The greater Johannesburg area. Originally settled in the early 1900’s when gold was discovered, today it is the country’s largest city and its commercial and industrial center. The province was officially renamed from “Transvaal” to “Gauteng” following the 1994 elections that brought Nelson Mandela to power and marked the end to apartheid in South Africa. Hanks Aero Adventures’ operations center here at Lanseria Airport (FALA), one of the world’s great General Aviation airfields, set in the countryside on Johannesburg’s northern outskirts.
Pilots spend two to four days in the area doing validation exercises and being briefed before launching on a Self-Fly Safari®. There is much that others in the party can do while the pilot is preparing.
Tours can be arranged to visit nature reserves, archeological sites, zoological gardens, art galleries, a brewery, Soweto, a diamond mine and other places. Spend a day playing golf, being pampered at a spa or shopping. “… So many things to do, so little time!”
HERTFORD HOTEL – 10-minutes drive to Lanseria
A comfortable, informal country inn with a relaxed atmosphere. The Inn features large bedrooms, many with fireplaces, telephones and TV, a nice lounge area --- complete with a few friendly dogs and cats sleeping at the hearth. Tea and coffee is always available. Its restaurant, a pub, and an outdoor verandah are good places to meet local folk and other visitors. The Hertford Inn is a good place to recover from jet lag, and focus on the safari ahead. Three Stars. www.hertford.co.za
TOADBURY HALL – 10-minutes drive to Lanseria -
A serene, luxury boutique hotel in the country with a lovely garden setting. Excellent restaurant serving gourmet food. Five Stars.http://www.toadbury.co.za
SHUMBA VALLEY LODGE – 10-minutes drive to Lanseria.
A motel-style cluster of thatch-roofed cottages located near the threshold of Lanseria Airport’s Runway 07. It has a restaurant, a terrace bar, an outdoor swimming pool and a small gym. Three Stars. http://www.shumbavalley.co.za
TSOGO SUN AT MONTECASINO – 20-minutes drive to Lanseria.
A large hotel set in Johannesburg’s northern suburb of Fourways. It is within walking distance of one of Johannesburg’s largest shopping malls and offers a multitude of restaurants, shops, theater, movies and a casino. Five Stars. http://www.tsogosunhotels.com/hotels/montecasino/pages/overview.aspx.
HYATT HOTEL – 45-minutes drive to Lanseria
The style, standard and services you would expect from Hyatt. The hotel is located in Johannesburg’s northern suburb of Rosebank with a multitude of restaurants and shops in the immediate vicinity. Five Stars. http://www.johannesburg.regency.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels-johannesburg-regency/index.jsp?null
THE WESTCLIFF HOTEL – 50-minutes drive to Lanseria
The hotel, an Orient-Express establishment, is built on a high prominence giving a panoramic overview of Johannesburg. Elegant and luxurious. Five Stars. http://www.westcliff.co.za/web/ojnb/the_westcliff.jsp
OPTIONAL TOURS IN THE JOHANNESBURG AREA DURING PILOT VALIDATION PERIOD
If any of these tours are of interest, please let us know ahead of time.
CLASSIQUE AVIATION –
Tailored flight packages in classic airplanes as well as modern war birds and aerobatic aircraft. Options include: TopGun – Flight in a L29 Fighter Jet. Full aerobatic and Dog Flight sequence at the hands of the best jet pilots in South Africa. Tiger Time – Half- hour flight ina 1936 De Havilland Tiger Moth . High G Session – Flight in a Pitts special Aerobatic aircraft. Loops, rolls, spins and inverted flight. Need to Pre-book.
THE DeWILDT CHEETAH and WILDLIFE CENTRE -
The Centre was established in 1971 with the aim of breeding endangered species. Over the past two decades the Centre's efforts have resulted in the major achievement of breeding what was once a threatened species, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Additional projects include other rare and endangered animal species such as wild dog, brown hyaena, serval, suni antelope, blue and red duiker, bontebok, riverine rabbit and vultures - including the very rare Egyptian vulture. Many of these have been successfully bred for later reintroduction into the wild, thus helping to repopulate areas where such species have disappeared or are no longer abundant. Guided tours of the Centre in an open vehicle are conducted every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 8h30 and 1h30 respectively. These tours must be booked in advance. Cost approx.R245 – 345 depending on activity/tour chosen. Need to Pre- book. www.dewildt.org.za
ELEPHANT SANCTUARY -
Half day experience with elephant. Experts explain the habits of the elephant, their development and the state of the elephant population in Africa today. You get to touch various parts of the elephant. You walk hand to trunk with them and hand feed them. These elephant have been rescued from unfortunate situations, but are now in a safe and stimulating environment. Fascinating experience. Riding the elephants is also an option, either in the corral, or out in the bush. Cost Approx. R425 per person. www.elephantsanctuary.co.za
LION PARK –
Get close viewing of the lions at this park, as well as hyena, wild dog, cheetah, jackal, and several other species of game. Pet and cuddle lion cubs and feed their tame giraffe. Approx. R180 per adult. www.lion-park.com
LESEDI CULTURAL VILLAGE 'PLACE OF LIGHT'–
Lesedi is home to 4 African families each from a different cultural tradition, the Zulu Nation, the Xhosa, the Pedi and the Basotho. The tour consists of a walk through their respective villages with an explanation of their culture. Afterward view an excellent dance performance by the different traditions. The tour ends with a nice lunch which offers a taste of many of the traditional African foods. Www.lesedi.com
SOWETO (tour) - "Southwestern Township" -
Soweto is the largest black city in Africa. It was created during the apartheid years and continues to be home to some 4-million people. You’ll visit various sections such as the upper class section where Winnie Madikizela-Mandela lives, the middle-class area where Nelson Mandela lived prior to his imprisonment and Desmond Tutu lives (both Nobel Peace Prize winners), and squatter camps. Highlights include a visit to the Kliptown Youth Program - an organization that focuses on education and helping very poor young people escape poverty and become contributing citizens to the new South Africa. You might meet Thulani Madondo, the founder of the program who was 1 of the 10 CNN heroes of 2012. www.kliptownyouthprogram.org.za. You will visit the Hector Peterson Museum that details what happened in 1976 that started the concerted push to rid the country of Apartheid. You will go to Freedom square, in Kliptown SOWETO and read the Freedom Charter written in 1955 which is/was the guiding light for South African's. You will see an open air market, pass by the taxi stands, see Baragwaneth Hospital and many other sites that give you an idea and the feel of a township. SOWETO is a vibrant, friendly, complex and startling community. You might be surprised that some of the people you meet - the waiter or receptionist at your hotel, the AVIS transfer person, the one who pumps your avgas, or the shopkeeper live in SOWETO - whether in a proper house or in a shack. (South Africa has a terrible housing problem!) The tour really is a fascinating experience. Approx R900 depending on what included – lunch and/or tour of downtown Johannesburg. Need to Pre-book.
MUSEUM AFRIKA -
“This is the first major museum to attempt to give credit to the black’s contributions to the development of Johannesburg. An excellent exhibit traces the impact of gold on the lives of the black population, from the miners forced to live in male-only hostels to the burgeoning townships with their squatter camps, shebeens (bars), and vibrant jazz. Another exhibit covers the fight for democracy and the events leading to the elections that gave Nelson Mandela the presidency. The museum also has a first rate display of ancient San (Bushmen) rock art. “ – Fodor’s
APARTHEID MUSEUM –
A provocative and thoughtful look at the Apartheid era in South Africa, how it came to be, what it meant, and its eventual over throw. The design of the Museum and the exhibits makes it a great experience. www.apartheidmuseum.org R50 per person
SOUTH AFRICAN MILITARY MUSEUM –A major section of the Museum is focused on aviation and it has some very rare aircraft such as Me 262 B-1a/U1, the only night fighter version of this aircraft still in existence. R25 adults. www.militarymuseum.co.za
SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE MUSEUM –
A great display of aircraft. They have numerous projects underway to rehabilitate aircraft such as a De Havilland Vampire or a Harvard (T-6). www.saaffriends.co.za
ORIGINS CENTRE -
Located on the Witwatersrand University campus at Braamfontein, the museum houses a fascinating collection of San rock art, including paintings, engravings and artifacts. A visit sheds light on the birth of humankind, scientific facts and insights into the bushmen's spiritual beliefs plus lectures and workshops. Could spend the whole day her. It is excellent. www.origins.org.za R65 per adult.
CRADLE OF HUMANKIND (tours) –
Tours to the internationally famous fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. All tours are conducted by paleontologists working at the Witswaterstrand University. These include tours of the caves in which these famous fossils were discovered. We highly recommend these tours because they give a great perspective on early man and our human development in Africa. "Nowhere can you get a tour like this! iHominin, a company formed by American paleontologist Christine Steininger, offers tours to excite people of all ages while learning about our origins. This isn't just another tour to the Cradle of Humankind. This is a tour where you discover fossils, climb into a cave, and make stone tools just as our early ancestors did. Join Dr. Steininger in a journey into the past, detailing famous discoveries while sharing some of her own." Approx R750per person. Need to Pre-book.
WALTER SISULU NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS –
Take walks and have lunch at this beautiful botanical garden, where the rare black eagle nests. www.sanbi.org/frames/sisulufram.htm
CULLINAN DIAMOND MINE (tour) – Pretoria -
A surface tour by the mine management includes a visit to the small village of Cullinan to see some of the original miner’s cottages, as well as a program on the diamond mining industry.
A vibrant and colorful residential area homE to numerous art galleries such as the Everard Read Gallery, Kim Saxs Gallery and others along with an African craft market , cafes ad restaurants.