One of the recurring themes from this trip was the era of Apartheid. With it having been just over 20 years since its end, it is still fairly fresh in the minds of those who lived through it, and located across the street from the parking lot for the Gold Reef City Theme Park is the Apartheid Museum. Inside, it portrays the effects of the era of forced segregation, giving context to how it came about, all of the conflict that arose from it, and the efforts that are being taken to move past it.
Once you purchase your ticket, you also receive a card that tells you which entrance to take, either the white or non-white entrance. As you enter, you go through a hallway with images of the classification cards like those shown back at the District Six Museum in Cape Town. There are also old signs that informed people of which race were allowed at various venues.
Once through the opening hallway, you come into a courtyard that portrays the modern diversity of South Africa. There is also an open area that offers a view of the theme park across the street as well as the Central Business District of Johannesburg further away.
The main exhibition hall does not allow for photography, but it is an incredibly informative place as it goes in depth into the topic of apartheid. There is even a section near the end where you can watch video footage from the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where people who had killed family members of others were faced with those surviving members and they were there to tell the truth of what happened, as there were people who were not directly part of the conflict or the protests, and yet they were still caught-up in the violence. It was incredibly powerful and heartbreaking at the same time to see some of this footage, and it was amazing the way that some were able to offer forgiveness even though they had been wronged in such a way.
After a bit of time for the museum, I grabbed an Uber to make my way over to the Johannesburg Expo Centre for the Rand Show. This event was the main reason for the timing of my visit as I had plans to attend the event as that have a roller coaster that stays on site all year round, but operates only during this event. In a nutshell, the Rand Show is essentially like a state fair, only there are not many animals there. It’s more for local businesses as well as for special exhibits, and also the carnival that features the roller coaster.
One of the larger exhibits and demonstrations during the rand show is from the South African Armed Forces. They have a huge display of their military vehicles, and they do presentations for visitors to the show.
Circling around half of the expo center is a monorail that was quite popular. It may have had the longest line of anything inside of the Rand Show. So for this visit, I would take a pass on it.
The Rand Show also offers a variety of eateries to enjoy, and they had a stage for concerts and other shows as well in the center of the Expo Center.
Inside several buildings were different groups of exhibits and exhibitors, ranging from furniture sales, to recreational activities, to race cars. There was even a large display of various LEGO models.
Speaking of cars, what may have been the coolest thing you could do at the Rand Show was a ride along with drift car drivers. There were seats set up all around the pavement for those who just wished to watch, but those who wanted to get closer to the action could pay to go for a ride in one of the cars as they drifted around the course. It was a ton of fun to watch, but even more fun to take a spin…literally!
While these exhibits and attractions sure helped to make the Rand Show a fun event to attend, the original motivation for coming was, of course, the carnival.
There was a variety of rides for attendees to choose from, and it was a pay-per-ride set up with tickets purchased for the rides. While there were some staple rides that you could easily see in North American carnivals, there were a couple examples of “Never in America” type rides that had no fencing. The bumper cars had a bunch of people who were just sitting on the platform, even when the ride was operating!
And yes, there was a shameless coaster credit to be ridden. This one known as the runaway train. It was a fairly simple oval track, and was one that would go for several loops around. I may have been one of the only adults to ride it by himself…ever.
Another coaster that was featured in the carnival is the Speed Track. This Zierer Flitzer offers a fun ride with quick turns as it speeds though the course.
The main attraction of the carnival, the Looping Star. This Schwarzkopf looping coaster features a layout like that of the Scorpion at Busch Gardens in Tampa with some high g-forces through its vertical loop. Much like the coasters of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, its said that this coaster stays on site at the Expo Centre year round.
And now that this stop has been made, that would leave one last place for coasters to be ridden in South Africa, and that is back at Gold Reef City, which comes next.
See more of 2018 South Africa Trip:
1: Flight to Atlanta & Delta Flight Museum / 2: Arrival to South Africa / 3: First Day in Durban /
4: Second Day in Durban / 5: Last Day in Durban / 6: V&A Waterfront / 7: Cape Town City Sightseeing Tours /
8: Table Mountain / 9: Ratanga Junction / 10: Rugby at Newlands Rugby Stadium / 11: Cape Town Walking Tours /
12: Cape of Good Hope / 13: Boulders Beach Penguins / 14: The Last of Cape Town / 15: Cape Town Water Shortage /
16: Sightseeing Around Johannesburg / 17: More Johannesburg Sightseeing / 18: Botswana Day Trip /
19: Kruger National Park, Day 1 / 20: Kruger National Park, Day 2 / 21: Kruger National Park, Day 3 /
22: Gold Reef City Resort & Amenities / 23: Apartheid Museum & Rand Show / 24: Gold Reef City Theme Park /
25: The Return Home