Pretoria Union Buildings

16 Free Things to do in South Africa

The best part of a visit to South Africa is the plenty of family-friendly free things to do both locals and visitors can enjoy. Every major city in South Africa boasts of free activities a visitor can do. Here are some of our top picks:


1. Visit the largest transport museum in the country – the James Hall Museum of Transport.
2. Johannesburg houses world class art galleries such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank where illustrious names such as William Kentridge, Picasso, Monet and Degas adorn the walls.
3. Spend a wonderful afternoon with the entire family at Museum Afrika in the Newtown precinct.
4. Slow down the pace at Zoo Lake. The serenity offers a welcome getaway from the energetic pulse of the city.
5. Johannesburg’s botanical gardens and nature reserves are a tribute to the glorious beauty of Mother Nature. They provide the perfect spot for a picnic or photo opportunities with loved ones.

Cape Town:

6. The South African Astronomical Observatory hosts 45 minute presentations on Open Nights (held every second and fourth Saturday of the month in the evenings). Topics are announced before hand and the public are welcome to join the tour of the site and be amazed by star gazing opportunities.
7. A free tour that provides a fascinating and behind the scenes look into the creation of diamonds is the Diamond tours at Shimansky located at Clock Tower, V & A Waterfront.
8. A leisurely stroll along one of Cape Town’s many beautiful beaches offers wonderful scenic views.
9. Green Point Park is a stunning landscaped garden that features more than 300 indigenous plant species. Visitors of all ages will enjoy this cleverly designed greenway.


10. Durban flea markets are popular with both locals and visitors. Notable among the many markets in the city is the Essenwood Street Market which is open every Saturday morning.
11. Visit the most famous building in Durban designed in modern renaissance style – the Durban City Hall. Also on site are the eThekeini Art Gallery and the Natural Science Museum which features a unique range of stuffed animals, a dodo skeleton and the only ancient Egyptian mummy in the country.
12. The Durban Cultural and Documentation Centre has on show cultural artefacts, paintings, traditional clothing and jewellery of the Indian culture.
13. The Japanese Garden is a quaint landscaped garden characterized by oriental gardens, koi ponds and temples that provide unrivalled photographic opportunities.


14. Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary is a beautiful nature reserve with no entrance fee situated in central Pretoria where visitors can view fauna such as cranes and other birdlife, small sized deer and tortoises.
15. The terraced gardens, statues and monuments on the grounds of the Union Buildings are well worth a visit.
16. For architectural buffs, Church Square in the centre of the city displays a number of examples of 19th and 20th century designed buildings.

South Africa has a wide variety of entertainment activities that are free for international and local visitors to indulge in. The culturally inclined tourists and wildlife enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to take delight in and which showcase the extraordinary attractions the country has to offer.

Activities in Johannesburg

Top 10 things tourists should not miss in Johannesburg

Johannesburg presents a world-in-one for tourists wishing to sample and savour the delectable delights of this pulsating hub of electrifying energy. Where else in Africa can one find a colourful explosion of culture, cuisine, entertainment, activities for the adrenaline addicted, wildlife and a history far from bland all in one spot? Locals lovingly refer to it as the City of Gold, and indeed, it is a treasure house just waiting to be explored.

1. Nelson Mandela National Museum
The first democratic president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto is a worthy worthwhile point of interest.

2. Gold Reef City
This world renowned theme park should be on every tourist’s itinerary list. A myriad of thrilling adrenaline adventures await the whole family. In addition to the heart stopping amusement park rides, Gold Reef City houses a casino and a reproduction of a mining town which highlights a tour down a mine shaft.

3. Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens
Framed picturesquely against the Witpoortjie waterfall, this stunning garden boasts 300 hectares of landscaped and natural veld areas.

4. Museum Africa
This museum of note displays exhibits and collections which focus particularly on local African cultures, history and archaeology. A must see is the impressive rock art collection. Local artists are celebrated as well as Pre-Raphaelite and Impressionist paintings.

5. Hector Peterson Memorial and Museum
This memorial has become a symbol of resistance against the apartheid regime and a worthy tribute to Hector Peterson, the 12 year old boy shot by the police on 16 June during the 1976 student uprisings. On display are photographic exhibits which detail the events of that day.

6. Oriental Plaza
Regarded as the Jewel of the shopping price Mecca of South Africa, the Oriental Plaza is a real treat for tourists who are ardent bargain-shoppers. Over 360 shops with the best selection of designer wear of both local and international brand Houses are located here. The food catered for by the restaurants tempts palates that enjoy ethnic and spicy cuisine.

7. Carlton Centre Observation Deck
The Top of Africa observation deck situated on the 50th floor of the Carlton Centre high rise offers scintillating views of Johannesburg.

8. Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
One of South Africa’s eight World Heritage sites and home to about 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils. 53 000 hectares protects a wide range of flora and fauna.

9. Lion Park
Admire the king of the jungle from the safety and comfort from your own car with the option of a hands-on experience with lion cubs. The park is home to just over 80 lions as well as other species of wildlife. Cheetahs, zebra, antelope, wild dogs giraffes are just some of the animals that can be seen.

10. Montecasino
Lauded as the entertainment complex in Johannesburg, it is simply s must-see for every visitor. A movie theatre, bird sanctuary, tenpin bowling, a number of theatres, casino and a whole host of restaurants, coffee shops and a musical fountain to delight both the young and old.