Lion Park in Lanseria. World-famous lion trainer, animal bahaviourist and film wrangler Alex Larenty with Colombus (17) the lion that was spotted in the streets of Braamfontein. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

One of the best ways to travel back into the history of South Africa is by paying a visit to one of these places. 

1. The Hector Petersen Memorial and Apartheid Museum

The Hector Petersen Memorial is dedicated to the memory of the 1976 student uprisings that took Soweto by storm. The protests were by Black students who were fighting against the usage of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools.
The Apartheid Museum goes through the entire history of Apartheid in the country and the impact this had on daily life. 

2. The Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of Humankind region in South Africa, which is almost 90 minutes' drive from the Johannesburg city center. It gives visitors the chance to learn about the evolutionary process of humans and for people to learn about stones and bones. There is also a variety of adrenaline filled activities that visitors can experience. It is also a World Heritage Site that’s home to a wide variety of birds, animals and plants.

3. Lion and Safari Park 

The lion park is home to one of the most famous lions, Colombus the Lion. Colombus, who caused a stir after he was spotted in Braamfontein last year, has been in a number of ads and films. But, his handlers insist he’s still a wild animal, regardless of his celebrity status. Some of the activities that people can experience are guided lion and wild dog tour, guided safari tour, cheetah walk and giraffe feeding. The park also has an onsite restaurant and kiddies play area.

4. Vaal Meander 

The opportunity to experience the Vaal River in all its glory is always a welcome one. The area has a number of restaurants, hotels and a fully fledged events calendar of all the activities organised in the area.

5. Nizamiye Mosque 

Looming over Midrand the mosque is the biggest in the southern hemisphere. It currently stands in a complex that has a school, a clinic, a niche supermarket and a bakery among other things. The mosque was built by a Turkish philanthropist. It has 21 domes, and all the marble, carpets, stained glass and ceramics used in its construction were brought from Turkey. 

It was completed in 2012 and is modelled on the 16th century Ottoman Selimiye Cammii mosque in Edirne, Turkey.  The main dome is framed by four towering minarets and rises 32m. More than 200 stained-glass windows decorate the building. The spectacular prayer hall can accommodate more than 3 000 people.

In addition to the prayer hall, the main building also houses a small exhibition about Ottoman architecture, meeting rooms and a peaceful courtyard, all of which can be visited. Women will be provided with shawls to cover up and all visitors are asked to remove their shoes before entering the prayer hall.