10 Niche Gauteng offerings you may not know about

2018-06-21 16:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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African barman looking into camera with a sign tha

The barman at the hide out bar in CurioCity Backpackers, one of the cool Gauteng tourism offerings you may not know about. (Photo: iStock)

Africa's Travel Indaba may be done and dusted, but its spirit lives on at a tourism speed marketing event showcasing the coolest tourism offerings in South Africa.

If you're visiting Gauteng, there are accommodation options you may have overlooked, or mind-thumping experiences that even locals would want to try out.

Let these elevator pitches help you discover a side to Gauteng you may have never known and let Africa move you.

WATCH: Why does Africa move you?

Where to stay

Lebo's Soweto Backpackers

Head on over to the vibiest spot in Soweto - Orlando West - and book a stay at Lebo's Soweto Backpackers. From here you'll get to explore Nelson Mandela's former home either by tuk-tuk or bicycle, or you can just dive headfirst into the museums and restaurants that make this area a top spot for Joburg tourists.

SEE: A holiday in Soweto?

Cradle Boutique Hotel

Managed by African Anthology, you can travel back in time to when humans first came onto the scene at the Cradle of Humankind, and a luxury eco-hotel is right there if you want to make it an overnight stay.

Each room is built from timber and thatch with private viewing decks that let you glance over the Cradle reserve, with a stunning restaurant where retractable glass and steel doors will make you feel like your outside in the wild no matter the weather.

12 Decades Johannesburg Art Hotel

Up north in the busy streets of Joburg, check into the 12 Decades Johannesburg Art Hotel, which made its home in the up-and-coming cultural precinct of Maboneng. Each room celebrates a special period in the city’s history from 1886 - 2006, designed by South African creatives. 

The hotel also offers a special art exchange programme, where artists can stay for an extended period in exchange for an art piece, which will be featured in the hotel’s permanent art collection open to the public. 

SEE: #ArtHeritage: Get creative at these SA art hotels

Mont d'Or Bohemian House Pretoria

Part of the Extraordinary collection, this five-star guesthouse only has ten rooms in Pretoria's Waterkloof Ridge surrounded by old trees and a courtyard dominated by a massive pool.

The design style is French impressionism and Egyptian textiles, and the house is filled with artwork and vintage furniture for the discerning traveller looking for a home away from home.


With backpackers in both Joburg and Durban, this Afro-urban inspired hostel makes for the perfect base in Maboneng to get into the veins of the city.

They offer rooftop sundowners, a Jacuzzi, cycle tours in the East City, sizzling braais and a variety of tours to keep you entertained throughout your stay. 

SEE: The first Inner City backpackers in Jozi is the epitome of SA cool

What to do

AirVentures Hot Air Ballooning 

Also represented by African Anthology, you can go on an extra-special adventure over the Cradle of Humankind, or take in the breathtaking views of the Magaliesberg while sipping on champagne.

You can also spot four of the Big Five on balloon safari flights, making for the most Insta-worthy photos or the best view for popping The Big Question.

Freedom Park 

Honour those who have fallen for freedom and human rights at Freedom Park in Pretoria, an especially great choice to visit this year in celebration of Nelson Mandela's centenary.

Besides being a storyteller, the park also has an interesting architectural style, a Garden of Remembrance and //hapo Museum that explores the story of creation from an African perspective. 

SEE: #Madiba100: Be a part of these Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations across SA

Soweto Outdoor Adventure 

Explore this township from a local's perspective through its streets by quad bike, taste traditional Magwenya and even do a nature camping adventure with trusted guides.

They also offer go karting, rock climbing and braai lunches, all of which can be booked on a combo tour that will save you extra cash.

Tour 2.0

If you're not entirely sure what you want to do, and want someone to organise a unique trip, take a dive into Tour 2.0's listings of local tour guides.

Discover Joburg's eco-spaces where urban farming is taking off, give your taste buds a thrill ride on a culinary and cocktail tour of Alexander township or follow the trail of destruction of forced removals in Sophiatown, resurrected by its famous creatives. 

SEE: Discover iKasi: Putting an end to 'poverty safaris' with a new generation of township entrepreneurs

Dirty Boots

When the fifth museum tour is leaving you with ants in your pants, wake yourself up with a sweet array of adventure tours that you can discover on Dirty Boots - a platform that curates all the adventure activities on offer around South Africa.

Gauteng is full of options that will get you to suck the marrow out of life, and is great for locals saving their rands with a staycation. From dragon boat racing to inland scuba diving to freefalling with a suspended catch air device, you're bound to find something that will rewire your brain.