Johannesburg stopover: Where to eat, sleep and what to do.

January 19, 2019

by Carmel Gajjar

Many travelers may find themselves stopping over in Johannesburg before Many travelers stopover in Johannesburg, before boarding a flight to their next destination. Not knowing what to do in Johannesburg, and afraid of the crime; many travelers spend hours at the airport when they could be enjoying the world’s largest man-made forest on earth. If you have eight hours or more to spare, why not consider enjoying one of these activities within an hour commute from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport?

Transportation from the airport to the city

The safest, fastest and most comfortable method of traveling between OR Tambo International Airport and the city, is by taking the Gautrain to Rosebank station. Once you arrive at Rosebank station, take the elevator to the Rosebank mall to find something to eat, before touring the city. Ask for the wifi password at the restaurant at which you are eating your meal, and purchase a City Sightseeing bus ticket online. Purchasing a ticket online is much more affordable, than buying it at the ticket booth. You will then be able to collect your physical ticket at the booth before the start of your tour.


Many hotels and activities are located near Gautrain station stops. You should check the Gautrain’s route and schedule, before booking your hotel or Airbnb accommodation. Areas which are along the Gautrain route, which have great hotels include Melrose Arch, Rosebank, and Sandton. There are many wonderful restaurants located nearby when residing in one of these areas.  You will find that security is tight which means that you will be able to feel more relaxed.


If you would like to eat a meal anywhere between breakfast time and six o’clock in the evening, I would suggest going to Mugg and Bean.  Locals enjoy grabbing breakfast, lunch or even a cup of coffee here.  Perhaps you will find it similar to Ihop in the United States, as it has a wide variety of breakfast options, pancakes, and hot drinks. This type of restaurant caters to a wide variety of dietary preferences. You will find Mugg and Bean in the airport, as well as in the Rosebank Mall.

If you are would like to eat a delicious dinner, then I’d suggest heading to Maboneng. Maboneng is an up-and-coming inner-city district has undergone an urban renewal initiative. Maboneng has a variety of restaurants, some specializing in Southern African food, such as from Mozambican style peri-peri chicken, Cape Malay briyani, and South African Indian bunny chow, which is curry inside half a loaf of bread; while others specialize in preparing international favorites such as Italian, Mexican, Greek, and American foods. You can expect to find great South African wine, beers, liquors, spirits at the restaurants and bars in Maboneng. If you would like to travel to Maboneng, then I would suggest that you call an Uber. The suburb is walkable and security is tight.

Transportation to tourist sites

You may have eaten and taken a nap, now you are ready to explore. Head towards the nearest Gautrain station and take a train to Rosebank station. Head up the elevators in the direction of Rosebank mall. Look for the City Sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus tour company booth which is not far from the exit. The City Sightseeing tour company offers an option to add the Soweto tour to your itinerary. Choose this option as it is the easiest and safest way to tour Soweto. You will be able to learn more about Soweto and its history from a knowledgeable tour guide. The activities listed below are all accessible using the City Sightseeing bus.

Top four places to visit

Gold Reef City

Johannesburg, which is known as Egoli to locals, means the city of gold. Thousands of European and African people flocked to Johannesburg in search of employment in the gold mines.  It was the New York of Africa and maintains this status even today, even though the economy no longer relies solely on mining, people still come to Johannesburg to seek their fortune. If you want to learn a bit more about Johannesburg’s gold mining industry, then head down to Gold Reef City for a tour of a former gold mine. You go underground in an old elevator and you will learn how gold is mined. I would suggest booking a tour online. You may also wish to visit Gold Reef City’s Casino as well as the gold mine Theme park while you are in the area.

The Apartheid Museum

If you would like to understand more about the apartheid system, then I would suggest visiting the Apartheid Museum. At the Apartheid Museum, you will learn about the injustices of the apartheid system, the events which led to democracy for South Africa, and the reason that Nelson Mandela is internationally admired. The Apartheid Museum is filled with local art and interactive displays. There is also a small cafe where one may eat a light meal while waiting for the bus to arrive. The museum is located next to the Gold Reef City Casino.


One of the two Soweto Towers. No longer in use as cooling towers, they are now a bungy jumping platform. Cost: R480.

Johannesburg’s Gold mines housed the miners in Soweto, South Africa’s largest township. Soweto is an acronym for South West Township. Visitors to Soweto may visit Nelson Mandela’s home, the infamous Soweto Towers, and Soccer City.  The City Sightseeing township tour of Soweto starts at the Gold Reef City stop on the bus tour. You will ride in a local minibus, which is known as a taxi. Ask your tour guide whether you can visit a local shop to purchase a chip and cheese Kota bun.

The Cradle of Human Kind



Africa is believed to be the birthplace of humans. This is because the oldest human remains have been found at the Cradle of Human Kind, in north-west Johannesburg.  It is believed that it was here that we changed from ape to human before migrating to other parts of the world. This is a must-see attraction, for those not opposed to the Darwinian idea of evolution.


Enjoy your vacation in Africa.


Carmel Gajjar

By Carmel Gajjar

My name is Carmel. I am a thirty year old South African female. I am currently travelling Ireland. Next stop is England. Prior to landing in Ireland a month ago, I traveled throughout my home country South Africa, for two months, going places I had never been before, places tourists from abroad usually never get to see. For the last three years I lived in South Korea (up until the end of August 2018). From there I traveled Asia during my vacations. Now I am on a journey around world looking for my next base camp, where I can work and travel and explore during my vacation time. During my spare time I love to read and write. To keep afloat, money-wise, whilst on this long travel adventure, I currently pet sit for families who are going on holiday in exchange for a roof over my head. I also teach English online and write.I love to read autobiographies and stories about peoples travels. When I was younger, I could not afford to travel, so I read about other peoples travels, and traveled the world through the written word. I love to take photographs of my destinations. I look forward to sharing many travel stories with my readers.


Leave a Comment...

Alex kizito

January 25, 2019

Nice article and I wish you the best in your travelling

Victor Donaldson

February 1, 2019

Great read. Really excited about my trip to SA soon. :)


February 1, 2019

A very good article.