Understand the history of Johannesburg with the help of a guide on a sightseeing tour of the city. At Constitutional Hill, learn about the rebellious Boer soldiers who fought with the British soldiers at the turn of the century, the Soweto Uprising, and South Africa’s Constitutional Court, which is partially built with bricks from one of the old prison buildings, complemented with lighter contemporary elements.
Visitors can also see the court in session after a tour, which includes a look at Mandela’s cell as well as a permanent exhibition dedicated to Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent protest.
Things to know before you go
- To understand more of South Africa’s history, visit the Apartheid Museum as well.
- The parts of the complex open to visitors include the Old Fort, Women’s Prison, Number Four Prison, and the Constitutional Court.
- Elevators and wheelchair ramps allow access to most of the museums and exhibitions.
- Discounted tickets are available for those visiting on the red City Sightseeing buses.
- The Constitution Hill precinct offers free Wi-Fi access.
How to get there
Constitution Hill is located in the northern side of Johannesburg, in an area bounded by Kotze, Joubert, Hospital, and Sam Hancock Streets. It is accessible via the city’s hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses, and can be found at the intersection of the red and green routes. There is also underground parking located off Joubert Street.
When to get there
Expect to encounter the biggest crowds in December and January during school holidays; Constitution Hill is also closed on Good Friday, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. In terms of weather, the best time to visit Johannesburg is from May to September when it’s mild and sunny. Also, night tours of Constitution Hill are offered, allowing visitors to explore the area when it’s quieter.
Learn More at the Apartheid Museum
To get a better understanding of South Africa’s complicated past, visit the Apartheid Museum, which is about a 15-minute drive from Constitution Hill. Through more than 20 individual exhibition areas, visitors can explore the emotional journey and struggle of the majority to overthrow an institutionalized system of racial segregation. Plan to spend at least two hours at the museum.
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