- City : 334.81 km² (129.27 sq mi)
- Calling : +27 (0) 11
- Currency : South African Rand (ZAR)
- (EST) City Population : 957,441
- Official Languages : English, Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa
- Time Zone : UTC/GMT+2
- Airport/s : OR Tambo, Lanseria
Tourists and local travellers have a massive range of airlines to fly with, departing and landing at OR Tambo. International airlines from all corners of the globe land at OR Tambo International and overseas visitors have the benefit of great cheap flights to other cities in the country with one of many domestic airlines.
Airlines landing at OR Tambo International Airport include the following among others:
- South African Airways
- Virgin Atlantic
- Cathay Pacific
- Air China
- Air Mauritius
- Qatar Airways
Five Reasons to Visit Johannesburg
- Birthed on the discovery of precious gold, Johannesburg is the country’s financial nerve centre, its largest and wealthiest city that’s cosmopolitan, alive, vibrant, and fast-paced.
- Land at bustling OR Tambo International Airport either from afar or on a cheap domestic flight. Situated close to the city in Kempton Park, meet friends for a quick coffee or meal before taking the Gautrain or a hired rental vehicle to your destination. Alternatively if you need to be in northern Johannesburg, land at the privately owned Lanseria Airport, located north of Randburg and Sandton.
- There’s a superb selection of accommodation comprising luxurious five-star to affordable three-star hotels, guest houses, B&Bs and backpackers. A great range of eateries offering cuisines both local and international, night-clubs, pubs, theatres, live music venues, casinos and more.
- For sunny days there are zoos, lakes, dams, parks, botanical gardens and the Vaal River to have fun, relax under lush trees, swim, go boating, canoeing, water-skiing or fishing.
- Tourists have no shortage of attractions in museums and galleries. There are numerous tours of Soweto that provide a real feel of township life including food and music. The city annually hosts, besides the renowned Rand Show, music, wine, beer and whiskey festivals, motor and fashion shows and a variety of sporting events all drawing local and international spectators and participants.
Places to Visit in Johannesburg
- A must see is the Apartheid Museum situated at Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Road in Johannesburg. It’s a world-class facility that demonstrates the country’s rise and fall of oppression and segregation including 20th century history.
- Soweto has much in history for visitors to experience. In Orlando West the Mandela Family Museum is the small house where Nelson Mandela lived from 1946 to 1962. With four connecting rooms it contains a variety of paintings and photographs of the family, an assortment of honorary doctorates received by Mr Mandela from universities and institutions around the globe and a boxing belt from the famous boxer, Sugar Ray Leonard. Just around the corner from Mandela’s home is the Hector Pieterson Museum situated two blocks from where 12 year old Hector Pieterson was shot and killed during the 1976 student uprising. Close by in Vilikazi Street, visit the house that Desmond Tutu, another South African icon, once lived. Not to be missed while in Soweto, located in Rockville is the Regina Mundi Catholic Church, built in 1961 it’s the largest Catholic Church in the country, capable of seating 2,000 with standing space for 5,000.
- Extremely popular is the Cradle of Humankind Site featuring a series of dolomite limestone caves that possess fossils of plants, animals and hominid ancestors.
- The Nelson Mandela Bridge in Smit Street, Johannesburg was opened in 2003 by Mr Mandela himself. It’s the largest cable-stayed bridge in the country with a length of 284 metres, it joins the CBD to Newtown. The bridge is a spectacular sight to see at night. Also in Newtown is the SABS World of Beer, the Workers Library Museum and the Museum Africa.
For an enjoyable night out there’s an excellent range of outstanding restaurants from casual to fine dining with live music and dancing. The Sandton/Sandown area alone has over thirty establishments comprising cuisines from all over the globe.
- To wine and dine in 1920s style and glitz, Chicago’s Piano Bar in Randpark Ridge has free live music evenings from Tuesday to Sundays with a different theme each night. Comprising a piano bar, indoor and alfresco dining areas, Al Capone’s sport and cigar bar upstairs only permits over 21s. Diners have a great selection of grills, seafood and mouth-watering desserts to indulge in.
- The Jazzed Up Radium Beer-hall in Orange Grove is one of the oldest in the city and attracts a lively crowd with fabulous entertainment. Well known for its Portuguese and Mozambican flavours in grills and seafood, patrons can listen to the blues on Wednesdays, jazz on Fridays or up and coming South African bands on Saturdays, the latter being the only night a cover charge is required.
- Katzy’s in Rosebank is a much frequented cigar lounge with a dining room and outstanding entertainment that showcases some of the country’s best musicians. Music evenings are Tuesday to Saturday with cover charges applicable Thursday to Saturday. The establishment shares a menu with The Grillhouse, allowing guests a great variety of starters, seafood, steaks and platters to satisfy their appetites.
- Browns of Rivonia, situated in the heart of Rivonia was once a rambling old farmhouse that today has one of the finest wine cellars in the country besides a superb African/European cuisine. Guests can dine indoors or outdoors on the patio with tranquillity, amidst lush greenery. The restaurant hosts wine evenings and is an ideal wedding venue. There’s no shortage of great nightclubs and bars to appreciate your favourite music
- The Blues Room located in Sandton is deemed to be the best place for blues and jazz, along with good food.
- Bassline in Newtown is well worth a visit for fabulous performances of the blues, soul and jazz including hip hop, African rap, reggae, kwaito and more.
- Nominated as being one the top 18 design inspired clubs in the world, Movida Club in Sunninghill is an all in one club with a cocktail lounge and theatre.
- Catz Pyjamas in Melville is a 24-hour bar and bistro that provides great night-time activities and partying. Visitors have an array of shopping alternatives whether seeking out souvenirs, the latest fashion or a piece of sparkling jewellery.
- Shopping at Hyde Park Corner in Jan Smuts Avenue is safe and relaxed in a sophisticated atmosphere where elegant and practical items can be purchased.
- For exotic fabrics at the lowest prices, the Oriental Plaza in Fordsburg has a wonderful selection of local and international brands on sale.
- A must for flea market lovers is the Rooftop Market in Rosebank, open every Sunday and public holiday from 09h30 to 17h00 and considered the best flea market in the country. It has over 500 stalls selling an enormous variety of goods that include antiques, quality clothing and arts and crafts.
- The Melrose Arch situated in Melrose Boulevard comprises stores for that exclusive gift as well as the popular Cocoa Diva, for specialised imported chocolates.
- For that special original glass item, the Ngwenya Glass Village located in Muldersdrift is an experience in itself. Become mesmerised with the art of glass blowing and then decide on which beautiful item of recycled glass you want to take home.
Bus: The colourful, comfortable Rea Vaya bus service was introduced to the build-up of the 2010 World Cup to provide a reliable transport service between downtown Johannesburg, Soweto and other townships. It has since expanded its services to the inner city, Newtown, Braamfontein and Auckland Park.
The Citysightseeing Joburg red buses commence from Park Station and travel to 11 top tourist attractions, some of which include Gandhi Square, the Carlton Centre Newtown and Gold Reef City. They generally operate from 09h00 to 18h00 with one-day tickets costing R170.
Taxi: You can jump into (provided there’s space) a Combi taxi costing between R6 and R10. In central Johannesburg avoid getting off at the taxi rank where mugging is rife.
Metered Taxis: You can phone for a metered taxi, find one at a rank or around entertainment and hotels spots, but they’re fairly expensive. Two reputable firms are Rose Taxis and Maxi Taxi Cabs.
Train: Gautrain links central Johannesburg from Park Station to the corporate districts of Sandton and Rosebank in the north, Pretoria and OR Tambo with numerous stops in between. Metro Rail is not advised.
Car Hire: There are plenty of reputable companies to hire a car from such as Avis, Bidvest Car Hire, Europcar, Sixt, Hertz and Budget based at both OR Tambo International and Lanseria airports including the city and the Sandton Gautrain station including surrounding suburbs.