Gold Reef City. Theme Park in Johannesburg, South Africa

Gold Reef City

Theme Park in Johannesburg, South Africa

Gold Reef city Photo © Lynda Guttengerg

Gold Reef City

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Gold Reef City covers over 12 hectares of land on a 19th-century gold mine, 5.0 miles away from the center of Johannesburg.
The theme park is located and based on what used to be the deepest gold mine in the world; started in 1886 in Witwatersrand (Wikipedia Article), and closed in 1971.
Today, the theme park is considered as the biggest on the continent; and is one that could rival with any other prestigious theme parks in the world with all of the unique attractions it offers.

History

Gold Reef City is built on Crown Mines' shaft number 14, a mine elaborated during the period of the gold rush of the 1880s, that gave birth to Johannesburg.
The discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand saw prospectors flooding the city from 1886. This led to the opening of the shaft a year later in 1887, which was still running, up until its shutdown 84 years later in 1971.

In 1987, South African billionaires, Ben Schutte and the Krok brothers created the theme park. It started as a mine tour at first; then, thrill rides were introduced.
The end of the apartheid in the early 90s created more opportunities for the park as it attracted a larger market.

In 2001, more attractions were added, like the Gold Reef City Casino with the Apartheid Museum, on a land adjoining the theme park.
Today, the park makes an annual revenue amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars per year, and receives millions of visitors every year.

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	City
Gold Reef City. Photo by Qaiser Islam

What to Do

The park offers many possibilities to entertain and educate yourself, while keeping your adrenaline level high. There is a substantial amount of water rides and roller coasters, some museums and recreational venues suited for families.

Their rides consist of about 30 thrill rides with a height restriction of 4 feet and above, among which:
  • The very popular Anaconda: It’s suitable for those in search of crazy sensations, as the ride curls like a snake, giving you the fright of your life.
  • The River Rapid: The only ride restricted to children under 4 feet. It’s a scenic ride, through a number of caves, old waterfalls while skimming on raging rapids.
  • The Jozi Express: This ride moves you across tree tops, and mine dumps while offering you an extraordinary view of Johannesburg and the CBD.
  • Tower of Terror: A ride taking you to a 164 feet drop at a speed of 62 miles per hour, straight into an open mine shaft.
  • Golden Loop: It propels you at 53 miles in only 3 seconds up to 131 feet high, only to take you down again at the same speed.
  • Gold Mine Tours: Consisting of different exhibits underground, by qualified tour guides; where it’s possible to see gold-containing ore vein. You’ll also have the privilege to see how real gold is poured into barrels.
  • The Gold Reef Casino: One of the most popular casinos in town, with the latest gaming technology, and live entertainment.
  • The Gold Rush Town: You’ll be guided through a typical mining accommodation in the 1880s, in Johannesburg. The everyday lives of prospectors and their bosses are recreated with accurate details, with their cooking tools, stoves, and other items that could have served in their way of life at home.
  • The Apartheid Museum: Built in 2001, where you’ll get some exclusive insights about the thrilling apartheid history.


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	Reef City's roller coaster ride - Gold Reef City
    Gold Reef City's roller coaster ride - Gold Reef City. Photo by George Groutas

    Where to Eat

    The theme park has excellent restaurants, fast food establishments, and several snack shops. Like Barneys Restaurant with their great variety of meals; the Dig Inn family restaurant; the burger specialist; Wimpy Burger, and a Mugg Bean; opened from breakfast until late at night.

    If you prefer fast food, try a delicious meat pie at King Pie; ice cream at the Milky Lane, or grilled chicken at the Barcelos.

    If you happen to spend time at the casino, feel free to try the Back o’ the Moon restaurant; the Boston BBQ buffet and family restaurant; the Ocean Basket with their seafood menu; or The Pavilion Coffee House.

    Accommodation

    Decent and pleasant accommodations can be found within the park. They offer amenities that will complement your visit to the park. The two hotels are:

    The Southern Sun Gold Reef City

    A small 4 star hotel, with only 38 rooms that are beautifully decorated, and where you'll get free Hi-Fi. Prices start from 1600 rands per person.

    The Gold Reef City Theme Park Hotel

    A hotel that reminds you — by the décor — of a mining town. With its 75 luxurious en-suite rooms, it is the perfect spot for the young and old. The particularity of the hotel is that it allows you to gain free access to the theme park. The rooms are equipped with minibars, satellite TV, air conditioner, free Wi-Fi, and a private swimming pool. Rooms start at 1450 rands a night.

    Entrance Fees and Visiting Hours

    All scheduled tours are conducted in the English language, and start from 9 AM till 15:00 PM. Each tour last approximately 2 hours.

    Gold Rush town - Gold
	Reef City
    Gold Rush town - Gold Reef City. Photo by Audlman61

    Tickets cost 700 rands per person and include all rides. You'll pay 500 rands for family tickets. If you want a mine tour included with your rides, you’ll have to pay an additional 100 rands fee. The heritage walking tours are 250 rands per people.

    How to Get There

    You can chose three safe alternatives to get to Gold Reef City.
    You can hire your own car at arrival, and reach Gold Reef City via the M1 Highway on the central business district.

    Or if you are skeptical about driving yourself around, buy a ticket for a “Joburg red bus”; for 400 rands at the Gautrain Park Station at stop number 1. You can also purchase the ticket on the bus with your credit or debit card, or online (which includes a discount). The bus schedule is available online and at their respective stops.

    You can also summon a metered taxi at your hotel reception, which would normally charge you around 500 rands for a round trip.

    Safety

    The site is normally a safe area, all thanks to the very strict rules and regulations put in place by its owners, and the supervision of its staff and security personnel.

    However, when living on the site, apply the normal safety guidelines, where you should be discreet with your belongings (money, gadgets, etc.). There should be no incidents, as the tour buses usually wait for the tourists right outside the park.

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    Author: Comasco. Last updated: Sep 25, 2014

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