An area long seen as too dangerous to visit and walk around, downtown Johannesburg, dating back to 1886, is seeing more and more tour buses and groups of tourists wandering around, catching a glimpse of the history and the gorgeous old buildings like Corner House, the Rand Club, the 1935 main library and the Barbican. Often those tours are being led by one of the following groups:

Past Experiences

Founder Jo Buitendach, a “Joburg-obsessed girl,” and her team have just celebrated 10 years as the original walking tour company of Johannesburg downtown. From street art in Newtown to lunch on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, from the personalised tour to group walkabouts. “This is a company that loves Johannesburg, from its turbulent past, to its amazing potential for the future.”

johannesburg crafts walking tour past experiences
Some of the places visited during a Christmas shopping tour led by Past Experiences.

joburgplaces

Gerald Garner combines inner-city walking tours with eating and storytelling at one of his great spaces on Gandhi Square, the Scatterlings Arcade, Zwipi Underground and the Town Square Banqueting Hall. His walking tours include nearby precincts such as Marshalltown, Maboneng, the Fashion District and Little Addis.

The Underground booksellers Walking Tour

Johannesburg has been noted by some as the city in the world with the most book dealers. Many of them are located in the city centre, selling their books off tables in markets. Led by Bridge Books owner Griffin Shea, the tour takes in the gamut of dealers.

griffin shea booksellers underground tour johannesburg
Griffin Shea addressing a tour in Library Gardens. Photo: Johannesburg in your Pocket.

Micro-adventures

Kennedy Tembo, an exercise fanatic and hiker, takes bicycle tours of the city, past historic buildings like the Rand Club and the 1935 library, and drinking at coffee shops along the way; and also out to the Cradle of Humankind. He also leads tours to some of the iconic Randlord mansions like Northwards and The View.

microadventures bicycle tour johannesburg
Microadventures bicycle tour of the city.

Main street walks

Linked to the popular Cuciocity backpackers hotel and the 12 Decades Hotel in Maboneng, Main Street Walks has a wide variety of walks and activities.