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Top 10 Day Trips from Johannesburg for a Quick Break

Top 10 Day Trips from Johannesburg for a Quick Break

The city of Johannesburg is an amazing place to be in South Africa thanks to its fast-paced urban lifestyle and the different tourist spots within the area. However, did you know that this city is also strategically located for day trips around the vicinity?

From animal reserves to unique restaurants, Johannesburg can be your base of operations if you decide to tour the nearby areas without having to stay in the location overnight. Here’s our list of the best day trips from the city for you to choose from! 

1. Adventures with Elephants, Bela Bela

Address: D1000 Mabula District, 0480, South Africa 

Distance from JO: 2 hours


Contact Number: +27147347730

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

South Africa has a ton of wild game for you to see and interact with, and one of the most majestic ones you can ever meet is the gentle giant—the elephant! 

Taking a day trip to Adventures with Elephants isn’t just a chance to interact with them but also to learn.

Here, you can learn more about these beautiful creatures, give them baths, and walk with them as they move from one spot to the next (within the reserve). Aside from these, you can also get to know more about elephant conservation.

Pro Tip:
Aside from their educational experiences, elephant spas, nature walks, and photo shoots, you can also ask about their tailor-made activities. You can conduct team-building activities, bush walks, and celebrate special events.

2. Pilanesberg Game Reserve, North West

Address: Bojanala, North West, South Africa

Distance from JO: 2 hours


Contact Number: +27 14 555 1600

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Just 2 hours away from Johannesburg, Pilanesberg Game Reserve promises something truly special that’s worth visiting. At this reserve, you can do a one-day safari where you can go to two different game drives and enjoy a special lunch onsite.

You can expect to see different animals considering that there are around 7,000 different animal species that call this place home. Plus, you can enjoy bird-watching thanks to the area having around 360 bird species!

Pro Tip:
You can make your day trip here special by booking a hot air balloon safari at this game reserve. With this package (worth ZAR 6,000 per person), you can take an hour-long flight above the reserve to spot some animals from above!

3. Cullinan, Gauteng

From drogba_za

Address: Cullinan 1000 South Africa

Distance from JO: 1 hour and 18 minutes

If you’re the outdoorsy type or a history buff, then Cullinan is one of the most exciting day trips you can make from Johannesburg (plus it’s just around an hour away!). This town in Gauteng is known as the location where the world’s biggest diamond was found.

Referred to as the Cullinan Diamond, this valuable stone is valued at an impressive 317 carats. Aside from this interesting historical tidbit, you can also enjoy different outdoor attractions at Cullinan such as mine tours, museum visits, and restaurant hopping. 

Pro Tip:
You can do some very unique activities when in Cullinan like bongo drumming and quad trails. 

The drumming session will let you experience the indigenous beats of Africa while the quad trails will let you experience quad biking in the great outdoors with family or friends!

4. Sterkfontein Caves, Cradle of Humankind

From benjancewicz

Address: Kromdraai Rd, Johannesburg, South Africa


Contact Number: +27 14 577 9000

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Sterkfontein Caves is a great place for a day visit from the city if you want something exciting. You can do a tour of these caves and have a guide lead you through the different parts of this cave system, and some of these can be quite scary!

You will find the rock formations such as stalactites and stalagmites impressive, but there are also portions here where you need to crawl and slide—claustrophobic if you ask us. No worries, though, as this is just part of the (very physical) experience

Pro Tip:
Aside from some crawling and sliding within the Sterkfontein Caves, you will also be doing a lot of stone stair climbing, so it’s best to bring your own water to stay hydrated. You can also visit the nearby restaurants for a drink and a meal.

5. Hartbeespoort Dam, North West

Address: Scott St, Hartbeespoort, 0216, South Africa

Distance from JO: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Contact Number: + 27(0)21 418 4920

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, Open 24 hours

Hartbeespoort Dam is a fantastic location for a day trip from the city if you want something serene. The view here is spectacular with the dam’s calm waters on the horizon and the mountains as its background—a perfect spot to relax and take selfies!

Aside from the awesome scenery, you can also check out other activities in the immediate area. These include going on hikes on the trails, visiting a bird sanctuary, and trying out different water activities such as cruises and speed boating.

Pro Tip:
You can also take the view of the dam and its surrounding area from above with the Harties Cableway Tour. It will cost you around ZAR 2,200 per adult to enjoy a 5-hour cable tour, which we think is great value for the experience!

6. Magalies Meander, Magaliesburg

From joynery_restaurant_magalies

Address: Vaalbank Meander, R24 Portion 8, Rustenburg Rd, Magaliesburg, 1739, South Africa

Distance from JO: 1 hour and 17 minutes


Contact Number: +27617184252

Operating Hours:

  • Depends on the establishment

Magalies Meander, located in Magaliesburg, is just around an hour away from the city and is one of the best one-stop day trips from Johannesburg. They have a ton of restaurants, accommodation options, and activities for you to indulge in.

Some of their dining options include De Hoek (fine dining), Valley Lodge (buffet), and Die ou Pastorie (bistro). In terms of accommodation, you can choose to go to their country houses, lodges, or hotels after a picnic or after completing a hiking trail!

Pro Tip:
Aside from restaurants, hotels, and activities, you can also pamper yourself with some of their spa packages. You can check out the treatments being offered at the African Hills Lodge and Spa and the Valley Lodge Spa.

7. Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park, Krugersdorp

Address: R540 Kromdraai Rd, Kromdraai, Krugersdorp, 1739, South Africa 

Distance from JO: 1 hour


Contact Number: +27 60 886 2407

Operating Hours:

  • Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Closed from Monday to Friday

Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park is a great spot for a day trip from Johannesburg if you’re into the arts. The park offers a tranquil environment surrounded by trees and lush greenery.

Once inside the park, you can move from one sculpture to the next and appreciate each, such as the sculpture of a huge sitting man, two animals interacting, and a lady in a dress. These statues are life-sized and ideal for selfies!

Pro Tip:
The restaurant (And Then There Was Fire) inside this park is usually fully booked, so we recommend that you book in advance to secure a slot. You can visit their webpage and click on the lower right “book now” button.

8. Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, Krugersdorp

Address: 520 Kromdraai Road, Kromdraai, Krugersdorp, 1739, South Africa

Distance from JO: 1 hour


Contact Number: +27119570349

Operating Hours:

  • Saturday to Monday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday to Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve is one of the best day trips you can do with your family especially if you’re bringing some young kids along. 

Not only will you get great views of the safari and surrounding points of interest (e.g. Wonder Caves), but you will also learn more about animal conservation!

In terms of game viewing, you can go for the guided game drives, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also choose the self-drive option. There is also a braai and picnic area for you to relax and have a meal while the kids explore the nearby playground.

Pro Tip:
If you’re planning to go on a self-drive game tour of Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, we recommend that you take a 4-wheel drive vehicle. According to management, some roads can only be accessed using this kind of transport.

9. Lesedi Cultural Village, Cradle of Humankind

Address: R512, Lanseria, 1739, South Africa

Distance from JO: 1 hour and 9 minutes


Contact Number: +27715071447

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, Open 24 hours, Check-in at 3:00 PM and check-out at 10:00 AM

Just an hour away from Johannesburg, Lesedi Cultural Village is one of the most ideal spots to immerse yourself more in the culture of South Africa. While the city can be a true urban jungle, the spirit of the nation’s tribal history is alive and strong in this village!

Some of the best experiences you can try out here include touring the village, watching (or even joining) a tribal dance show (ingoma), or going shopping at the village’s curio shops. You can recharge at the onsite restaurant (Nyama Choma) after your tour!

Pro Tip:
If you suddenly decide to turn your day trip into an overnight stay, then you can stay at one of the different indigenous room types being offered at the village. These include suites, double rooms, and triple rooms. 

10. Soweto, Gauteng

From nicole_tara_jack

Address: Soweto, Gauteng

Distance from JO: 37 minutes

Taking a walk down history lane and shopping until you drop is what draws tons of tourists to the Soweto area. Less than an hour away from Johannesburg, this place is full of historical sites to visit along with a ton of restaurants and malls to check out!

First, you can check out the home of Nelson Mandela before heading out to Kliptown and Hector Pieterson Memorial Site. Once you’ve had your fill of these impressive historical spots, you can check out their popular malls such as Jabulani and Maponya. 

Pro Tip:
After checking out Hector Pieterson Memorial Site, you can also drop by Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s house and the Sisulu Residence, as these historical sites are located in the same neighbourhood. 
Talk about hitting 3 birds with one stone!

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