Main Street Mall runs along the heart of Johannesburg’s corporate mining district. It's home to the offices of some of the world’s largest mining companies and along the street is a very informative outdoor museum that portrays the history and legacy of mining in South Africa.
The Leaping Impala or Impala Stampede sculpture, donated by the Oppenheimer family to the city in 1960, was originally installed in Sir Ernest Oppenheimer Park near the centre of town. It got vandalised during the inner-city decline of the 1990s, but was refurbished in 2002 and reinstalled on the Anglo American Campus.
Further along the pedestrianised street you'll see a mine's headgear, imported from a platinum mine to tell the story of the discovery of platinum in South Africa.
At the centre of the corporate mining district is Hollard Street, the address of the South African Chamber of Mines. This was once Johannesburg’s "Wall Street" as the city’s stock exchange operated here for many decades before moving to Diagonal Street and later to Sandton.
Enjoy a cup of coffee at City Perk Café with its tables in the middle of the pedestrianised Hollard Street.
Take in the magnificent Bear and Bull sculpture – a remnant of the street’s stock exchange heyday – as well as the strips of mosaic art by Marco Cianfanelli that run across the square. These strips depict everyday life in Johannesburg – mini-bus taxis, bowls of fruits and even the face of Nelson Mandela.
In front of the Chamber of Mines is a historic stamp mill that was once used to crush rock at one of Joburg’s first mines.
Further along Main Street Mall is a golden sculpture of a rhino, a replica of the much smaller Mapungubwe rhino that was unearthed by University of Pretoria archaeologists in 1934. It dates back over 800 years, from a time when an ancient black society lived at Mapungubwe (near the border with Zimbabwe) and traded gold with the East via the Mozambican coast.
You could also head to the Standard Bank head office down Simmonds Street where you'll find a mine-shaft museum. When Standard Bank built its new buildings in the 1980s, the bank unearthed the entrance to one of the city’s historic mines and you can now visit this shaft from inside the building. Also visit the renowned Standard Bank Art Gallery that hosts local and international exhibitions. Please note that the gallery is closed on Sundays and public holidays, but open till 1pm on Saturdays.
Once you've taken in enough mining history and art, head to Darkie Café in Anderson Street for fusion cuisine with an African twist, or up Ferreira Street is the Mapunbugwe Hotel Apartments with its famous Vault Bar – built in the vault of what was once the French Bank.
Also walk across Ntemi Piliso Street to one of Jozi’s most famous landmarks next to the magistrates court, Chancellor House. It was lovingly restored with a sidewalk museum that tells you everything about the days when Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo launched the country’s first black law practice on this spot in the 1950s.