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Apartheid Museum picture in Johannesburg
André-Pierre du Plessis / Flickr

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  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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    4.0
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For a thorough understanding of South Africa's appalling apartheid era, a visit to Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum is a must. The museum features a series of graphic yet informative exhibits, including an array of hanging nooses that represent the execution of 131 government opponents and a series of televisions that show footage of anti-apartheid residents being attacked and killed. The museum also features several interactive exhibits, such as a room where visitors are invited to move a stone from the right to a pile on the left to show their commitment to fighting discrimination and racism. There's also two museum entrances – one for whites and one for nonwhites – to denote the physical separations once apparent during apartheid.

Although several recent travelers warned that you will feel emotional while making your way through this attraction, many agreed that the Apartheid Museum's heartbreaking atmosphere is necessary to help you truly understand what occurred during this period. And remember to take your time here. With so much information to digest, at least a few hours (if not a full day) is recommended.

The Apartheid Museum is located across the street from Gold Reef City theme park, about 4 miles southwest of downtown Jozi. The attraction is a stop on City Sightseeing South Africa's Red City Tour, or visitors can drive and park in the on-site parking lot. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Good Friday and Christmas Day, the museum costs 75 rand (roughly $5) for adults and 60 rand (or $4) for children. Guided tours – which must be booked in advance and are not offered on Mondays – are also available for an additional 5 rand per person.

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The Reef Hotel

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#1 Apartheid Museum For a thorough understanding of South Africa's appalling apartheid era, a visit to Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum is a must. The museum features a series of graphic yet informative ... Read more » André-Pierre du Plessis / Flickr

#2 Mandela House Constructed in 1945 in the Orlando West section of Soweto, Johannesburg, the Mandela House became the home for Nelson Mandela (also known as Madiba) and his first wife, Evelyn Ntoko ... Read more » South African Tourism / Flickr

#3 Constitution Hill Located in the city's Braampark neighborhood, Constitution Hill provides travelers with a mix of old and new Jo'burg. For those looking for historic Jozi, there's the Women ... Read more » Christine Smith/USNWR

#4 Maboneng Precinct Lovers of good food, contemporary art and trendy shops will enjoy exploring the city's Maboneng Precinct. Known for its eclectic vibe (think New York City's Chelsea neighborhood or ... Read more » henkcoetzee / Flickr

#5 Montecasino Bird Gardens One of Jo'burg's most popular family attractions, the Montecasino Bird Gardens – which sits about 19 miles northwest of downtown – houses an array of brightly colored birds, reptiles and ... Read more » Andy G / Flickr

#6 South African National Museum of Military History Whether you're a history buff, a military enthusiast or just want a place to cool off on a hot South African day, odds are you'll enjoy the South ... Read more » Alan Wilson / Flickr

#7 Gold Reef City For a bit of heart-pounding fun, families cannot pass up an opportunity to explore Gold Reef City. Influenced by the region's prominent gold mining industry, this Jozi amusement park ... Read more » Xander Buys / Flickr

Apartheid Museum picture in Johannesburg
Mandela House picture in Johannesburg
Constitution Hill picture in Johannesburg
Maboneng Precinct picture in Johannesburg
Montecasino Bird Gardens picture in Johannesburg
South African National Museum of Military History picture in Johannesburg
Gold Reef City picture in Johannesburg
Apartheid Museum picture in Johannesburg
Mandela House picture in Johannesburg
Constitution Hill picture in Johannesburg
Maboneng Precinct picture in Johannesburg
Montecasino Bird Gardens picture in Johannesburg
South African National Museum of Military History picture in Johannesburg
Gold Reef City picture in Johannesburg

Powerful exhibits – including race-specific entrances, a series of hanging nooses and seven exterior pillars representative of South Africa's post-apartheid constitution – paint a picture of the country's past at Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum. André-Pierre du Plessis / Flickr

Nelson Mandela and his family lived in this home on and off for 50 years. The Mandela House now sits as a public heritage site and museum for those eager to learn more about the former president's life before his imprisonment at Robben Island. South African Tourism / Flickr

For a glimpse of South Africa's past alongside its political future, check out Johannesburg's Constitution Hill. Located less than 2 miles north of downtown Jozi, this must-see attraction includes an old fort once used as a prison and the Constitutional Court, South Africa's equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court. Christine Smith/USNWR

To experience the funkier side of Jo'burg, visit Maboneng Precinct. This trendy downtown neighborhood – which means "Place of Light" in the Sotho language – features an array of art galleries, restaurants and fashion boutiques. henkcoetzee / Flickr

While this wildlife attraction does have its share of reptiles and small mammals, it's all about the birds at Montecasino Bird Gardens. More than 60 avian species can be found here, including scarlet ibises, Nicobar pigeons and rainbow lorikeets. Andy G / Flickr

Military enthusiasts cannot miss the South African National Museum of Military History, which features a military vehicles and aircraft collection, a small firearms display and exhibits dedicated to the Anglo-Boer War and World War I. Alan Wilson / Flickr

Offering a stark contrast to the adjacent Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City, a gold mining-themed amusement park, includes attractions like a runaway train rollercoaster, a mine shaft freefall ride and a gold panning experience. Xander Buys / Flickr

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