Whether you’re a freshman from another city or a seasoned Joburger, the new double-decker Hop-on Hop-off CitySightseeing tour bus has an open-air seat waiting for you.
A R150 ticket gets you access to an entire day of Jozi scenery, history and entertainment. Get to the Gautrain Station @ Park as early as you can to get a seat up top. For those of you who are sensitive to our sunny skies, remember a hat and some SPF.
Pop in the bright red earphones handed to you by the friendly tour guides and listen to a couple of well-spoken youngsters talk about how the City of Gold got its name.
The great thing about this tour is that you can hop off at any of the 12 stops along the route and simply hop back on the next bus when you’re done. The service runs every 40 minutes and the stops include Constitution Hill, the Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City, Santarama Miniland, Ghandi Square, Newtown and the Wits Origins Centre.
If you don’t recognise some of those, then obviously it’s time to get your ticket online (you’ll also save 30 bucks by going through the website). And even if you’re quite familiar with the list, it’s good to have a reminder of all the wonderful things there are to do in Jozi, as well as its colourful history.
As the bus weaves its way carefully through the narrow streets and bustling crossings, the tour guide will remind you that Jozi is a lot friendlier than its reputation would have you believe. Many people think it a dangerous, dodgy place with unsavoury characters and rampant crime. While this is true to an extent, almost all cities in the world have some of these elements and one simply needs to be alert and street-smart to avoid being a victim. In other words, don’t be afraid to get off the bus and explore in a group.
As the buzz of colourful fruit and veg markets, clothing jumble sales, sidewalk barbers and car washes whiz past, you realise very quickly that most people are just ordinary South Africans going about their daily lives. What’s so scary about that? In fact, it’s vibrant and inspiring.
From the architecture to the street-market vibe to the history and activities, this is really a great day out. Even if you just go along for the ride, you’ll learn something and you’ll probably meet a few tourists to convince that Jozi is the best city in South Africa, and maybe even the world.
If you think this review is biased, you’re probably right. But that said, I really had no complaints about the trip. The bus was safe and clean and the staff were friendly and helpful. The route, scenery and audio guide were all top notch and even the weather played along perfectly.