Some 15km south of the city centre along the M1 is the excellent Apartheid Museum, featuring separate entrances for “whites” and “non-whites” (your race is randomly assigned): truly a world-class museum, delivering a sophisticated visual history that is distressing, inspiring and illuminating. The museum offers a nuanced insight into the deep social damage wrought by apartheid – and by colonial policies that long preceded it – and helps to explain the persistence of poverty and racial tension in the new South Africa. On the other hand, the museum’s visual account of the jubilant advent of democracy serves to remind us how miraculous the transition was.

Give yourself plenty of time to view the permanent exhibition of photographs by Peter Magubane of the 1976 Soweto uprising, and don’t miss the exhilarating short documentary on the State of Emergency during the mid-1980s, when a wave of mass demonstrations and riots, though violently suppressed, shook the resolve of the regime.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

South Africa features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Road trip South Africa: 5 of the best routes

Road trip South Africa: 5 of the best routes

South Africa's ever-changing landscapes, pristine coastlines, quirky small towns and abundance of wide open spaces have cemented the country's reputation as o…

12 Jan 2018 • Chris Clark insert_drive_file Article
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right