Four great day trips from Johannesburg

With the cost of fuel having jumped in recent months, to over R20 per liter, driving to faraway vacation destinations has become expensive.

The Omicron variant that is spreading across the country also means that many of us don’t consider taking a local vacation due to high prices and fear of announcements of sudden restrictions or provincial border closures.


If you have some free time during the holidays and feel like getting out and exploring, there are a few convenient day trips you can do from Johannesburg this holiday season.

These are budget options as the destinations themselves are great for exploring on foot once you are there. They also offer a collection of historic buildings and other charming attractions. There are some great photo opportunities for avid photographers.

Here is a list of places that are close to Johannesburg by car, but not too far away that the cost of going there will break the bank.


Cullinan is located just 40 km from Tshwane and 100 km from Johannesburg. It’s located along the ‘Diamond Road’ in Gauteng Province, so it’s an easy day trip from Johannesburg or Tshwane (though provincial borders must be closed at all times during the holidays).

Cullinan relies heavily on tourism and the surface mine that dominates the skyline. The town is named after the diamond magnate Sir Thomas Cullinan. Cullinan is a tourist’s delight with its collection of restaurants, vintage shops, museums, and tours.


The small hamlet of Val is located about 160 km from Johannesburg or 50 minutes from Heidelberg in Gauteng. Val is one of the smallest, cleanest and prettiest towns in the Highveld.

The town is dotted with old buildings, including the Val Hotel and Museum, a restaurant and pub, a train station, a church and a cemetery. Everything can be explored on foot as the city has only three streets.

Val is an easy place to pass the time, with plenty of Instagram moments.


Parys is a town located on the banks of the Vaal River in the Free State. Its name is the Afrikaans translation for the French capital of Paris. Parys is located 110 km from Johannesburg, with a journey time of approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

Visitors can stroll around the city, enjoy the quaint shops and charming buildings. There are many restaurants offering a range of dining options. The city also has some original and beautiful old houses which offer wonderful photo opportunities.


The small town of Wakkerstroom, surrounded by wetlands that attract large numbers of bird species, is located south of Mpumalanga. The city is only 265 km from Johannesburg and can be reached in about two and a half hours.

Wakkerstroom is a tourist delight with its little “dorp” vibe, with weeping willows and pristine wetlands that have been declared an important area for birding and biodiversity.

There are a number of outdoor activities including fishing, bird watching, hiking, mountain biking and cycling.

About Mitchel McMillan

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