Without a doubt, this is a huge city and it has 7.5 million people in it. Is there a lot to see…not sure, but there are definitely a lot of very expensive mansions and a lot of very poor shanties all in this same city.
Like Cape Town, most houses have fences and electric wires protecting the homes from intruders, but in Johannesburg, the walls are 12+ feet high and many have armed guards.
Not everyone has these luxuries, but they are very common in the major cities.
We stopped by Nelson Mandela’s former house when he was still living and was President of South Africa. He did not have electric fences since he had laser detection and 24×7 security.
As a contrast, take a drive through Soweto which is part of the city of Johannesburg and you will see 10×10 homes made of corrugated steel for an entire family…and yet, the homes all have satellite dishes! Why? Because that is how the government can provide education to the kids even though they are poor (as explained by our local guide).
In the suburb of Ormonde is the Nelson Mandela museum and Apartheid Museum. Very moving and very educational. Unfortunately, you cannot take any pictures in either. Only the outside.
On the positive side, we got to meet and talk with Antoinette Sithole who was the sister of Hector Pieterson who was the child killed by police in this famous photograph that occurred in a student protest.
We also got to make a quick stop and visit Hector’s memorial which was not far from Nelson Mandela’s and Archbishop Tutu’s original homes. The one bad thing from these memorials is they are swarmed by vendors and locals trying to make a few rand from the tourists.
We also made a 30 minute stop at the former prison where Nelson Mandela was held which has now been converted to the South Africa constitutional court which has been the foundation for the country and its new constitution since apartheid was eliminated.
Last, but not least we stopped at a local craft brewery in Johannesburg which was amazing. It had the combination of craft brewery atmosphere and flavors like the united states combined with small dishes for gourmet South African delicacies. It was the Mad Giant brewery and the food was crafted by Urbanology. Highly recommended!