Hopping on and off with the kids in Joburg this holiday

07 July 2015 | Kate Turkington

With our 3-for-1 Kids' Special, now is the perfect time to treat the kids to a red bus adventure

The bright red hop-on, hop-off Joburg City Sightseeing bus is the perfect day outing for kids of all ages.

Firstly, so few kids today get an opportunity to ride on a bus; they often get ferried to and from school, so to actually climb on a bus, go up the stairs and sit in the open air to watch the world go by is always a treat.

What’s even more special is that there’s a dedicated kids’ commentary to listen to, on their own individual headphones. They’ll follow the story of Joey the red bus and his friends, who’ll guide them round important landmarks and keep them amused for the whole trip.

I recently did the trip on arguably the coldest day of the year with three teenagers, Ilona, Emily and Nicholas, nine-year-old Alice and four-year-old Sam.

Scarfed up and excited about our trip on Jozi’s red bus. (Image: Tara Turkington)

Even the biting cold couldn’t damp their enthusiasm. We didn’t have time on this occasion to do Gold Reef City (next to the Apartheid Museum, which is stop 13), but that’s a “wow” experience for kids. There’s something for everyone – from very exciting rides, bumper cars, a trip down a gold mine and an animal petting area, to fast food or sit-down restaurants.

Which of the nine stops was top of the pops with all the youngsters? No question at all – the Top of Africa. At 50 storeys high, the Carlton Centre (stop 11) is still Africa’s tallest building. We shot up in the lift and stepped out on top to a 360° panoramic view of Jozi/Egoli/the City of Gold. Even though it was an overcast day, the views were still spectacular.

Kids won’t believe their eyes when seeing Joburg from the top of the Carlton Centre.

The little ones ran round and round the whole viewing area, while the older ones stopped to read the information plaques pointing out what was where. I reminded them all that Johannesburg is one of the biggest urban forests in the world with millions of trees, and they all oohed and aahed over that crumb of information and immediately began spotting trees.

Another great stop is the Newtown Precinct (STOP 14), home of Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Jozi’s world-class science centre. Check out the special school holiday exhibitions and let the kids learn about the Ice Age, speak to a scientist, or even watch a science circus.

Inside the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

Then hop back on the bus and hop off again at the Origins Centre (STOP 16) at Wits to learn about where we humans all came from in the first place. It’s wonderfully kid-friendly and there’s a great coffee shop too.

If you or the kids have any energy left, you can even do the add-on Soweto trip – but maybe leave that for another day, because you can buy a two-day ticket that will ensure you don’t miss anything.

So what’s stopping you? Hop onto the red bus now!

Buy tickets here.