Welcome Johannesburg

Our Welcome Johannesburg Walking Tour (Main Street) is perfectly positioned as a quick and easy 2-hour walk, providing a thorough introduction to Johannesburg. Only two hours and slightly more than 1km, it will give you all the background insight to make the most of your visit to this astonishing city (and to South Africa as a country).

The tour focuses on the historical background from ancient and pre-colonial times, up till the formation of South Africa as a country in 1910. It explains how Johannesburg came into being without delving into recent history. It answers the fundamental questions of where you are and leaves you inspired about how complex and diverse South Africa is as a country.

This tour ambles along Main Street between Gandhi Square and the Magistrate’s Court in Marshalltown. It is a beautiful, semi-pedestrianized space that is also an outdoor city museum. A mixture of contemporary urban spaces, landmark architecture and historic displays, makes for the most vivid discovery of the Johannesburg story.

We unpack the story from ancient and pre-colonial times, through to the discovery of gold in 1886, the resultant gold rush and the birth of the City of Migrants. It positions Johannesburg within the context of the Scramble for Africa and the eventual formation of the country, South Africa.

It is a comprehensive storytelling experience, starting out with the 1886 gold rush, before taking the guests back hundreds of years to precolonial times, from the Mapungubwe Kingdom to the formation of the Zulu Nation, the migrations of Mzilikaze and the Boers (immigrants of mostly Dutch descent), to the establishment of the so-called Boer republics.

Returning to gold, we explore British Expansionism and the conflict for control of the gold that resulted in the devastating Anglo-Boer War (South African War). We learn how the original Victorian shanty town grew into the splenderous (but exploitative) British Empire City. And how these events resulted in the formation of the Union of South Africa as a country in 1910.

We start our exploration at Gandhi Square and walk along Main Street, ending at the Leaping Impala sculpture in front of the erstwhile Anglo-American offices, adjacent to the Magistrates Court. Along the way we stop at a replica of the Mapungubwe Rhino, view the Rand Club from outside and explore historic Hollard Street – once home to one of Joburg’s stock exchanges, the Cullinan Building and the modernist Hanging Tower. We also delve into mining history at the Mining Headgear and marvel at the Art Deco Wonder that is 44 Main Street.

Available as an open tour every day at 2pm, subject to availability. Please check with us via email or WhatsApp as we may have accepted another private tour booking instead.

The per person rate for open tours is R450 (knowing that others may then join the tour).

Available as a private tour at all other times, at a minimum of R2000 for up to 4 guests, or R500 per person if you are more than 4 guests.

Any food, drinks, or shopping along the way for guests’ own account.

To book your tour, send an email to gerald@localplaces.co.za or a WhatsApp to + 27 82 894 5216.

Please do not phone as we are mostly busy hosting guests.
Send a message and we will contact you as soon as is possible.

We will respond to your booking request and provide an online payment link for you to pay by bank card to secure the booking.

Guests participate in all LocalPlaces – JoburgPlaces tours at their own risk. Neither JoburgPlaces, nor its guides, accept any responsibility whatsoever for any injury, accident or death that may occur while participating in a JoburgPlaces tour, whether in a public or a private space.

A tour booking is only secured upon payment.

Provisional bookings will automatically be cancelled if not paid within 48 hours from making a booking.

Bookings cannot be cancelled once paid for any reason whatsoever and no refunds will be offered for cancelled bookings.

Bookings can be postponed to another date if postponed more than 30 days in advance of the booked date. However, bookings cannot be postponed for any reason whatsoever within 30 days of the tour date, as we would lose the opportunity to take another booking for that slot.

We will stipulate the starting point for your tour in your booking confirmation letter. This tour starts at the Gandhi Sculpture on Gandhi Sqaure.

For private tour bookings, it is possible to arrange pick up and drop off from your hotel or accommodation, possibly for an additional fee, depending on location.

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