SA museums: Gauteng
The Absa Museum aims to preserve the 110-year history of the Amalgamated Banks of SA group. It houses a unique and valuable coin and banknote collection. It also covers numismatics, financial history and economic literacy. The museum is the only one of its kind in South Africa.
Address: 187 Fox St, Johannesburg
Tel: (011) 350-4167 (Dr Piet Snyman or Elizabeth Masangane)
The Adler Museum of Medicine details both the
history of medicine in general and its application in South Africa. Among its attractions are a display showing the tools of the sangoma or traditional healer's trade, equipment that was used to make drugs in the early 1900s, and doctors' and dentists' surgeries - including a century-old dentist's drill.
Address: Wits University Medical School, 7 York Road, Parktown 2193
Tel & fax: (011) 717 2081
Mon-Fri: 9:00-16:00, weekends on request
The AECI Dynamite Factory Museum, housed in the 1895 residence of a mining official, records the history of explosives, with particular emphasis on their use in the mining industry.
Address: 2 Main Street, Modderfontein
Tel: (011) 606-3206
Mon & Fri: 10:00-14:00
After hours by arrangement
The Apartheid Museum sets out by means of blown-up photographs, artefacts, newspaper clippings, and film footage, to portray graphically the apartheid story. As visitors, carrying their entry card which identifies them as either "white" or "non-white", move through the rooms they are assailed by the sights and sounds of the apartheid era - the violence, the suffering, the anger. They follow the path of the country through decades of oppression to the birth of democracy.
Address: Corner Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Road, Ormonde
Tel: (011) 309-4700
Address: 4th level, Museum Africa, 121 Bree Street, Newtown
Tel: (011) 833-5624
Sat morning & Wed afternoon
The displays at the Bernberg Museum of Fashion explain why and how clothing has changed and how the fashions of the past influence those of today.
Address: Corner Duncombe Rd and Jan Smuts Ave, Forest Town
Tel: (011) 646-0416
Tues-Sat: 09:00-13:00; 13:30-17:00
The Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research is part of the School of Geosciences in the Faculty of Science of the University of the Witwatersrand. Its mission is to collect, conserve, study and interpret the rich fossil heritage of South and southern Africa, and it displays some of the most important fossils of prehistoric reptiles, dinosaurs and mammals discovered in the region. Two of the highlights of the
exhibit are Fred and Fang, two life-sized dinosaurs reconstructed from fossils.
Address: Van Riet Lowe Building, East Campus, University of the Witwatersrand, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein
Tel: (011) 717-6680
Cell: 082 824-7409
The collection in the CE Moss Herbarium includes some 100 000 specimens, mostly from South Africa, but also from further afield.
Address: School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein
Tel: (011) 717-6467
Mon- Fri: 08:00 - 17:00
Constitution Hill, the site of Johannesburg's notorious Old Fort prison complex, has now become a major tourist attraction. Prime attractions include the Old Fort; Number Four, the infamous black men's prison; and the
adjacent Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country. Here visitors can attend hearings and view an impressive art collection. Tours are taken every half an hour.
Website: www.constitutionhill.org.za or www.constitutionalcourt.org.za
Address: Corner Kotze and Hospital streets, Braamfontein
Tel: (011) 274 5300, 403 5191
Daily: 9:00 to 17:00. Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday
The Gold Reef City theme park is a recreation of turn-of-the-century Johannesburg, when prospectors poured into the area following the discovery of gold in the 1890s. With its Victorian houses and geological displays, it offers many fascinating insights into life in Johannesburg long before the technological age. Underground tours take the visitor beneath the surface, down Shaft No 14, to see original mining techniques as well as more modern methods.
Gold Reef City also has a fun fair, casino and hotel.
Address: Northern Parkway Road, Ormonde
Tel: (011) 248-6800
The Hector Peterson Museum in Soweto commemorates the 566 people who died in the student uprising that followed the events of June 16, 1976. It is named for Hector Peterson, a 12-year-old boy who was the first person shot dead by police on the day that changed South Africa, and is located near a memorial to his death.
Address: 8288 Maseko Street, Orlando West
Tel: (011) 536 0611
Mon-Sat: 10:00 to 17:00
Sun: 10:00 to 16:00
Address: Room 2, ground floor, William Cullen Library, East Campus, University of the Witwatersrand, 1 Jan Smuts Ave, Braamfontein
Tel: (011) 717 1940
Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: 8:00 - 17:00
Wed: 09:00 - 1700
The James Hall Transport Museum is the largest comprehensive land transport museum in
Southern Africa. Exhibits range from horse drawn and steam vehicles to motor powered engines. Among the exhibits is a collection of maritime museum models.
Address: Pioneers' Park, Rosettenville Rd, La Rochelle
Tel: (011) 435-9718
The Johannesburg Zoo, with its 2 070 animals from 365 species housed on 54 hectares of rolling parklands, is a must-see for any visitor to South Africa's biggest city. The zoo has recently undergone a major renovation, with stunning new enclosures designed in an organic African style.
Address: Corner Jan Smuts and Upper Park Drive, Saxonwold (main entrance in Upper Park Drive)
Tel: (011) 646-2000
Daily: 8:00 to 17:00
The Madiba Freedom Museum traces the political history of South Africa's beloved former President Nelson Mandela, also known as Madiba. Exhibits cover many aspects of the freedom struggle while photographs capture the mood and events of the times.
Address: Erikson Diamond Centre, Monument Rd, Kempton Park
Tel: (011) 970-1355/69
The Mandela Museum in Soweto is housed in what was once Nelson Mandela's home, which has been declared a National Monument.
Address: 8115 Ngakane Str, Orlando West, Soweto
Tel: (011) 936-7754
Daily: 9:30 to 17:00
Address: 121 Bree St, Newtown
Tel: (011) 833-5624/5/6/7
The Origins Centre at Wits University is the world's only museum dedicated to exploring and celebrating the ancient history of modern humankind. The first phase of the museum showcases the origins of humankind as well as an extensive collection of San rock art from the Wits Art Research Institute. There are breathtaking exhibits of rock art, accompanied by narratives, as well as an exhibit showing how genetic testing contributes to understanding our ancestry.
Address: The Wedge Complex, University of Witwatersrand, Corner Yale Road and Jorissen Street, Braamfontein
Tel: (011) 717 4700/4703/4704
Tues to Thur: 9:00 to 18:00
Fri: 9:00 to 20:00
Sat and Sun: 10:00 to 17:00
The South African National Museum of Military History is a military collection of international status comprising aircraft, uniforms, ordnance, medals, armoured fighting vehicles, military art, and so on. It offers adults a fascinating look at all forms of war vehicles and weapons, while captivating children with the visual spectacle of its displays, from planes to trains.
Address: 22 Erlswold Way, Saxonwold
Tel: (011) 646-5513
Beer is a drink that is loved worldwide and South African Breweries is one of the largest brewing groups in the world. The SAB World of Beer museum traces every aspect of the history of brewing - and as a
bonus the entrance fee includes two beers.
Address: 15 President St, Newtown
Tel: (011) 836-4900
The University of the Witwatersrand's Zoology Museum, the only natural history museum in the city of Johannesburg, contains the largest collection of embryological slides in the southern hemisphere - some 40 000 in all - while the total collection exceeds 60 000 specimens.
Address: First floor, Old Education Building, East Campus, University of the Witwatersrand, 1 Jan Smuts Ave, Braamfontein
Tel: (011) 717-6464
The Sterkfontein Caves, one of the world's richest sources of knowledge about the development of man, form part of South Africa's Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site. It was here that Dr Robert Broom found the almost perfect cranium of an adult, the specimen of Australopithecus africanus that became known as Mrs Ples. In the mid-1950s Dr C K Brain uncovered the first stone tools, and in 1998 the caves revealed the world's first complete hominid fossil skull and skeleton. The skull of Mrs Ples can be seen in the Robert Broom Museum at the site and the caves are a wonderland of magical stalactites and stalagmites. The visitors' centre at the caves has recently undergone a major renovation, and now includes a world-class restaurant.
Address: Isaac E Stegman Reserve, 9.5km north-west of Krugersdorp
Tel: (011) 956-6342
Tues-Sat: 8:30 - last tour begins at 16:00
Sun: 9:00 - last tour begins at 16:00
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Address: R400 (just off the R563 to Hekpoort)
Tel: (014) 577-9000
Daily: 09:00 to 17:00 Pretoria
Coin World at the South African Mint showcases South Africa's rich coin heritage. The oldest working mint press in the world - the "Oom Paul" - is still striking coins.
Address: Old Johannesburg Rd, Centurion
Tel: (012) 677-2460
The Correctional Services Museum is the only one of its kind in South Africa, portraying the development of the penal system and displays the hobbies of prisoners and illegal items manufactured by them.
Address: Prison Reserve, Central Prison, Potgieter Street
Tel: (012) 314 176
Built in 1884, the Kruger House Museum commemorates the life of Paul Kruger, former president of the Zuid Afrikaansche (Transvaal) Republiek. The interior has been faithfully recreated to look exactly as it did when Kruger lived in it more than a century ago.
Address: 60 Church Street , opposite Kruger Church, 1km west of Church Square
Phone: (012) 326-9172
Weekends and public holidays: 9:00-16:00
The Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of South Africa houses 10 collections and about 27,000 objects reflecting the cultural history of southern Africa, including Ndebele and Xhosa artefacts, pottery, and Stone Age and Iron Age objects.
Address: Room 4-160, Theo van Wijk Building, University of South Africa (Unisa), Muckleneuk Ridge
Tel: (012) 429-6297
The Mapungubwe Collection at the University of Pretoria features remarkable works from the largely forgotten kingdom of Mapungubwe that flourished near the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers between 1000 and 1300 AD.
Address: Old Arts Building, Main Campus, University of Pretoria, Lynnwood Road
Tel: (012) 420-3146
Address: 275 Jacob Maré St, opposite Burger's Park.
Tel: (012) 322-2805/0420
The National Cultural History Museum is a cultural museum dedicated to the preservation and communication of the culture and heritage of all South Africans. It aims to explore cultural diversity and commonalities, and to link the present with the past to offer a better understanding of both. It has access to a collection of about three million objects which are displayed in a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions. The museum works with institutions and community-based organisations to host film festivals, arts and crafts exhibitions, seminars, conferences, festivals and other cultural events.
Address: Visagie St, between Bosman and Schubart Sts, Pretoria
Tel: (012) 324-6082
Cell: 083 271-5759
The Pioneer Museum
comprises a house and historic farmyard built over 150 years ago. The house is a fascinating example of the architecture and building materials and methods of the time and the furniture reflects the movement of hawkers from the Cape to the interior, as do the pots, pans and porcelain
Address: Church Street East and Pretoria Rd, Silverton (Exit 3 on N4)
Tel: (012) 803-6086/7
The Pretoria Zoo, officially the National Zoological Gardens, was established in 1899 and is considered to be one of the 10 best zoos in the world, with a million visitors every years. The zoo has 97 mammal species, 161 bird species, 279 fish species, 106 reptile species and seven amphibian species - in total at least 4 340 animals. There is a walk-through aviary with indigenous birds from four
different habitats, a nursery for baby animals, a farmyard, restaurants and a cable car way for an elevated view of the zoo. It also houses the largest inland aquarium in Africa.
Address: Boom Street, City Centre
Tel: (012) 328 3265
Daily: 08:00 to 17:00
The South African Police Services Museum showcases the history of the South African Police Services and some fascinating famous cases.
Address: Corner Pretorius and Volkstem Streets.
Tel: (012) 353-6770
The Sammy Marks Museum is housed in the former home of mining magnate Sammy Marks which has been restored to resemble the way it was in 1886. The attractions include beautiful collections of furniture and decorative objects from the 1880s.
Address: Exit 11 on the N4 Witbank
Tel: (012) 803-6158
Cell: 082 754-0944
Tues-Fri: 9:00 - 16:00
Weekends: 10:00 - 16:00 (summer 10:00 - 16:30)
The Museum of Science and Technology is the oldest hands-on science museum in South Africa. Visitors are encouraged to explore, touch, and manipulate exhibits, models and displays. Learning takes place by getting to grips with the hardware of technology and through self-discovery by engaging with the principles of science.
Address: Didacta Building, 211 Skinner Street
Tel: (012) 392-9300/9359
The South African Air Force Museum is the largest military
aviation museum in South Africa. Established in 1973, it traces the development of the South African Air Force from its earliest days.
Address: Air Force Base Swartkop, Old Johannesburg/Pretoria Rd (R101)
Tel: (012) 351-2153
Mon-Fri: 9:00 - 15:30
Weekends: 10:00 - 16:00
Closed 25 & 26 Dec, 1 & 2 Jan, and Good Friday
The Transvaal Museum was founded in 1892 by the government of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek, and moved into its current premises in Paul Kruger Street in 1912. Today the museum serves as a research and documentation centre for the fauna of southern, and specifically South Africa. Part one of the Genesis of Life traces the origins of life on earth, from the simplest to most complex life forms. Part two looks at the prehistory and early life of man, and at prehistoric creatures including whales, hoofed mammals and primates. The Austin Roberts Bird
Hall showcases the brilliant and varied bird life of southern Africa. The Museum of Geological Survey features a superb collection of minerals, semiprecious and precious stones. The north and south biodomes house self-sustaining lowveld and highveld ecosystems in a living museum.
Address: Paul Kruger Street (opposite City Hall)
Tel: (012) 322-7632
Cell: (083) 228-5488
Sun & public holidays: 11:00-17:00
The Union Buildings, the administrative headquarters of the South African government, majestically overlook Pretoria from Meintjieskop hill. On the grounds are the Delville Wood War Memorial, a tribute to South African troops who died during the First World War, and statues of former South African prime ministers: Louis Botha, JBM Hertzhorg and Jan Smuts.
Address: Church Street, City Centre
Tel: (012) 300 5200
The Van Gybland-Oosterhoff Collection at the University of Pretoria is the largest collection of items of historical interested related to Dutch culture outside of the Netherlands. It includes documents from both world wars, medals of honour, sculptures, commemorative plaques, spoons, paintings, portraits and publications.
Address: Old Arts Building 2-8, University of Pretoria
Tel: (012) 420-3100/2200
Weekends by appointment.
The Van Tilburg Collection at the University of Pretoria comprises paintings, graphics, furniture, Persian carpets, Oriental and European ceramics. The Chinese ceramics collection is particularly important, tracing the development of ceramics in China over the course of more than 2 000 years.
Address: Old Arts Building 2-9, University of Pretoria
Tel: (012) 420-3100/2200
Weekends by appointment.
The Voortrekker Monument Museum and Fort Schanskop is housed in the Voortrekker Monument which was built to commemorate the Great Trek from the Cape of Good Hope into the interior of South Africa between 1835 and 1852. The museum charts the journey through maps, artefacts and tapestries depicting stories of Voortrekker life.
Address: Voortrekker Monument, Eufees Rd (M7)
Tel: (012) 326-6770 (monument) or (012) 323-0682 (museum)
Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day
The Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum is a living museum that centres on a farmstead dating from 1880, recreating the farming life and methods of the 1920s. It houses an extensive collection of early farming implements as well as very early indigenous
domesticated animals. Traditional farming activities are demonstrated, and annual events include a prickly pear festival, mampoer festival and the Agricultural Museum Show.
Address: On the N4-freeway to Witbank turn off at Exit 27, take the Cullinan road and turn right at the 4-way stop on the R104. Follow the R104 for about 4km. Turn left at the signboard indicated with a steam engine.
Tel: (012) 736-2035/6
The Smuts House Museum in the peaceful rural environment of the farm Doornkloof illustrates the simple lifestyle of Jan Christiaan Smuts, statesman, scientist, philosopher, and twice the prime minister of South Africa.
Address: Jan Smuts Ave, Irene
Mon-Fri:09:30 - 13:00 13:30 - 16:30
Weekends: 9:30 - 13:00 13:30 - 17:00
public holidays: 9:30 -13:00 13:30 - 17:00
Closed on Good Friday, 1 May, 24 & 25 Dec
The Tswaing Crater Museum is at the site of one of South Africa's three meteorite impact sites and is South Africa's only crater museum and its first "environ-museum". A sizeable 1.4km in diameter, the crater marks the spot where a meteorite crashed to earth some 220 000 years ago. Tswaing was a favoured hunting ground during the Middle Stone Age 150 000 to 300 000 years ago and many artefacts have been found in the area, including tools and weapons.
Address: West of Road M35 (Tswaing or Old Soutpan Road), 30 km north of Onderstepoort
Tel: (012) 790-2302
Guided group crater visit daily from 8:30-16:00 - book in advance
The Roodepoort Museum focuses on the discovery of gold in Gauteng and the development of Roodepoort from mining camp to city. It also explores the geological history of the Witwatersrand basin. Exhibits include a pioneer farmhouse, dating from the mid-1800s, a Victorian house from the beginning of the 1900s, and domestic interiors reflecting the 1920s and 1930s.
Address: Civic Centre, Christiaan de Wet Rd, Florida Park
Tel: (011) 761-0225/9
The Diepkloof Farm Museum is located in the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, not far from Heidelberg. The farmhouse, built in 1850, has recently been restored.
Address: Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
Tel: (011) 904-3964
Tues-Fri: 9:00-12:00, 14:00-16:00
Public holidays: 14:00-16:00
The Heidelberg Transport Museum showcases the history of road transport, from pennyfarthings through Model T Fords, to Formula One cars.
Address: Voortrekker Street
Tel: (0151) 6303
Tues-Sat: 10:00-13:00; 14:00-17:00 Sun: 11:00-17:00