Joburg has something for everyone during the holidays. Image: Adobe Stock

Fun things to do in Johannesburg this festive season

With COVID-19 protocols in place, it is possible to enjoy a wide variety of activities in the City of Gold.


Joburg has something for everyone during the holidays. Image: Adobe Stock

Johannesburg offers numerous cultural, leisure, sports and outdoor activities without having to travel too far. Shopping, watching movies, gym, playing golf, dining out, spa treatments and outdoor activities are all possible without breaking the bank or having to leave the city.

Joburg may not have beaches, but even in the lockdown there is plenty to do. If you’re stuck there for the festive season and are wondering how to fill your days, here is our top pick.


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Kensington is a good place to hunt for authentic Portuguese food. Image: Adobe Stock

The diversity of Joburg’s residents is reflected in its large variety of restaurants and eateries. There is a wide range of cuisine and exciting menus on offer at the city’s many award-winning restaurants.

Almost every culture is represented in Johannesburg’s restaurant scene.  Visit Cyrildene for a variety of Chinese restaurants and an authentic Far Eastern atmosphere. The nearby suburb of Kensington is home to several establishments serving excellent traditional Portuguese fare.

Head to the Fordsburg area for authentic Asian and Middle Eastern dishes, including Halaal and vegetarian options.  The area has a vibrant atmosphere at night when many of the restaurants and shops are at their busiest.

Another great option is eclectic Melville, which has a unique ambiance few neighbourhoods can match. Seventh Street in Melville has restaurants and eateries that serve a variety of different dining options.

Parkhurst is a trendy suburb which is not only home to some of the best restaurants in South Africa, but to some of the best chefs in the business. Restaurants in Parkhurst’s Fourth Avenue offer everything from great breakfasts and brunches to delightful dinners.


Melville and Newlands have quaint antique shops to browse through. Image: Adobe Stock

From high-end malls to the familiar neighbourhood shopping centres, antique shops and various markets, Joburg will satisfy the most ardent of shoppers.  The Mall of Africa and Sandton City are two premier malls that offer a range of the best local and international brands.

For something different, head to the Oriental Plaza or China City Mall for bargain finds and an exotic shopping experience. Shoppers looking for antique or pre-loved goods should head to the suburbs of Melville and Newlands to browse the plethora of antique shops in these neighbourhoods.  


The city boasts many historic buildings, heritage homes and neighbourhoods. Joburg’s inner city can safely be explored on guided tours offered by Microadventure Tours, which offer both walking and cycling tours of inner-city treasures.

Microadventure Tours takes visitors to old parts of the city that have received a new lease on life including Constitutional Hill, Nelson Mandela Bridge, Newtown, Chancellor House, the Mining District in Marshalltown, Gandhi Square and Maboneng.

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For those who have not been to a game reserve in a while, or who are longing for a wildlife experience, there is something for you just a stone’s throw from the city.

The Lion and Safari Park en route to Hartebeespoort makes for a great outing. Game drives, guided bush walks and animal interactions are offered.  Alternatively, visitors can view giraffe and antelope species from the viewing deck. You can also enjoy a bite at Wetlands Restaurant while taking in spectacular views of the wetland.

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Another good option is the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in the Cradle of Humankind. This is a privately owned game reserve covering about1,200ha with more than 650 heads of game from more than 25 species of antelope, big game, predators and birds. Day visitors can explore the reserve in their own vehicles. Many visitors choose to end the outing with a meal at the Neck and Deck Restaurant.

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Cradle Moon Game Reserve in Muldersdrift offers a superb bush experience just outside of the city. Visitors can enjoy close encounters with the wildlife that freely roam through the reserve.

Other activities include hiking, cycling, openwater dam swimming, flyfishing, game drives and boat cruises. Spectacular views are guaranteed from the dam wall at sunset.

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The city offers a broad range of outdoor activities that are ideal for those glorious summer days. Johannesburg has a total of 17 nature reserves. Strolling, jogging or cycling in one of Joburg’s botanical gardens or parks are other good ways to enjoy the outdoors.

Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia and Roodepoort Botanical Gardens are great spots to take in some fresh air, bask in the sun or to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Delta Park is another local favourite for long walks or rides.

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Hikers need not travel far to do some hiking. It is possible to hike right here in the confines of the city.

The Melville Koppies Nature Reserve is a conserved natural area located on a ridge in the leafy suburbs of Melville and Emmarentia. Melville Koppies boasts spectacular views and is home to a variety of indigenous fauna and flora.

The Wilds Nature Reserve is another favourite for hikers in the city. This 16ha reserve offers indigenous vegetation, natural ponds, tranquil seating areas, water fountains and magnificent views of the nearby city skyscrapers.

Kloofendal Nature Reserve is a 128ha fenced reserve where visitors can walk along winding footpaths and immerse themselves in nature. There are a number of walks of various distances and it is possible to see the remains of nearby early gold-mining activities.


Johannesburg offers a broad range of outdoor activities ideal for glorious summer days.

Strolling, jogging or cycling in one of the city’s botanical gardens or parks is an ideal way to get active outdoors. Rowing is another popular activity available in the city — head to Emmarentia dam for sailing, rowing and open water swimming.   

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If outdoor exercise is not your thing, the city’s gyms and sporting facilities are also open again, subject to capacity limits on numbers.