity and variety of fauna and flora, including:
● The Big Five
● 147 mammal species
● Over 500 species of birds
● 118 different species of reptiles
● Around 2,000 species of plants
The park is open from 5:30 am – 6:30 pm and entrance costs around R50 to R100 for SA citizens, and around R200 to R400 for international visitors.
3. Learn About South Africa’s History at the Apartheid Museum
The Apartheid Museum showcases the rise and fall of the apartheid era. It portrays stories through photos, newspaper clippings, artefacts, chilling personal memoirs and film footage. Visitors can move through the thought-provoking exhibits on an emotional journey of South Africa’s history.
The paths follow the country through the decades of oppression right through to the birth of democracy. The Museum is open from 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Sunday, and costs around R85 per adult and R45 per scholar. You should reserve at least two hours to get the most out of your visit here.
4. Take a Trip to the Lion & Safari Park
Just 20-minutes from the OR Tambo Airport is the Lion & Safari Park. You’ll be able to get an up-close experience with Africa’s famous wildlife, such as lions, hyenas, wild dogs and cheetahs.
In the park, you can see lion cubs in Cub World, take the Cheetah Walk, and hand-feed giraffes. You can do a self-drive safari or join a guided game drive through the game reserve to see various other wildlife.
There are stunning souvenir shops and restaurants available on site, to relax and rest at before heading back. Entrance to the park is free. You’ll only pay according to what activities you choose to see and do.
5. Hop-On a Red Bus City Tour
What better way to discover the city of Joburg, than on the roof of a double-decker city sightseeing bus? Hop on and hop off the bus and choose how you want to spend your time.
The tour comes with audio available in 15 languages and has more than 16 stops, taking you to over 20 of Johannesburg’s top attractions. It’s a fun way to see important landmarks and neighbourhoods around the City of Gold.
A one-day sightseeing bus tour costs around R200 per adult, and R100 per scholar.
6. Take a Tour of Soweto
Soweto (South Western Township), is a large township that was created by the apartheid government in the 1930s. The aim was to keep the black and white populations in South Africa separate.
Today, it’s filled with rich cultural heritage, making it an interesting place to visit. There’s a wealth of Soweto tours to help visitors get a better understanding of the township and its history. The tours also take you to important landmarks in the area, to unique restaurants and places to meet the locals.
Popular attractions to visit are the former homes of two Nobel Peace Prize winners, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
7. Spend Time in Gold Reef City
A short 26-minute drive from the airport lies a day full of fun, at Gold Reef City. It’s a family-friendly attraction, where history and adventure collide. It provides a series of thrilling theme park rides and historical exhibits.
There is an array of activities catering for all desires. You can take a tour of a disused gold shaft mine, once one of the richest gold-mines in the world. There is also a trampoline park, ten-pin bowling alley, and a petting zoo – ticket prices around R215 per adult, and R135 for children.
If you can’t keep away from all the fun, why not stay overnight at the Gold Reef City Theme Park Hotel.
8. Picnic at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens
A 46-minute drive from the OR Tambo International Airport is the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens. The main attraction here is the Witpoortjie Waterfall. Beautiful picnic nooks surround the cascading falls, where you can relax. The Gardens are also ideal for hiking and provide plenty of trails weaving through the landscape.
Other highlights include the Fern Trail, Cycad Garden, the Birds and Butterfly Garden, and more. The opening hours are from 8 am – 5 pm daily, and ticket prices are around R60 per adult, and R20 for scholars.
What’s Your Favourite Thing to Do Near JNB Airport?
Johannesburg is filled with history and culture. Preserving the memories of the once struggled heroes, who transformed the country into what it is today. It offers an abundance of gardens, parks, reserves, markets and much more.
You can soak up all aspects of life in Johannesburg. And the best of it all is these are just a hand full of things to do in the magnificent City of Gold. Not to mention, there are plenty of other destinations to explore in this beautiful country.