YOUR GUIDE TO SOUTH AFRICA
At Constitution Hill, passengers are able to hop on the Red City Tour to explore the CBD and surrounding areas, at no additional cost. The Soweto extension tour is accessible with the Red City Tour at an additional charge.
The Johannesburg Red City Tour and Soweto Combo, which have been running since 2013, have primarily been focused on attractions in the inner city and Soweto. With the Green Tour added to the mix, customers will be able to explore Joburg’s leafy suburbs too.
NOTE: The first stop and home to the new City Sightseeing ticket office is The Zone @ Rosebank.
Want to go? Here's what you need to know:
City Sightseeing offers a free shuttle service to this ticket office for customers staying at several hotels in Sandton and Melrose Arch.
You need only one ticket for both the Red City Tour and the Green Tour.
A one-day ticket giving you access to both the Red City Tour and the Green Tour will cost you R190 per adult (R170 online) and R90 per child aged 5 to 17.
A two-day ticket giving you access to both tours over two consecutive days costs R290 (R270 online) per adult and R180 per child.
You can opt to combine your one- or two-day ticket with our tour to Soweto. The one-day combo ticket will cost you R470 per adult (R420 online) and R220 per child, while you’ll pay R570 (R520 online) for a two-day adult combo ticket and R310 for a child.
Children four years and younger hop on the Joburg red bus free of charge (maximum two kids per adult).
The first bus departs from Rosebank at 09:00, with a bus departing every 30 minutes thereafter.
The Green Tour will take an hour to complete if you don't hop off at any of the stops.
The Green Tour and the Red City Tour combined will take two-and-a-half hours if you don’t hop off anywhere.
If you opt for the add-on tour to Soweto, add another two hours to your journey.
The earlier you start, the more you can hop off.
Commentary on the new tour will initially only be available in English but other languages will be rolled out in due course.
By Louzel Lombard Steyn
Cape Town - Johannesburg's City Sightseeing is expanding the Jozi experience offering by giving visitors a glimpse of the city's most leafy suburbs.
On Tuesday, 6 December, City Sightseeing will be launching the new 'Green Tour', which meanders from Rosebank to various red bus stops in the city's most beautiful areas.
Despite various stereotypes depicting Joburg as a dark and dangerous city, it is actually the largest man-made urban forest in the world, along with the Tijuca Forest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The new 'Green Tour' aims to explore just that.
Starting in Rosebank, the City Sightseeing red bus stops at Zoo Lake, the Johannesburg Zoo and the Ditsong National Museum of Military History. From there, the bus departs to Constitution Hill via Munro Drive in Houghton, one of the most scenic roads in Joburg with picturesque views over the city’s leafy green suburbs.
The route is complemented by commentary based on the area’s rich history and stories shared by locals, bringing to life Joburg’s standing as a diverse culture, arts and business hub.
Less than 50 years ago Sandton didn’t exist in name – it was largely a farming and smallholding community.
Sandton Central Management District
Sandton Central, without a doubt, has become the most important business and financial node in South Africa, and plausibly sub-Saharan Africa. It is home to many of South Africa’s largest corporates, the world’s top multinational companies, the JSE and the iconic Sandton City mega-mall.
Not only is Sandton South Africa’s commercial capital, it is also a world-class leading city.
“In economic circles, the attractiveness and economic health of an area is measured by a simple guideline – the number of cranes which can be seen on the skyline. Right now, the Sandton Central skyline shows an impressive cluster of cranes,” says Elaine Jack, city improvement district manager for Sandton Central Management District.
(Image courtesy of Liberty Properties).
The first settlers moved to Sandton after Britain annexed Natal in 1843. Every original Voortrekker male settler who came to the South African Republic (later Transvaal, now Gauteng), was entitled to a farm of his own. Sandfontein was the farm area around Sandton. The Esterhuysen’s were a well-known Voortrekker family who lived on the farm Sandfontein, close to where Sandown High School is today, on the corner of Grayston and Rivonia drives.
A wave of urbanisation in the 1930s was driven by widespread poverty in South Africa as the world suffered one of its worst economic depressions. Many people abandoned rural lifestyles for opportunities in the industrial Witwatersrand.
The ‘Southern Suburbs’ of Sandton were laid out quite early in the century and by the thirties they were well established as ‘gentleman estate’ areas with most of the properties being one morgen or larger. At this stage they formed the ‘northern’ suburbs of Johannesburg and in some cases extended beyond the boundaries of the city. The rural ‘horsey’ lifestyle of Sandton led to the area being dubbed the ‘Mink and Manure Belt’ and it was considered a desirable address.
During the 1940s and 1950s Sandton became increasingly residential and wanted independence from the government’s Peri-Urban areas Health Board, which had control over services such as water. The local population regarded themselves as an entity separate from Johannesburg. The first moves by Sandton to achieve independence from Johannesburg go back to the early Sixties. When it was eventually promulgated as a municipality in 1969, its name formed from a combination of the names Sandtfontein, Bryanston and Sandown.
The first few years of Sandton’s existence were dominated by the question of whether Sandton should remain a quiet semi-rural dormitory town or be a more balanced entity with significant business and higher density residential components. Bristow reports that it split the town council apart.
In 1956 the Peri-Urban board had bought some large tracts of land for municipal purposes – one of these being the 11 ha site in Sandown where the Civic Centre now stands. Of this, 3.4 ha was sold to the Transvaal Provincial Administration for the building of Sandown Primary School and in 1965 the land directly south of the Civic Centre area was allocated extensive retail and flat rights – the land then belonged to Mr Bob Edmunds, the chairman of Standard Bank, and was sold to property developers Rapp and Maister – now Liberty Properties – in 1968.
The first step in transforming Sandton from a farming community to a bustling business district came with Sandton City, which was developed and constructed by Rapp and Maister on this site during the early 1970s, opening for trade in 1974.
The catalyst for Sandton’s dramatic growth was Sandton City, which opened in 1973. Even the office tower was virtually fully let from day one.
The rush of commercial space began in the mid to late 1980s when land in Sandton was cheaper than that in the Johannesburg CBD and could also offer a lifestyle with rolling lawns, fountains and low-density, affordable-to-own office space that could not be accommodated in the CBD.
The council agreed to approximately 200 000 square meters of office space – today the figure for central Sandton alone stands at more than 1.5-million square meters and is still growing.
Sandton is the second largest office node in South Africa, hot on the heels of the Johannesburg CBD. It has an exceptionally high proportion of prime quality office space. Sandton Central is also said to be the epicentre of green building in Africa with what is possibly the highest number of certified green buildings of any business district. Unarguably, it is home to some of the continent’s finest contemporary business buildings.
Yet, even with its rapid development and new office and apartment towers on the rise, there are still charming traces of Sandton’s relatively brief modern history to be found, like ‘the little church under the pines’ in Stella Street, Sandown, right behind Growthpoint Properties’ 138 West Street diagonally across the road from the Sandton Gautrain Station.
It was the first church in the district, inspired by Anna Notten (nee Wierda) who arrived with her parents and three sisters from Holland in 1887. Her father Sytze Wierda, was a distinguished architect who designed Amsterdam’s central railway station and was recruited to organise the public works department. The interdenominational church’s cornerstone was laid on July 11 1925. Today, it stands among Sandton Central’s bustling high-rise buildings.
Source by: Sandton Central Management District
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So, it may be difficult to imagine that less than 50 years ago Sandton didn’t exist in name – where it stands today was largely a farming and smallholding community.
Sandton was promulgated in July 1969 and “at that time there were about 30 000 whites in the town and 15 000 horses”, according to former town planner Barry Bristow.
And, while scarcely populated in the years before that, it has a rich, albeit largely uneventful, early history.
Greater Sandton’s first residents were middle stone-age hunters who arrived around 30 000 years ago, establishing communities on the granite outcrops of Witkoppen, Lonehill and Norscot Koppies. About 10 000 years ago ancestors of the San people settled. Then, around four centuries ago, Bantu-speaking communities of the iron-age inhabited the rocky ridges of the area becoming Sandton’s first industrialists, with an economy based principally on agriculture and metalwork.
The 32ha Sandton City development site photographed in 1969, was originally intended for luxury homes (Image courtesy of Liberty Properties).