I’ve been dying to go on the Red City Bus through Johannesburg, and I’ve finally done it! My sister, Elaine, joined me and the boys on our excursion through the city today, and we had a ball!
We caught the bus at the Gold Reef City stop this morning because we wanted to take advantage of the Gee Pee kids special running until October this year… 2 kids travelling with an adult can go on the bus for free… so I saved R140! We decided to stop at 2 stops, because I knew Connor would get bored if we stopped at more. I also wanted to keep to the 40 minute time and catch the next bus… that was a mistake at Constitutional Hill. I also reckon we should have stopped at the Origin Centre at Wits too, I think they would have enjoyed it.
The experience on the bus was amazing. We sat at the top, stupidly forgetting hats and sunscreen but thankfully we didn’t get burnt. The kids were enamoured with the narrative on the earphones, and thankfully the bus attendant on the second bus we caught showed us the kids channel, so Connor listened to stories most of the way! What a win!! That kept him out of mischief!
This is a really picture heavy post 😉 I had a ball taking photos from the bus… I’m usually the one driving through the city, so this was awesome for me!
The first place we hopped off the bus was Constitution Hill. It was the first time we’d ever been there, and in hindsight we should have stayed there longer. 40 minutes cannot do the place justice. But Connor was whining and wanted to leave and he was hungry and there was no place there to get anything to eat or drink.
I found it fascinating, and I know the kids will think about it for months. Or rather Bradley will… I know he’ll mull over what he saw for some time and then ask very strange and difficult questions. I tend to forget that they haven’t lived through any kind of apartheid, so the stories in the museum are quite shocking to them, especially Bradley.
We watched a video talking about the Pass books. We went into a communal cell which explained the differences between the black and white prisoners and how they were treated. We went into a prison cell which had stories about the people imprisoned in them (rightly and wrongly), and why they were there, and had to explain to the boys why leading a march, and not carrying a pass-book, was considered a crime. We read the story about Ghandi’s imprisonment there, as well as Mandela’s. We saw the photos of Mandela visiting the prison.
We only saw a quarter of what there was to see. I want to go back there, and see the rest. It made me remember how far we’ve come as a country.
Then we stopped at the Carlton Centre to see the views of Johannesburg from the tallest building in Africa (Top of Africa). There was a guide at the bus stop, that took us right to the ticketing office and then came up the really very fast lift with us, and then we were left to our own devices.
After seeing the view, we quickly got a bite to eat at the Wimpy in the mall before getting back on the bus and heading back to Gold Reef. It’s a pity that Santarama is still closed, I would have enjoyed stopping there with the kids too. The only disappointing part of the trip, is the part through the South of Johannesburg… was rather boring.
Would I go again? In a heartbeat! We got back at around 3pm, but I reckon you need to spend the whole day doing it to do it justice. We’re also definitely going back to some of the places to explore more!
Disclaimer: I was not asked to blog about the bus, although I was sent tickets for a few months ago that I couldn’t take up due to time constraints.