In January this year I found out that Joburg was to have its own sightseeing bus otherwise known as hop-on hop-off tour bus. I was interested and only didn’t do when I was bussing around some of my brother’s friends in January as it was raining and would have not been the best tourist experience. My interest was piqued when blogger 2Summers did it and then subsequently when our friend Kentucky Girl did it when visiting us in Joburg.
When we moved to Joburg, Raquel and I told ourselves we would do the tour on a weekend we were free, but kept stalling due to other commitments and at times laziness. That was until last weekend, when my brother and cousin visiting from the UK, decided to spend a weekend with us in Joburg. Both of them knew nothing of Joburg, even my brother who was born and raised in South Africa, so we decided it would be the perfect opportunity to show them the city we are growing to love.
So on Saturday morning after breakfast we all got into the car and made our way to Park Station in the city center from where you catch the bus on Smit Street outside the station. Finding the stop is not that difficult as there is a steward awaiting you with a brochure of the tour and with information you might need for the tour.
I have one tiny suggestion for the operator: Everywhere else I’ve seen and done the tour, there has always been a little booth with information. This also makes the tour stop more visible and makes passersby aware of it, thus creating more awareness.
We were greeted by the steward who gave us a brochure and told us a little more about the tour and its stops. Our plan was to do the tour in one go i.e. Not get off at any of the stops, but simply see the city from the bus. However the stewards talked us into getting off at the Carlton Centre, Africa’s tallest building, and go to the 50th floor from where you can get some great panoramic views of the city (I will dedicate a separate post for this)
The bus stop at the following locations:
• Gautrain Station @ Park
• Gandhi Square
• Carlton Centre
• Santarama Miniland
• James Hall Transport Museum
• Gold Reef City
• Apartheid Museum
• Mining District Walk
• Origins Centre at Wits
• Constitution Hill
We intend to visit these stops individually at a later stage. But this post is more about sharing the photos from the trip than writing about it. However, I have to say that I was very impressed with the tour and route. Not only was the information provided over the sound system synchronized to the stops unlike a similar tour we did Hong Kong, but it was also interesting finding out more about the way the city evolved and grew. The information was clear and at times it piqued my interest even more prompting me to take notes of things to look up later, in between photos.
One thing that stood out for me was that despite Joburg’s grid pattern and its sometimes grimy look, the city has some impressive architectural heritage and it’s a pity that some of it fell into despair during Joburg’s dark years, but it is clear that the city is going through a revival and that some of its Architectural heritage will stand out like it did during its glory years.
I highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Joburg and locals alike as it is such a refreshing way to see the city, without having to worry about watching out for taxis, pedestrians and focus solely on getting information and taking photos. Also, considering the tour only costs R150 you would be crazy to miss out on this cheap way of exploring this city!