Hop On, Hop Off
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus
Zukie our host on the hop on hop off City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus
The City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus, which started operations in January 2013, runs every day of the year - in both sunny and wet weather, and allows passengers to hop on or hop off at regular scheduled intervals.
The Johannesburg Sightseeing Bus stops at 11 sites (there is no stop #3) around the city, and allows you to choose and explore at your own pace, before hopping on the next bus and heading for the next drop zone.
The hop-on hop-off Johannesburg sightseeing bus is the same reliable, red open-topped, double decker bus that is a well known brand in over 100 tourist spots worldwide.
NO CASH ON BUS.
DEBIT and CREDIT CARDS ONLY!
CITY SIGHTSEEING JOBURG RED BUS TIMES :
365 days a year, 7 days a week
CITY SIGHTSEEING JOBURG RED BUS PRICES :
Red City Tour :
First bus leaves Gautrain Station @ Park at : 09h00 (9.00am)
Last bus leaves Gautrain Station @ Park at : 15h30 (3.30pm)
1 day valid ticket :
SOWETO TAXI CONNECTION
CITY SIGHTSEEING JOBURG RED BUS CONTACT :
Offline Adult : R170.00
Online Adult : R150.00 (see website link at the bottom of this page)
Kids (5-15 years) : R80.00
Kids (under 5) : FREE! (max. 2 kids per adult)
1 day SUNDAY SIZZLER ticket :
For use on Sundays ONLY!
Online Adult : R119.00 (see website link at the bottom of this page)
Kids (5-15 years) : R80.00
Kids (under 5) : FREE! (max. 2 kids per adult)
2 consecutive-days valid ticket :
Offline Adult : R270.00
Online Adult : R250.00 (see website link at the bottom of this page)
Kids (5-15 years) : R170.00
Kids (under 5) : FREE! (max. 2 kids per adult)
Telephone : +27 (0)12 258-0423 / +27 (0)12 258-9906
Fax: +27 (0)86 531-9587
Send an E-Mail
A City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus takes close to two hours to complete a circuit, and starts its journey every 30 minutes on Saturday, Sunday and public and school holidays, and every 40 minutes on Mondays through Fridays.
The hop on hop off buses are all equipped with very good recorded commentary in 16 languages.
Afrikaans, Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Zulu, as well as a fun Kids Channel to keep the little ones entertained between stops.
A brochure is available on the bus that has a timetable, outlines the route and gives information relating to a number of stops.
A passenger awaits to board the red, hop on hop off City Sightseeing Joburg bus at Gold Reef City
Jo'burg is a difficult city for visitors to get around - with the lack of public transport and the geographical spread of the city, so this City Sightseeing Joburg Bus is a big plus in planning your stay - although the route at the moment is somewhat limited, and the odd drop zone is a questionable tourist attractions!
I took the first City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus (09h00) out, and the last City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus back (15h40), but just didn't have enough time with a 1 day ticket to see what I wanted to see.
Beware of sunburn!
Remember your hat and sun cream as the sun on the upper deck of the open bus can be brutal . . . and don't forget to take that bottle of water with you - sitting in an open topped bus can be thirsty work!
Stop 1 : GAUTRAIN STATION @ PARK
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops in Wolmarans Street
(between Rissik and Joubert Streets)
Saturday, Sunday, Public and School holiday Timetable : Every 30 minutes
Monday to Friday Timetable : Every 40 minutes
The City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus, which offers a hop-on hop-off journey of nearly 2 hours through the inner City of Johannesburg, leaves from outside the Gautrain Park Station every 40 minutes.
The route at the moment is somewhat limited, but it does allow you to hop-on and hop-off at a further 10 inner city stops.
Bear in mind that if you do NOT use the Gautrain, but use their safe and secure parking, you will pay a hefty, premium rate!
Stop 2 : GANDHI SQUARE
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops in Eloff Street
(Corner Main Street, Johannesburg CBD)
Although it's nothing more than a bus terminus with a number of coffee shops and restaurants, Gandhi Square, is steeped in history.
Originally called Government Square, it was here that Mahatma Gandhi - later regarded as the 'Father of India', first practiced as an attorney in Johannesburg's original Court House (the two storey building was demolished in 1948), and where he not only defended his South African Indian and Chinese clients who had been involved in non-violent resistance against a racially discriminatory system, but also where he stood trial and was sentenced to his first term of imprisonment (in 1908) for personally defying that same system.
A beautiful statue of a young Gandhi in his court robes by sculpture Tinka Christopher, with explanatory tablets and quotes by Gandhi, now looks over the square that takes his name.
It was here too, in front of the original Court House on 31 May 1900, that the Boer forces surrendered to the invading British Army during the Anglo-Boer War.
The British Forces had invaded the independent Boer Republic to give Britain access to the wealth of the newly discovered gold fields, and after their capitulation, the Boers were allowed to depart Johannesburg within 24 hours - provided they leave the gold mines intact!
The old reflected in the not so old, in Diagonal Street, downtown Johannesburg
Stop 3 : CARLTON CENTRE
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops in von Weillagh Street
(between Fox and Main Streets, Johannesburg CBD)
Once the pride of Johannesburg, the Carlton Centre and the Carlton Hotel, built through the 1960's and opened in 1973, were hard hit by the city's urban decay of the 1990's.
The Hotel still remains closed, and the Carlton Centre is now just another non-descript shopping mall - but worth a visit for its frenetic pulse and energy.
Other than Google Earth, the best place to get a bird's eye view of the outlay of Johannesburg, is from The Top of Africa on the 50th floor of the Carlton Office Tower, which 20 years after completion, is still the tallest building in Africa!
Look out for the City Sightseeing Joburg bus staff member, who'll point you in the right direction for The Top Of Africa
Alternatively head for the first floor of the shopping mall, or ask a security guard for directions.
The elevators and restrooms show their age and the windows on the viewing deck are somewhat grubby, but it does allow you an overview of Jo'burg - with its leafy green suburbs to the north, the remains of trailings and slimes dams from no-longer operational gold mines to the south and the urban sprawl that chased the gold reef, to the east and west.
There is a coffee shop and a bar on the 50th floor, but take enough cash as cards are NOT accepted!
Security is good, as the surrounding neighborhood is monitored by CCTV cameras and inundated with security guards.
What I did here, after visiting The Top of Africa, was exit onto Commissionner Street, first left into Kruis Street, first right into the Fox Street mall, second left into Eloff Street and then first right into Main Street where it joins Gandhi Square.
I then walked through Gandhi Square, further west along the Main Street Mall until Ntemi Piliso Street, where I turned right and headed for Diagonal Street.
Diagonal Street is unique and historic, and highly recommened as a walkabout.
I then walked back to stop 8 in Fox Street (between Ntemi Piliso and Ferreira Streets) and caught the bus to the Newtown Precinct.
By doing this inner-city walk, I saw 3 sights - Carlton Centre 'Top of Africa', Gandhi Square and the Mining District Walk, and also saw one of Jo'burg's icons - Diagonal Street, but missed out on stops 5 (James Hall Transport Museum), 6 (Gold Reef City) and 7 (the Apartheid Museum).
I then did these by staying on the bus, and doing a second lap of the route.
Admission - Top of Africa
Children under 12: R10.00
Visiting hours - Top of Africa
Monday to Sunday : 07h30 to 19h00 (7.30am - 7.00pm)
The red hop on hop off City Sightseeing Joburg bus crosses the Mandela Bridge between Newtown and Braamfontein
Stop 5 : JAMES HALL TRANSPORT MUSEUM
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops outside the museum, situated in
Pioneer Park, Rosettenville Road, La Rochelle
NB! : Closed on the third weekend of every month!!
Established in 1964 by the Late Jimmie Hall in conjunction with the City of Johannesburg, the James Hall Museum of Transport has the most wide-ranging collection of land transport in South Africa.
The displays and exhibits in the several exhibition halls include :
Animal-drawn vehicles : 1870 - 1910
Bicycles and motorcycles : 1786 - 1960
Buses and Coaches
Fire engines and equipment : 1877 - 1960
Motor cars : 1900 - 1980
Trams and trolley buses : 1896 - 1986
Admission - James Hall Transport Museum
Visiting hours - James Hall Transport Museum
Tuesday to Friday: 09h00 - 17h00 (9.00am - 5.00pm)
Saturday and Sunday : 09h00 - 12h00 and 13h00 - 17h00 (9.00am - 12.00noon and 1.00pm - 5.00pm) Closed between 12noon and 1.00pm
Closed on the third weekend of every month!!
The red hop on hop off City Sightseeing Joburg Bus is an
ideal way to see the architecture of the city
Stop 6 : GOLD REEF CITY
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops outside the Gold Reef City Casino,
corner Northern Parkway & Data Crescent, Ormonde
With safe parking, passengers can also start their City Sightseeing Joburg bus tour at Gold Reef City.
Due to collecting passengers at the car park, the City Sightseeing Joburg bus stops at the entrance to the casino for 10 minutes or so.
Get off here for Gold Reef City, and walk over the bridge to the Theme Park and Jozi's Story of Gold.
Gold Reef City
, which was conceived to conserve Johannesburg's disappearing early history as well as to entertain and educate, is an open-air-museum - as well as a theme park, that is built around the former Crown Mines no. 14 shaft (no. 13, but skipped due to superstitions!).
The fairly small Theme Park
offers a number of rides, from tame to terrifying!
Not all the rides are available all the time either, so check before you go.
More in touch with the history of Johannesburg, is Jozi's Story of Gold
A number of the old mine buildings still stand, and wandering through the replica mining village, gives you a touristy, squeaky clean, fairly fake feel of what Jo'burg could have been like, shortly after the discovery of gold, in 1886.
The highlight of this trip is a visit down the no. 14 shaft
, which is the only operational shaft out of hundreds that originally spanned the gold bearing reef south of Johannesburg.
Again, everything is too clean and too neat, but it is a genuine gold mine!
Its not a cheap jaunt to go underground, as you unfortunately have to pay the entrance fee to the theme park and then again for the underground mine tour - but you do get to wear a helmet and a miners lamp with its heavy battery pack!
Back on the surface, you can watch molten gold being poured
into a 12.5kg gold bar.
Admission - Gold Reef City
IN season (Weekends, SA Public Holidays and Gauteng School Holidays) :
Adults from R160 for the Theme Park PLUS R85 for the Gold Mine trip.
OUT of season (Weekdays - excluding SA Public Holidays and Gauteng School Holidays) :
Adults from R120 for the Theme Park PLUS R85 for the Gold Mine trip.
Visiting hours - Gold Reef City
IN season : Moday to Sunday 09h30 - 17h00.
OUT of Season : Wednesday to Sunday 09h30 - 17h00.
Closed on 25th December.
Started on 7th May 2013, this whirlwind tour to Soweto, in a local minibus taxi, is now offered from Stop 6 at Gold Reef City!
The township, which played so prominent a role in the fight against Apartheid, deserves far more than a fleeting glimpse.
BUT . . . if time is a problem, this is a great opportunity to get a quick look at where such historic happenings took place!
The tour includes an English speaking guide.
Three tours a day, leaving from, and returning to, Stop 6 at Gold Reef City!
10h05 - Return to Stop 6 : 12h00
12h05 - Return to Stop 6 : 14h00
14h05 - Return to Stop 6 : 16h00
The tour drives by Soccer City,
- stops at Diepkloof (at entrance to Soweto),
- stops at Baragwanath Taxi Rank and Hospital,
- drives by Orlando Stadium
- stops at the Hector Pietersen Memorial,
- stops at Vilakazi Street, with its Mandela and Tutu homes,
- stops at Kliptown.
CITY SIGHTSEEING JOBURG RED BUS SOWETO COMBO (INCLUDES JOBURG TOUR) PRICES :
1 day valid ticket
Offline - R400.00
Online Adult : R370.00 (see website link at the bottom of this page)
Kids (5-15 years) : R200.00
Kids (under 5) : FREE! (max. 2 kids per adult)
2 consecutive-days valid ticket
Offline - R520.00
Online Adult : R470.00 (see website link at the bottom of this page)
Kids (5-15 years) : R280.00
Kids (under 5) : FREE! (max. 2 kids per adult)
(This EXcludes any entrance fees!)
Click here to go back up to info box.
Stop 7 : APARTHEID MUSEUM
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops outside the entrance to the muesum,
Corner of Northern Parkway & Gold Reef Road, Ormonde
Stop 8 : MINING DISTRICT WALK
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops in Fox Street
(between Ntemi Piliso and Ferreira Streets, Johannesburg CBD)
An interesting stroll, but if you're not familiar with the area, it can be confusing in trying to find your way around!
When this corporate mining district area, which is home to some of the worlds biggest mining companies, was affected with the urban decay that inflicted Johannesburg in the 1990's, they, in conjunction with the Central Johannesburg Partnership - which is an inner city renewal initiative, and other businesses in the area, set about cleaning up the streets and reclaiming the area.
The result is that Main Street, which is the hub of the area, is a safe, tree lined pedestrian walkway stretching over 6 blocks from Ntemi Piliso Street (Magistrates Court) to Rissik Street (Gandhi Square).
The Impala Stampede sculpture, has been relocated here after being vandalised at its original site at Oppenheimer Park in the CBD.
The statue now stands opposite the Anglo American Head office in Main Street, where it was unveiled by Harry Oppenheimer's widow, Mrs Bridget Oppenheimer, on the 21st May 2002.
The 58 ton mining headgear, which was donated by Anglo Platinum, was dismantled at their Waterval West vertical shaft in Rustenburg, transported to a repair facility in Rustenburg where it was refurbished, and subsequently reassembled in Main Street.
Hollard Street, which from 1903 until 1978, housed the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, has a number of interesting artworks.
These include the large circular water feature outside no. 6 - that has a mosaic bottom that depicts the layout of the mining reef - but is sometimes not visible due to murky, dirty water!
The Bull and Bear sculpture by Ernst Ullman - from the days of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the almost lost mosaics by Marco Cainfanelli - inlaid into the paving.
The 10-stamp Battery Mill which has been erected outside no. 5 Hollard Street, opposite the Chamber of Mines, was manufactured in England, and brought to the Robinson Mine in Langlaagte in 1886 - shortly after gold was discovered, to crush the mine's gold bearing rock.
Mapungubwe Hill, a dry rocky outcrop now in the Mapungubwe National Park on the Limpopo River, bordering both Botswana and Zimbabwe, was the site where the beautiful gold-foil rhino, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, was unearthed in 1933, and now housed in the Mapungubwe Museum at the University of Pretoria.
It was believed to have been produced by an indigenous people who had established a highly developed trading and mining culture by the 13th century - more than 400 years before the earliest Europeans settlers.
To commemorate what is regarded as South Africas first city of gold, a metre long fiberglass replica of the Golden Rhinoceros stands atop a plinth further down Main Street.
Away from the Main Street Mall (going west), across Ntemi Piliso Street (a pioneering jazz musician) on the corner of Fox and Gerard Sekoto Streets, is Chancellor House - the building in which Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo ran the first black legal firm in Johannesburg - Mandela and Tambo Attorneys.
They occupied the building, across the road from the Johannesburg Magistrates Court, for eight years between 1952 and 1960.
After being saved from total decay, it is now a museum, with interesting snippets on display in the windows.
Outside Chancellor House, and in front of the Magistrates Court, is the 6m high painted steel "Shadow Boxer" statue of Nelson Mandela that was inspired by a photo called "Treason Trial. Enf of Round One", taken by Bob Gosani in 1957, of Mandela sparring with Jerry Moloi on a Johannesburg rooftop.
The statue is titled 'A hommage to justice, freedom and equality hard won'.
At night, the way the statue is lit, casts a shadow of Mandela's figure onto the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court building.
'A hommage to justice, freedom and equality hard won'
A steel statue of Nelson Mandela outside Chancellor House in inner city Johannesburg
Stop 9 : NEWTOWN PRECINCT
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops in Miriam Makeba Street
(between President and Jeppe Streets, Johannesburg CBD)
Seed and grain merchants, wholesale businesses and the fresh produce trade dominated the suburb of Newtown, which housed a number of buildings belonging to the citys municipal services.
These buildings included a fresh produce market housed in a fabricated steel building that was manufactured in Britain and assembled on site - which at the time was the largest building in the country, and a power station with its own turbine hall and electric workshop and a single sex compound for black workers and married quarters for white municipal artisans.
Very little changed in Newtown until the 1970's when both the market and the power station, which had become too small for the burgeoning citys population, closed.
Fortunately most of these old industrial buildings remained, and were refurbished to form the backbone of Johannesburgs art and culture precinct.
The area is today dominated by the vast, open paved Mary Fitzgerald Square
, named after Johannesburg's first woman town councilor, activist and union leader, that is often used for political gatherings, festivals and concerts.
, on the Square's Northen flank, which is housed in the original main fresh produce hall, houses a number of collections that showcase the diverse cultures of Johannesburg - both past and present.
The Geology Museum
and the Bensusan Museum of Photography
are two museums housed under the same roof.
The Market Theatre
opened its doors in 1976 as the first non-racial theatre in Johannesburg, in what was originally the Indian Fruit Market, and became well known for its anti-apartheid protest theatre.
was a jazz club housed in a replica of a nearby 1913 Edwardian public toilet block, that was built in 1980, but closed in 2005 due to severe structural problems.
The building has since been renovated, but is today only used as a small events room.
An outstanding sculpture of Kippie Morolong Moeketsi
, the jazz great after whom the club was named, was unveiled in 2009.
Behind Kippie's, a modern mixed-used development
, with a mix of old faades and new structures, comprising a shopping centre, offices, hotel, gym and four levels of basement parking is being built where the potato sheds once stood.
The heritage-inspired design will conserve and refurbish historical buildings, including the original station master's residence and the poultry shed.
The walking tour through the SAB World of Beer
, shows how beer has been brewed through the centuries as well as how SABMiller (South African Breweries Miller), the worlds second largest brewer, brew their beer today.
Included in the tour price are two free beers!
Across the road from the SAB World of Beer, is the Sci Bono
science museum for children from 8 to 80!
Follow this link
for the whyjoburg.com page on the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre.
The Workers Museum
tells the story of migrant labour in Johannesburg, and gives a very graphic insight into the appalling conditions in which they were housed.
Follow this link
for the whyjoburg.com page on the Workers Museum.
The Turbine Hall
is a superb example of conserving an historical building.
It was the turbine hall for the largest, and last, of the three steam driven power stations built in Newtown to supply electricity to Johannesburg, and has today been incorporated into the head-office of Anglo Gold Ashanti.
is also a prominent feature of Newtown, with hundreds of street-side bollards, each topped with an individually carved wooden face, that represent the diverse nature of the migrants from Africa - and elsewhere, who made Newtown their home.
An interactive, life sized brass statue of a bare footed Brenda Fassie
who was loved as the Queen of African pop, stands outside the Bassline live music venue. The sculptor was Angus Taylor.
A short way away, the delightful cement statue of Walter and Albertina Sisulu
graces the intersection of Diagonal, Ntemi Piliso and Market streets, overlooking the building where he once had his estate agent office. The artist Marina Walsh made the statue with the intention that children sit on their laps, as the couple were regarded as parents to the nation.
A number of accompanying story boards explain more about their lives.
Take a stroll down Diagonal Street
with its eclectic mix of small African shops across the road from the glass encased, diamond shaped skyscraper, that was the Johannesburg stock Exchange for 22 years
Best known of these shops, and a must to visit, is the Museum of Man and Science
at no. 14, which sells a surprising mix of muthis (traditional African medicine) for traditional African healing.
The bus stop and the red City Sightseeing Joburg bus hop on hop off tour bus
Stop 10 : ORIGINS CENTRE
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops at the corner
of Yale Road and Enoch Sontonga Avenue, Wits University, Braamfontein
A highly recommended visit for anyone interested in both cultural and human evolution.
The Origins Centre is a world class museum that looks at man's origin in Africa, follows the journey of his migration from Africa to other parts of the planet, and tracks his ensuing evolutionary path along the way.
Cutting-edge technology, with a vast collection of rock art from the Wits Art Research Institute, is used to illustrate man's development of art, imagery and tools.
The newly-opened Wits Art Museum (WAM), with its display of traditional art, as well as the Planetarium, are both located on the Wits University campus
Stop 11 : BRAAMFONTEIN
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops in Melle Streeet
between De Korte and Juta Streets, Braamfontein
Braamfontein suffered from urban decay shortly after the new millennium, but large Corporates in the area came forward in 2004 with plans to manage the area.
It also benefited from the Provincial Government's substantial Blue IQ investments in the neighbouring suburbs of Constitutional Hill and Newtown.
Braamfontein had always been a student hangout with Wits University in its midst, and with its resurgence, is once again a young, hip and trendy suburb!
Lackluster office buildings have been renovated and converted into upmarket student accommodation, pubs, coffee shops and restaurants abound, and the Neighbourgood Market, open every Saturday, buzzes between 9.00am and 3.00pm.
Live music combined with drinks and food, such as Turkish Gozleme flatbread, German Flammkuchen pizza, Spanish paella and French pates, make sure its the place to be.
Just remember that the Jo'burg sun can be brutal!
Stop 12 : CONSTITUTIONAL HILL
City Sightseeing Joburg Red Bus stops stops outside the Constitutional Court
in Constitutional Square (between Queen's Road and Joubert Avenue)
Constitutional Hill is a ridge overlooking the Johannesburg CBD that has a number of buildings - every one of them of historical interest!
A number of different tours are available, starting on the hour, every hour between 09h00 and 16h00 (Monday to Friday) and 10h00 and 16h00 (Saturday and Sunday)
The first building on the ridge was a prison with police barracks, built in 1892.
A Fort, which was commissioned in 1896, to fortify Johannesburg against a possible British invasion, was built around part of the existing jail.
Under the apartheid Government, this was a whites-only male jail, although Nelson Mandela was an inmate – the only ever black, housed in the hospital section.
Number Four Gaol was built in 1902 to house black male prisoners.
It housed hardened criminals as well as political activists.
Students of the 1976 Soweto uprising as well as OR Tambo, Mahatma Gandhi and Robert Subukwe, were amongst those imprisoned here.
The Women's Gaol, a beautiful Victorian brick building, was built in 1910.
It housed both black and white female prisoners – in separate sections.
Although criminals were held here, many of the inmates were held for minor political offences.
Anti-apartheid activists Albertina Sisulu and Winnie Mandela, were both incarcerated here.
The Awaiting Trial Block was built in 1928, and demolished to make way for the Constitutional Court and for the Constitution Square.
Two stairwells remain as beacons of hope, and a third has been incorporated into the Court building.
Bricks from the demolished section were used in the construction of the Court, as well as for the Great African Steps that lead up the side of the main building.
The Constitutional Court, which is the highest court in the land - is housed in a magnificent building with two nine metre high carved doors, an art gallery and a themed foyer.
The Court itself, which is always open to the public, has a number of symbolic features.
Page uploaded : 6th March 2013
Page updated : 25th July 2014