I’ve done it in other cities, so why not in my own city. I’ve sent visitors on it, but never went on my own. So, with time off work and another visitor arriving in Johannesburg, I thought, let me give it a try, too. And so I ended on the Red City Sightseeing Bus discovering Johannesburg. Since I last put a visitor on the bus, a lot has changed to the positive. Starting point is now directly at Rosebank (used to be Park Station), they added the Green Tour to start with which takes you through the leafy suburbs of Rosebank, Parktown, Houghton, Parkview, past Zoo Lake, the Zoo and finally stops at Constitution Hill where you can swap to the Red Tour which takes you through Braamfontain, through downtown Jozi, the south of Johannesburg and stops at the Apartheid Museum. From there, you can now swap into a Red mini bus and start your Soweto tour.
- seeing the Northern Suburbs from a higher perspective by sitting on the upper level. You can actually look over all the fences and walls and see the most amazing manor houses.
- Constitution Hill! A definite must for every South African. The Constitutional Court Building is accessible for visitors and it’s definitely worth to see. Amazing art is displayed in the public areas. Constitution Hill itself is definitely worth a walk around.
- The narrative on the bus is brilliantly done, I still learned a lot by driving through town.
- We had a local Soweto guy who was our Soweto Tour guide and he was brilliant – Mbali Blessing is his name.
- Carlton Centre: which is one of the stops on the Red Tour. You can go up to the 50th level and have a 360 degree view of greater Johannesburg. However, the so called “Eye of Africa” really needs a makeover, or at least a clean up. At least the windows would need a clean up.
- If you book the Soweto Tour you won’t really make it inside the Apartheid Museum due to time constraints, which is a pity, cause this should really be a Must for anyone visiting Johannesburg.
- Unfortunately there is also not enough time to walk around in Soweto a lot. There is so much more to do. So, the 2 hours tour is good for a first insight, but not long enough (however, Mbali offers private longer tours on his days off.. ask him if you want to and have time) He will even walk through his neighborhood with you and introduce you to the locals and yes, you can feel pretty safe with him.
If you plan to visit Johannesburg or if you live there.. give it a try! It is definitely worth it.