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Mandela House picture in Johannesburg
South African Tourism / Flickr

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  • Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums, Sightseeing Type
  • Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
4.6
Overall
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  • Value
    3.5
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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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 Mase in 1946. Although the pair divorced shortly after, Mandela continued to live in this quaint brick structure. His second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, eventually joined him here in 1948, and together the couple resided at the property with their two daughters. However, due to Mandela's prominence in the anti-apartheid movement, he was forced to leave his family to try to evade government authorities. As a result, Madiba would not return to his home until 1990 when he was released from prison following his arrest in 1962. But after a mere 11 days in the home, Mandela permanently left this Soweto property in favor of a larger, more secure home in Jozi's Houghton neighborhood, where he resided until his death in 2013.

After Madiba left his Soweto home, the property was converted into a museum, which now includes family belongings, honorary degrees and awards given to the former president, original kitchen appliances and furniture, and photographs of Mandela and his family. Although small in size, most visitors appreciate the insight this structure gives into South Africa's most famous politician. Another noteworthy feature: In the home's exterior, bullet holes and fire damage left from petrol bombs used during police raids are still visible.

The Mandela House is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. However, like other local attractions, this museum closes on Good Friday and Christmas Day. There is also an admission fee, which includes entrance into the museum, use of on-site restrooms, a brief tour and access into the visitor center's small gift shop. For adults from African Union countries, tickets are 40 rand ($3) per person, while non-African Union adult tickets cost 60 rand ($4) each. And for children older than 6, a 20 rand ($1) fee applies. Keep in mind that the Mandela House, which is not within walking distance of public transportation, is a popular tourist attraction with limited space, so expect a wait to get in and overpriced street peddlers in the immediate area.

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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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