South Africa is a country rich with diverse history. When visiting a new town or city, it is extremely enriching to go to the local museum to brush up on the stories of the land.

Here are 5 South African museums that are definitely worth a visit:

1. The National Museum in Bloemfontein

Established in 1877, The National Museum in Bloemfontein is home to 13 permanent exhibitions, comprising, among others, cultural, archaeological, historical and even astronomical exhibitions.

Add special exhibitions that are put on display periodically, and this museum will have something to tickle the fancy of even the most uninterested visitor.

Where to find it:
36 Aliwal Street, Bloemfontein

When it’s open:
Monday to Friday: 8:00 – 17:00
Saturday: 10:00 – 17:00
Sunday and Public Holidays: 12:00 – 17:00
Closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day

Contact:
051 447 9609

Cost:
Adults: R5
Scholars: R3
Pre-school: R1
Audio Guide: Free

A scene depicting a historical living room in the National Museum in Bloemfontein.

A scene depicting a historical living room in the National Museum in Bloemfontein.

2. SAB World of Beer in Johannesburg

Mention this to a friend who hates museums and see how quickly he/she becomes a museum lovers. The SAB World of Beer has a few tours on offer to entice both the connoisseur and the non-drinker.

(This museum is slightly more expensive, but definitely worth it.)

Where to find it:
15 Helen Joseph Street (formerly President Street), Newtown, Johannesburg

When it’s open:
Seven days a week, including public holidays, from 10:00 to 17:00.

Contact:
011 836 4900

Cost:
Adults: R95
Pensioners and students with a valid student card: R85
Children under the age of 17: R30
School tours are available at R30 per pupil
Beer tasting: R85
Tour and beer tasting package: R140
Red Bus: R90

SAB World of Beer in Johannesburg

SAB World of Beer in Johannesburg

3. The South African Museum in Cape Town

Permanent exhibitions at The South African Museum focus mostly on the indigenous fauna and flora of the Cape region, whilst several special exhibitions are on display.

Where to find it:
25 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens, Cape Town

When it’s open:
Daily from 10:00 to 17:00
Closed on Workers’ Day and Christmas Day

Contact:
021 481 3800

Cost:
Adults: R30
6 to 18 years: R15
SA Students and pensioners: R15
Family Ticket (2 adults & 2 children): R75

The South African Museum in Cape Town

The South African Museum in Cape Town

4. The Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda

If you’re making your way to Cape Town from Joburg anytime soon, be sure to stop at The Owl House along the way.

The Owl House is the former residence of the troubled South African artist, Helen Martins. A visit to this museum of life and art will leave you in awe of the genius and tragedy of Helen Martins’ life.

Where to find it:
Martin Street, Nieu Bethesda

When it’s open:
Every day from 9:00 to 17:00, and from 8:00 to 18:00 during the December school holidays.

Contact:
049 841 1642

Cost:
R50 for adults and children

The Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda

The Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda

5. The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg

For most so-called born-frees, the idea of Apartheid is almost unimaginable. A tour through the Apartheid Museum gives visitors a glimpse into this inerasable part of the story of our country, and is definitely worth a visit by every South African.

Where to find it:
Corner of Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Road, Ormonde, Johannesburg

When it’s open:
Every day of the week from 09:00 to 17:00

Contact:
011 309 4700

Cost:
Adults: R75
Pensioners, students and children: R60
Learners: R30
Teachers: R35

apartheid-museum

Apartheid Museum. Photo: GFC

Don’t let memories of dusty school tours put you off: museums aren’t just musty collections of bones and books, they’re a reminder of the past that serves as an important basis for the future of the nation. Drop by and get schooled.

About The Author

Angie Gallagher

Angie Gallagher is a freelance writer in the Upper Karoo. Aside from writing content for Counting Coins, Angie has tried her hand at a few juvenile attempts at poetry filled with storms and stress, and a marginally successful radio station, Radio Grootoor, recorded on cassette tapes when she was ten.

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