Joburg is a busy city. There’s so much going all the time, and more than enough events, restaurants and activities to keep you busy, week in and week out. But sometimes you need to get out and have a breather, and just take a break from the urban intensity.

Day tripping in Gauteng.png

Here are some weekend day trip ideas for when you feel like you need to get out and experience something a little bit different:

1. Muldersdrift

It’s crazy to think about, but some of our earliest human ancestors lived in and around Joburg, which is why it is known as the Cradle of Humankind.

The main attractions here are the Maropeng Visitors Centre and Sterkfontein Caves, all recently built or upgraded to offer an insightful look into our ancient past.

Besides that there is a lot to do in the Muldersdrift area, from eating at a variety of restaurants to just enjoying being outside.

For more information here are some ideas:   

2. Magaliesberg

The Magaliesberg is named after a chief who ruled over the area in the past, Mogale. Today it’s known for its guesthouses, hiking trails and restaurants, which you can read more about on the Magalies Meander website, which promotes tourist attractions in the area.

Hiking in the area is a particularly good way to let off some city stream, but note that you will need to pay an entrance fee and go early, as some of the best places are on private land and will often only let in a certain number of people per day.

The easiest way to take advantage of hikes in the area is the join the Mountain Club. Other places like Mountain Sanctuary are open to the public.

If you’re looking for less exertion, you can also explore the area on an old-fashioned steam train.

3. Soweto

Soweto is one of South Africa’s largest and most established townships, and is a popular tourist attraction. It’s easy to get there from the city on the highway, but you can also go there on an organised tour or even on a City Sightseeing Tour.

Some places to visit and things to do:  

4. Suikerbosrand

 There are a number of nature reserves in Gauteng, mostly in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria, but also further afield. One of the most popular, for hiking, biking and general nature appreciation is Suikerbosrand, south of Joburg.

On your way back you can also stop for tea at Her Majestea’s Salon, or even enjoy a meal there.

5. Hartebeespoort Dam

“Harties”, as it’s known to locals, is a historical dam not far from Joburg, and besides water activities there is also a lot to do in the area.

The newly built Harties Cable Way is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the area, and if you’re looking to engage with nature you can walk “trunk in hand” with an elephant at the Elephant Sanctuary.

The Silver Orange Bistro and Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient Hotel are also two dining attractions in the area.

6. Pretoria

A 30-45 minute drive from Johannesburg, or a 40 minute trip on the Gautrain (depending on which station you get on at), the capital city is easy to get to and explore on a day trip from Joburg.

There are a lot of museums and historical attractions in the city centre, but some of the more famous tourist attractions are Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument.

The Tswaing Crater near Soshanguve is also another natural attraction to explore just outside of

Some other ideas of things to do in Pretoria:

Market at the Sheds at 012 Central

Park Acoustics

7. Cullinan

Further north past Pretoria is Cullinan, a diamond mining town that has now grown to become a popular weekend getaway for its strip of restaurants which include the recommended As Greek as it Gets.

Here you can also visit Gauteng's version of the Big Hole, or take part in a range of other activities on offer.

Close by you can also visit Dinokeng, the closest you’ll get to the Big 5 in Gauteng, with a number of self-driving routes and lodges that can take you on a game drive in the area.

For more ideas on things to do in and around Gauteng, these websites and blogs can give you some ideas:

2 summers