- For other places with the same name, see Johannesburg (disambiguation).
Johannesburg (also Jo'burg, Egoli or Jozi) is a large metropolis and South Africa's largest city. Once regarded as South Africa's crime capital in the turbulent nineties, the city has shook off that reputation led by its youthful exuberant population and a growing black middle class, not to mention the omnipresent soundtrack of Amapiano and house music.
With a wealth of historic sights and neighborhoods to explore, there's enough to fill a visit of days, weeks, or even months before getting a true feel for the city. Joburg is a city on the move where the most ambitious of South Africans (and Africans more broadly) come to seek opportunity in the big city.
Johannesburg is split into eight administrative regions. These exclude the city of Ekurhuleni which traditionally was considered part of Johannesburg but has been split for administrative purposes. Although this list is not exhaustive, the main areas in Joburg are:
- Inner City (which encompasses the tourist areas of Braamfontein, Maboneng, Newtown and Fordsburg)
- Old Joburg (which encompasses Melville, Greenside, Killarney, Emmarentia, Parktown, Houghton and others)
- Sandton (the new city centre including Rivonia, Fourways and Sunninghill)
- Randburg ( which encompasses Northcliff, Linden, Weltevreden Park, Bordeaux,Greymont)
- Soweto — home of the Nelson Mandela National Museum
- Midrand ( which encompasses Waterfall City and Kyalami)
- Roodepoort (the West - which encompasses the Cradle of Humankind, Muldersdrift and Lanseria Airport)
- South Johannesburg - Alberton, Rosettenville, Brackendowns, Turfontein, etc.
Johannesburg has a population of almost 4.4 million people in the urban area (2011), half of which live in Soweto and adjacent suburbs. The majority of the population is formed by South Africa's black residents who mostly live in Soweto, while white residents amount to 500,000 (although the number is likely to be higher). There are also around 300,000 residents of other descent, including Africa's largest ethnic Chinese community. The city is also home to two Chinatowns; the original one on Commissioner Street has shrunk dramatically since its heyday, but still has a few shops and business run by the small community of South African Chinese, while a newer and larger Chinatown in the suburb of Cyrildene is largely populated by immigrants and expatriates from China. Unlike other South African cities, no language group dominates, although English is the established lingua franca.
The city is the economic hub of South Africa, to some extent for the rest of Africa. Yet the city's wealth is unequally distributed among its inhabitants causing the city to have, within its own borders, living conditions varying from first world standards to third world conditions. The contrast between rich and poor has led to one of the highest crime rates in the world. The more affluent tend to live in houses with a high level of security by western standards, whilst the less affluent live in less desirable housing conditions. That said crime rarely deters from daily life, especially for visitors who have little reason to visit the city's rough areas. Many South Africans choose to live here over other, safer parts of the country.
There are many things that are unique to Johannesburg. It features a distinct street entrepreneurship, and motorists can buy things from vendors selling goods at traffic lights, as in many other developing-world cities. This includes food, umbrellas, soccer balls, cellular phone accessories and many other goods. Barber shops consisting of nothing but a chair and an enthusiastic barber can be found on the sides of roads, although they tend to specialize in African rather than Caucasian hair. Mine dumps can also be seen throughout the city and are a reminder of the city's legacy of gold mining. These dumps are fast disappearing as new gold extraction techniques have made it profitable for mining companies to reprocess these dumps.
With around 6 million trees, Johannesburg is most likely the world's largest man-made urban forest. The city is certainly one of the greenest in the world, considering that the natural landscape is savannah.
The weather is generally regarded as excellent; temperatures reach the mid-30s Celsius (95°F) in the summer months (Dec-Feb) with little to no wind and with occasional, spectacular afternoon thunderstorms. Temperatures in winter can drop below freezing but snow is extremely rare. The city is at an altitude of 1750 metres above sea level so newcomers can easily get out of breath.
By far the easiest way to find your bearings in Johannesburg is by finding the two telecommunication towers on the horizon. The Hillbrow tower is located near the city centre while the Brixton tower (also called the Sentech tower) is located out to the west of the city. Since they are both tall towers located on high ground and easily distinguishable from other structures and each other, they make excellent landmarks.
- If the Hillbrow tower is to the left of the Brixton tower, then you are in the north
- If the Hillbrow tower is closer than the Brixton tower, then you are in the east
- If the Brixton tower is to the left of the Hillbrow tower, then you are in the south
- If the Brixton tower is closer than the Hillbrow tower, then you are in the west
Depending on your location, you may also see a cylindrical building (Ponte City Apartments) located close to the Hillbrow tower.
There is a ring road system of freeways, with the city centre located at the centre of the ring. The ring is formed by the N1 on the north and west, the N3 on the east and the N12 on the south. The ring is dissected north/south by the M1 freeway and partially dissected east/west by the M2 freeway.
- N1 from Cape Town and Harare in Zimbabwe
- N3 from Durban
- N4 from Mbombela and the Kruger National Park, as well as Botswana
- N12 from Kimberley and Potchefstroom
- N14 from Upington and Namibia
Traffic can be particularly bad during peak hours (M-F 06:30-09:00 and 15:30–18:30) so plan your journey accordingly. Accidents are frequent and can cause delays at any time of the day and night. Take extra care if you are taking a car to OR Tambo airport as accidents are frequent on at the Gillooly's Interchange and on the R24 towards the airport.
Traffic has been getting worse, and traffic jams may delay your journey. As the city is large and spread out, getting around may require covering large distances e.g. from Midrand to Soweto is over 45 km (28 mi).
- 1 O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB IATA) (formerly called Johannesburg International and before that Jan Smuts Airport, these old names are still commonly used), ☏ . The main airport for Johannesburg. It is the busiest airport in Africa and is the connecting hub for flights to other cities in Southern Africa. There are many flights to Johannesburg from international hubs, especially London. Most flights from Europe are overnight and arrive in the early morning. If you arrive on one of these flights be prepared for very long waits at immigration. Remember your yellow fever certificate if you are flying from a high risk area.
Terminal A is for international flights, and B domestic. When flying out some international flights may have their check-in in Terminal B, but will still leave from Terminal A. The two terminals are adjacent to each other and a 5-minute indoor walk apart.
The airport is located to the east of Johannesburg, 24 km (15 mi) from the city centre. There is a highspeed train to Sandton and Pretoria (see below) from the airport. If you are taking a taxi, keep walking straight until you exit the building and then turn left until you see a long line of taxis (mainly Mercedes) with yellow taxi signs on their roof. These are licensed taxis with meters (tell the driver the address and insist on using the meter before you get in the car). Do not go with anyone who approaches you offering a taxi while you are inside the airport building, these are unlicensed touts, and you'll end up paying more. If you are staying in a hotel, try to get the hotel to send a shuttle to pick you up (though it may cost).
For getting money try to avoid the many banks and money changers on the left of the arrivals door: They display the exchange rates but don't indicate their excessive "commissions" that can reduce what you actually get by 10% or more - this is the case at all banks and bureaux de change in South Africa. Better to use the ATM machines to withdraw cash (South African ATMs do not charge fees for withdrawals). The ATM machines are located one floor higher up in the airport, in the retail mall where there are many shops and restaurants.
- 2 Lanseria International Airport (HLA IATA). Johannesburg's other airport that caters for passengers on commercial airlines. It is privately owned unlike O.R. Tambo which is run by the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). Situated northwest of Johannesburg, it is reachable from the Sandton, Pretoria, Westrand and Midrand regions, but can be traffic hell to get there. Fewer airlines fly to this airport and it is mostly used for regional, corporate and diplomatic passage. There are however regular flights from Lanseria on some of the budget airlines such as Mango.
The airport is mainly for smaller charter, cargo and classic airlines flights, it is in fact busier than Johannesburg International and sees more air traffic. Kulula.com flies to Cape Town from the airport.
For South African travel and discounted fares you can search for: Discount airlines in Africa airlines like Mango and Kulula.
- Rand Airport (QRA IATA) is primarily a business and general aviation airport.
- Grand Central Airport (GCJ IATA) - Located just off the N1 between Johannesburg and Pretoria this airport is primarily a business and general aviation airport.
Johannesburg is South Africa's hub for rail travel. While the national network is rather small, there are extensive rail services from nearby cities within the Gauteng region.
Shosholoza Meyl is the national passenger service with regular intercity trains from most major cities. Daily (expect Mondays) overnight services links Johannesburg with Cape Town via Kimberley, taking just over 24 hours. Other frequent services includes overnight trains from Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth via Bloemfontein. There are no international trains to Johannesburg but a weekly train runs from Komatipoort, next to the border with Mozambique where a train connects with Maputo. Also, a twice-weekly train runs from Musina, at the border with Zimbabwe, via Polokwane. Most services have both economy reclining seats and sleeper compartments as well as a dining car.
Gautrain is the new high-speed train between Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo airport. A fantastic, first-world-quality train service takes just 15 minutes from airport to Sandton. From Marlboro or Sandton stations you can connect to Pretoria or Park station. Very secure - lots of cameras and guards on the trains and platforms. Fares are reasonable except if going to or from the airport - where an additional R80 is slapped on the fare. Don't try and walk to or from the nearby Rhodesfield gautrain station to avoid this surcharge - it's dangerous and a gauntlet of freeways and flyovers.
MetroRail operates frequent commuter trains to many suburbs and outlying towns. As Metrorail operates services in several separate cities, for operational purposes it is subdivided into five regions. The Witwatersrand region is the region that covers the greater Johannesburg Metropolitan area. Trains run from Johannesburg and Germiston outwards to Springs, Pretoria, Soweto and Krugersdorp. Metrorail is much cheaper than Gautrain but not as safe - as a tourist you should choose the more expensive Gautrain option.
- 3 Johannesburg Park Station, Rissik Street. The central station and is in the city centre between Rissik (west), Wolmarans (north), Wanderers (east) and De Villiers (south) streets, it occupies several blocks. Whilst the station itself is quite safe, the areas around it may not be. Try to organise onward transport prior to arrival, even if it's just a short walk from the station. It's best to ask local people about any other public transport before you use it. Gautrain has a station located nearby, it's connected with Park Station via an underground station. As usual with Gautrain, security (cameras and guards) are plentiful.
Long-distance buses arrive at Park Station or at the new Johannesburg International Transport Interchange, located a few blocks west of Park station. All major bus companies provide a service to and from Johannesburg. A few of these include:
- Greyhound the bus service is offering services to destinations all over South Africa.
- Intercape, a major carrier in Southern Africa with routes from most major cities within SA and neighboring countries.
- Translux, their route network extends to many South African destinations and major cities in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- Magic Bus, Focuses on short distance transportation, i.e. scheduled airport shuttling.
- S.A Roadlink has coaches travelling to and from major major city centers in South Africa.
- The Baz Bus offers a hop-on, hop-off service aimed at backpackers. It runs from Johannesburg to Durban via the Drakensberg, and then continues along South Africa's coast to Cape Town.
- Eldo Coaches have buses from Johannesburg to East London for R300. and Johannesburg to Cape town from R450.
- Eagle Liner have buses from Johannesburg to Bulawayo Zimbabwe for R330.
- 4 Johannesburg International Transport Interchange, 66 Harrison St.
Johannesburg was a city built for the car and so public transport is in the development process. The Gautrain (a speed train not part of the metro system) is a good, clean and safe way to jump fast between the airport, Malboro, Midrand, Rosebank, Pretoria and Centurion. There are buses and minicabs on the streets, but there tends to be no designated stops, so buses may be flagged down on main roads such as Oxford street and Jan Smuts. They can be unsafe, but larger double decker metro bus are easy to use all along Oxford, starting in Gandhi Square, going through Killarney, Rosebank, Illovo, Sandton, Rivonia and Sunninghill (bus no. 5C and 5D). Generally, it is a bad idea to make use of minibus taxis unless accompanied by locals. The other bus alternatives, are orange putco buses, coming more regularly than the metro buses and its slightly more expensive. Lastly there are the Gautrain feeder buses connected to the Gautrain, these have quite extensive routes from each station - these can be found easily on the gautrain website or mobi site. The problem is that buses are quite problematic on weekends and public holidays, Gautrain buses do not run, Metro buses have two route runs, and putco buses are at a complete halt. This is when the train would be a good alternative, or rent a car.
Renting a car will give you the best flexibility and opportunity to tour the city, however driving is fast paced, but by no means difficult as long as you stay alert. Heavy traffic into Sandton in the morning (06:30 to 09:00) from all directions leading towards Sandton and in the afternoon all routes leading out of Sandton (15:30 to 18:30) in all directions could delay your journey by up to 2 hours, so plan accordingly.
Renting a car is your best option if you are a confident driver, as the city's public transport is very, very limited. It is worth buying a good road map of Johannesburg, using a GPS (available when you rent a car) and planning your trips carefully before setting out. The city is large and somewhat poorly signposted. Make sure to be exceptionally clear with your rental agency what types of things are covered by their insurance plans. The phrase "full coverage" doesn't necessarily mean full coverage. Traffic can be aggressive, and minibus taxis in particular often defy the rules of the road.
Like any big city, there are some areas of Johannesburg that you don't want to stray into if you look like a tourist or don't have enough fuel to get out of. Many areas have high rates of violent crime, and carjacking is a real risk; it is therefore often advised that you should not stop at traffic lights after dark. Ask advice. Local numberplates start with "GP" (Gauteng Province). If your car has any other numberplate, then you will advertise yourself as being from "out-of-area". If in doubt, stop at a police station and ask them for directions.
From the airport: stay on the freeway between the airport and Sandton, and don't divert through the townships and Alexandra on London Road. A GPS following the fastest route will usually divert around the townships, but it pays to know where you are going. (If you are coming from the airport and you are afraid of getting this wrong, carry on past Marlboro Drive with the N3 (which becomes the N1) until you reach Rivonia road. Then turn left/south and this will take you straight into Sandton, bypassing any townships.)
- Europcar Car Hire, ☏ , [email protected]. Car rentals in Johannesburg and Johannesburg Airport.
- Pace Car Rental, ☏ , [email protected]. Long-term car rental in Johannesburg and Sandton; cars, bakkies and minibuses.
- Rent a Wreck, ☏ , [email protected]. Very cheap car rental. The cars are old but are reliable.
- Exeque Car Rental, ☏ , [email protected]. Long-term rentals only.
- 1 Xtreme Car Rental, 18 Herman Road, Meadowdale, ☏ , [email protected]. 06:00-18:00. Cash Car Rental Johannesburg.
Parking (on the roadside) is often free in the sense that there is no meters, however there is often an local car guard that well keep an eye on your car for a few rand. Try to park in an well-lit space and always plan ahead, it's not a good idea to park far away from your destination. When available, use an secure parking area. All Gautrain stations have safe and secure parking, although a tad expensive.
Public transport in Johannesburg is provided by city buses and informal minibus services. Bus (other than Gautrain buses and the City Sightseeing ones) is not a viable option if you are a foreign tourist/business visitor unfamiliar with South Africa and Johannesburg in particular. Large blue city buses run up and down the main roads and mini buses can be flagged down on the side of the street although they are not the best mode of transport as they are unreliable and often associated with crime. These should not be used unless you are very familiar with the way of life in South Africa and the basic geography of Johannesburg.
- Rea Vaya. This bus rapid transit (BRT) is designed to offer a safe, secure and affordable public transport system on main routes to and from the city. Rea Vaya has dedicated bus lanes and stops every 500 m. Smaller buses (feeders) and taxis will add value to transport people to and from the main routes.
- Metrobus, ☏ . Providing bus traffic in the Johannesburg region. Buses are available but routes and times are somewhat limited by western standards.
- Minibus taxis. should be avoided unless you are with a local: the routes are very confusing, and drivers will often say 'yes' when you ask 'are you going to X?' so that they get your money, and then drop you at some crossroads and say 'change here'. Thus if you travel with minibuses it's safer to ask directions from the other passengers, not the driver - people are generally very friendly and will help you out. Minibuses are frequently not roadworthy (although they are in much better condition than in most of the rest of Africa) and involved in fatal accidents. Extreme and violent competition between minibus taxi drivers has resulted in affordable transportation for the masses.
- City Sightseeing, ☏ . While not really public transportation, the City Sightseeing bus tours some of the city's most prominent tourist attractions (Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, Braamfontein, etc.) and can therefore be used as an alternative to car and taxi. Tour starts at "The Zone" in Rosebank.
- Gautrain, toll-free: 0800 428 87246. In addition to the train, Gautrain runs an extensive bus network that feeds passengers to the different Gautrain stations. The buses are safe and can be used by tourists, but as always, plan ahead and know where you are going. There is no weekend service.
Foreigners are advised to use only normal sedan taxis (metered or fixed-price taxes that transport only you and your travel partners), as minibus taxis have a reputation for being rather unsafe. The minibus taxis, however, are very cheap and are the quickest way between two points. It provides an authentic experience but if you are using these, you must understand the risks. Using these relies mostly on a variety of local hand signals, and should only ever be used if travelling with a local. Metered taxis are not as abundant as many big cities but are available and in most cases, need to be called before hand. This could incur long delays as you wait for the taxi. Unless you are visiting for a very short time, it would be worth your while to rent a car. Uber, an app-based taxi company, is also a viable alternative for getting around, although the company is highly unpopular with local taxi companies, with reports of violence against both drivers and passengers.
In general all the taxi operators collude with one another and fix prices, so taxis are not cheap or metered. Haggling is usual so it is best to agree a price when you phone. Do not rely on taxi ranks in shopping malls as often there are none. Always have a few taxi telephone numbers and cash with you so you avoid being stranded anywhere. If you have a local SIM, Uber offers better pricing and service than taxis.
- Sandton Taxi Cabs (Pty) Ltd, ☏ . Transport company offering chauffeur services, airport transfers, day tours & 24hrs taxi services.
- Airport Link, ☏ . Fixed price airport transfer service.
- Elias, ☏ . Friendly taxi driver based in the CBD.
- Magicbus, ☏ . Offers shuttle services between OR Tambo Airport and Sandton. They also offer door-to-door transfers. A bit expensive for the single traveller but reasonable when travelling in groups.
- Maxi Taxi, ☏ . Reputable taxi firm based in Yeoville.
- Roses Taxi, ☏ . Operates throughout the city.
- Zebra Cabs, ☏ . Operates throughout Johannesburg. Every car is equipped with a GPS. R11/km.
- Uber, app-based (available for Android and iOS).
Metrorail Gauteng runs an extensive commuter train network with stations in most districts, however trains are often crowded and has a reputation of being unsafe. The high-speed Gautrain can be used for travel between the Inner city and Sandton.
Did you know?
At 222 m the Carlton Centre is the tallest building in Africa, but not the tallest structure. Both the Hillbrow (270 m) and Sentech (234 m) towers in Johannesburg are taller than the Carlton. The tallest structure in Africa is the 301-m SASOL chimney in Secunda followed closely by two 300-m smoke stacks at the Duvha Power Station outside Witbank.
Central Business District (CBD)
The Central Business Direct regeneration accelerated in the run up to the 2010 World Cup and there are many areas of the inner city which are visitable. The central area's poor reputation is no longer deserved. City planners are using art as the cornerstone of the CBDs redevelopment and there are numerous galleries and art spaces popping up across the CBD. The city centre is the most-visited part of Johannesburg for African tourists, particularly the traders who come to shop at Johannesburg's wholesale outlets.
Newtown and the Market Theatre area (the city's cultural precinct) is now easily accessible from the highway and Mandela Bridge and very fun; here you will find live music venues and bars too. Braamfontein - the university area - has a great Saturday market, lively night life, is very artsy. By day there's nothing here.
On the east side of the city, Main Street Life, Maboneng Precinct and Arts on Main (especially the Sunday market and The Bioscope independent cinema). The Maboneng area has 24-hr security so you can freely walk around the streets, just be sure not to stray away too far. Troyeville has a fantastic restaurant at the Troyeville Hotel, an art centre and all the main sport stadiums (football, tennis, athletics, rugby).
On the west side, Fordsburg is the formerly-Indian now known as “little Somilia” and “ Eithiopia Town” part of central Joburg and has some Indian and Pakistani restaurants as well as African street food, shops and markets. Good food is to be found in this neighbourhood, which, by Johannesburg's standards, shows signs of street life in the evenings, and more so on Friday and Saturday. Most places are halal, and so no alcohol is served. The Oriental Plaza shopping mall is here and has good bargains.
In the centre of town, between Jeppe St and Bree Street at Delvers Street, look up and see the Amharic script which denotes that you are in the Ethiopian/Somali part of town - there are Ethiopian restaurants and coffee shops located in the Africa Mall and Johannesburg Mall. Best to arrive before 14:00.
To the north east, Yeoville is known as Le Petit Kinshasa and is home to many of the Francophone African diaspora in Johannesburg. Lots of Camerounian restaurants and Congolese bars.
Hillbrow has a bad reputation for drug dealing, sex bars, crime, etc., but is slowly improving - if you visit Constitution Hill, or Johannesburg Art Gallery, Hillbrow is right across the street, not that scary. Empty your pockets and go for a walk to the base of the Hillbrow Tower on a Sunday morning - stay on the main streets and keep your wits about you - and don't carry anything that is worth stealing. Certainly an interesting experience. Worth watching Louis Theroux's Law and Disorder in Johannesburg before your visit.
- City Sightseeing with its red buses has arrived to Johannesburg as well. A perfect way to see the inner city in a very safe and convenient way. The company discontinued its free walking tours in May 2018.
- Top of Africa, Carlton Centre, 150 Commissioner St (Take the elevator from the second floor to the fiftieth), ☏ . 08:00 to 19:00 daily. Get a panoramic view of the city from the top of Africa's tallest building R7.50.
- Johannesburg Art Gallery, Corner of Klein and King George streets, Joubert Park, ☏ . The biggest gallery on the African continent with a good collection of local and international work on display. And it's free.
- Standard Bank Gallery, Corner Simmonds and Frederick Streets, ☏ . M-F 08:00 to 16:30, Sa 09:00-13:00. Entrance is free.
- Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Electric Workshop building, cnr Miriam Makeba and President street, Newtown, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. M-F 09:00-17:00, weekends and public holidays 09:00-16:30. Adults: R20, children: R10.
- Origins Centre - The South African Museum of Rock Art, Yale Road, University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, ☏ , [email protected]. M-Sa 09:00-17:30. A museum in Africa for the people of the world. An excellent multimedia display of the rock art and the origins of humankind. Good curio shop, book shop and coffee shop. Students R40. Adults R80.
In the plush north, the suburbs of Greenside, Houghton, Parktown North, Parkhurst, Killarney, Rosebank, Illovo, Melrose North, Atholl, Sandown, Sandton, Morningside, Fourways and Randburg are green, leafy and pleasant - and safe and comforting to first-world visitors, most have large shopping malls of some description, and some have a walkeable main street with cafes, boutiques and grocery shops.
- Johannesburg Planetarium, Yale Road, Entrance 10, University of the Witwatersrand, Milner Park, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. See their website for upcoming shows. R16-25, depending on show.
- South African National Museum of Military History, Erlswold Way, Saxonwold (Next to the Johannesburg), ☏ , [email protected]. daily 09:00-16:30. A good collection of military hardware, including one of very few ME 262 jet fighters from WW2 still in existence. There is also a huge South African built G6 self-propelled, 155mm howitzer on show. A snack shop as well as a shop selling genuine and reproduction vintage military equipment is located within the museum. R20 entrance fee.
- James Hall Museum of Transport, Pioneers' Park, Rosettenville Road, La Rochelle, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. Largest museum dedicated to transport in South Africa. Free entrance.
- Chérie De Villiers Gallery, Lower Level, Rosebank Mall, Rosebank, ☏ , [email protected]. Art by South African artists.
- The Apartheid Museum, ☏ . A very moving and informative trip through South Africa's turbulent past and present. It takes at least a half day to go through and includes video, pictures and many artifacts that you can easily spend a day looking through. It is located alongside Gold Reef City and is a must-see.
Soweto is an increasingly popular destination for travellers from around the world. Take a tour or just drive in yourself using GPS set to Vilakazi Street: the road infrastructure and signs are excellent. You can stop off at Maponya Mall and join the Sowetan middle classes as they entertain themselves with retail and movies.
- Township Tour to Soweto, a tour that will take you around the densely populated but vibrant town of Soweto. Use only official operators and do not go on your own.
- 1 Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens (The gardens can be tricky to find as it is not well signposted from the main roads. From the N1 get onto Hendrik Potgieter at exit 80 (Roodepoort/M8 14th Ave). Follow the signs indicating Tarlton (M47) to the north. Pass Clearwater mall, turn left into Handicap Road and right into Malcolm Road where you see the first signpost for the gardens. The gardens will be on your left a couple of hundred meters from here.), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. One of the last green areas remaining within Johannesburg. Lots of birds, including the endangered Black Eagle. There is a restaurant situated within the grounds as well as picnic and braai areas. R25 per person, discounts for students and pensioners.
- Constitution Hill. Located downtown on the eastern edge of Braamfontein the site of the notorious Old Fort prison complex. In a similar vein to the Apartheid Museum the South African Constitutional Court set around the infamous Fort prison is a fascinating place well worth a visit - part courtroom, part museum and part art gallery. Free.
- 2 South African Lipizzaners, 1 Dahlia Road, Kyalami (Follow the N1 towards Pretoria, take exit 108 Midrand, R561 Allandale Road towards Kyalami. Kyalami Road and Main Road intersects at the entrance to the Kyalami racetrack, turn right here. At the second traffic light, turn left and follow Main Road, look out for Maple Road to your right. Turn right into Maple Road and right again into Crocus Road), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Other than Vienna, this is the only place you will ever got to see performing Lipizzaners recognized by the Spanish Riding School. Booking can also be done via Computicket.
- Lesedi Cultural Village (Just past the Lanseria Airport on the R512), ☏ . Traditional dances and food in authentic Zulu, Sotho, Pedi, Xhosa and Ndebele villages.
- Lion & Safari Park, R114 near the corner with Malibongwe (old Hans Strijdom Drive) (R512), Honeydew (From the N1, take exit 90, Randburg/R512 Malibongwe (old Hans Strydom Dr.) and follow this north for 12 kilometers past Kya Sands. At the Traffic Light for R114, take a right turn. The Lion Park is six hundred meters down the road on the right.), ☏ , [email protected]. The entrance ticket gives you a visit with the lion cubs (yes, you get to touch them), feed the giraffe (R20 for giraffe food) and a self-drive game viewing through the lion camps and game area (antelope, zebra, giraffe and others live here). The Lion Park can be very busy over weekends and public holidays. If you want some quality time with the lion cubs, it is better to go during the week when it is not so busy. If you are going to drive through the lion enclosures, make sure there are no loose objects on the outside of your vehicle and keep your windows closed. The lions are especially fond of 4x4 spare wheel covers, so remove these before you enter. R210 per person.
- Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, Karee Kloof (R54 South from Johanneburg towards Vereeniging, take the Kliprivier/Heidelberg offramp, go left, then right at 4way stop, left at next 4way stop,and the left at T-junction, on the left, follow signboards (approx 1 hour drive)). Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is one of Gauteng’s premier ecotourism destinations. Set just a short distance from Johannesburg, an hour's drive from Johannesburg International Airport and near the historical town of Heidelberg, this reserve boasts a representative sample of the fauna and flora of the Rocky Highveld Grassland biome. With 134 km² of unspoiled natural environment and a mountain range characterised by meandering twists and turns of hiking trails, the reserve offers an unbelievably refreshing break from the bustling city life. Here, the altitude varies between 1,545 and 1,917m above sea level.
- 3 Montecasino Bird Gardens, Montecasino Boulevard (Cnr William Nicol and Witkoppen Roads), Fourways (From the N1, take exit 95 (Marked: 95 Sandton/R511 William Nicol Dr.) and head north, cross over Leslie Ave and turn right into Mentecasino Blvd.), ☏ . Open weekdays from 8:30AM to 5PM and weekends from 8:30AM to 6PM. Many birds and other small wildlife. Also look out for the 2500 year old tree located near the parrots. Flight of Fantasy Shows at 11AM and 3PM weekdays and 11AM, 1PM and 3PM on weekends.
- 4 Old Kromdraai Gold Mine, Kromdraai Road, Krugersdorp. 9:00 to 16:00 weekends, by appointment during the week. Visit a gold mine such as the Old Kromdraai Gold Mine. The Kromdraai Gold Mine was one of the first gold mines on the Witwatersrand (the Johannesburg area today) and is situated in an unspoilt rural setting about 60 minutes drive from Johannesburg International airport and 40 minutes from Johannesburg city. R100 adults, R50 children.
- 5 Gold Reef City, Northern Parkway, Ormonde (From the M1 South, take exit 5, Johannesburg/M17 Xavier Street and follow Crownwood Rd until intersection with Northern parkway. Turn right into Northern Parkway and follow that road for about 1 km), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. An amusement park with a casino. The visitor can also learn about gold mining and go into a mine here (about 200 deep, too clean). Unfortunately Gold Reef isn't a theme-park of international standards so if you are expecting "Disney Land Africa" give it a miss.
- Ferreira's Mine, Standard Bank Centre, 5 Simmonds St, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Open during normal banking hours 8AM to 4PM. This bank literally sits on gold. An old abandoned gold mine from the late 19th century was rediscovered during construction of the Standard Bank head office in the 1980s. After taking the access tunnels of the mine into account, construction continued over it. Portions of the original mine as well as the new museum associated with it, have been opened to the public. Entrance is free.
- Workers Museum, Newtown Park, Jeppe st, Newtown (Travel Nelson Mandela Bridge, left into Carr st then right into Miriam Makeba st, cross over Jeppe st and parking is on your right. Entrance is from Newtown Park.), ☏ . Tuesday to Sunday 9AM to 5PM. The Workers Museum is a site specific museum and is be housed in the Newtown Compound on Mary Fitzgerald Square, Johannesburg. The Newtown Compound is one of the last surviving examples of municipal compounds for black male workers. The City Council built the compound in 1913 to house migrant workers who worked first for the Sanitary Department and then later at the nearby power station.; The Museum tells the story of Migrant Labourers who came to Johannesburg to find work. Having left their homes and families, black migrant workers faced slave-like conditions shown by the original dormitories, concrete bunks and punishment room at the old compound building. The museum reveals the hardships of workers under the migrant labour system, a cornerstone of apartheid, from the early 1900s through to the 1970s, when the system of job reservation began to breakdown. More positively it shows the vibrancy and creative resilience of migrant worker's culture. Oral history interviews and individual stories are combined with archival photographs and documents as well as a newly commissioned documentary on Migrant Labour. Free.
- Sophiatown Heritage Tours (Sophiatown Heritage & Cultural Centre), 73 Toby Street, Sophiatown (Close to Melville/Westdene), ☏ . Open: 10h00 – 16h00 (Tues, Wed, Fri); 10h00 – 18h00 (Thurs); 10h00 – 13h00 (Sat). Sophiatown’s history makes it one of the most significant stories in South Africa’s recent past – a site of forced removal prior to those of Cato Manor, District 6 and others all over our nation. Sophiatown’s mix of political, literary, music, social, criminal and cultural “movers and shakers” provided a backdrop for perhaps the most immortalized period in Johannesburg’s history Walking tours start from the original 1930s former house of Dr AB Xuma and takes you back to those times – see where Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa and Stompie Manana’s talents came to light; encounter the stories of removal and rebirth, experience the heady talent of Don Mattera and Can Themba, listen to the street life tales immortalized in song and dance. 2 hours Entrance: R25 Adult/ R10 Child: Group tours, school programmes; R60 Adult/R30 Child: Guided Walking tour of Sophiatown.
- [formerly dead link] Alexandra Bicycle Tour, Alexandra, ☏ . Bike through Alexandra, one of the oldest townships in the Johannesburg area. Your guide will tell the story about Alexandra and you will be able to speak with the locals. Be aware that the altitude of Johannesburg makes biking a bit harder, although you don't need to be super-fit. R450-700 pp.
- 6 Ticketpro Dome (Previously Coca-Cola Dome), cnr Olievenhout Avenue and Northumberland Road, North Riding (Next to the Northgate shopping mall). The Ticketpro stadium has numerous events throughout the year from wedding expos, to live motoring theater. This is the biggest dome structure in the southern hemisphere.
- 1 Rand Show: , at the Expo Center, Nasrec, ☏ , [email protected]. A shopping, food and entertainment show in early April. (date needs fixing)
- 2 University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), Braamfontein, ☏ , fax: , [email protected].
- 3 University of Johannesburg, Bunting Road, Auckland Park, ☏ , fax: , [email protected].
Due to South Africa's negotiated settlement which heralded the dawn of South Africa's democracy in 1994, South Africans have gained a reputation for holding meetings or lekgotlas (the Tswana word meaning "meeting place") to resolve their concerns, and plan for the future.
This desire to meet, discuss and strategise is also found among South Africa's business leaders, and Johannesburg as Africa and South Africa's economic hub is filled with conferencing venues and meeting places which can host a wide range of events for small or large groups.
Popular conference areas include the Rosebank and Sandton areas where conferences tend to be held in and around some of the city's top hotels. The Muldersdrift area and western region of Johannesburg has developed a reputation for outstanding function venues, particularly weddings and private events. While the midrand area located halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria is also a popular conferencing and events area.
There are many craft markets in Johannesburg and the surrounding areas. You will also find plenty of beautifully crafted beadwork and wirework being sold on the roadside and at intersections. Though you will be able to bargain with the locals, give a thought to the crafters who are often unemployed and rely on sales to support themselves and their family.
Craftsmen and women from all over Africa sell their goods at the Rosebank flea market on Sundays and in a bazaar type shop in the Rosebank mall on week days. Johannesburg has no specific artwork, which you can't get in other parts of the country. But you will find very good quality shops for this. Don't forget to buy the 2 ft giraffe which you get all over and at the airport.
African arts & crafts
- African Craft Market, Rosebank Mall, Cnr Cradock and Baker St, Rosebank, ☏ , fax: . Daily 9AM-6PM.
- Mai Mai, Anderson and Berea St. The oldest market in Johannesburg. Here you'll see plenty of traditional healers selling traditional herbs & remedies.
- Bruma Flea Market, Ernest Oppenheimer Ave, Bruma (Close to Eastgate), ☏ . Daily 10AM-6PM.
- Market Theatre Flea Market, Newtown Cultural Precinct, Bree St, Newtown, ☏ . Sa 9AM-4PM.
- Panorama Flea Market, Klipriver Drive, Mulbarton, ☏ , fax: , [email protected].
Shopping malls are very popular in Johannesburg, due to their convenience, safety and the fact that there are few alternatives. Although, thankfully, Jozi is one of the few cities in the country that still has some street life. A typical shopping mall has all the usual chain stores (for clothes, books, music, chemists, etc.), a food hall (KFC, Mugg & Bean...), and a big western-style supermarket in the basement. Many also have a multiplex cinema. They can be comfortable but soulless refuges that can trap the tourist with their familiar, air conditioned surrounds, so beware. There are many shopping malls throughout Johannesburg. Most have free secure parking, although you have to pay for parking in the more popular malls (Rosebank & Sandton). The main malls are:
- Oriental Plaza, Fordsburg. A taste of the orient in Africa and also where you can find some good bargains. Unlike other malls in South Africa you can bargain with the shopkeepers here. The Oriental Plaza is unique as it has over 360 independently owned stores. A block away from the Oriental Plaza is the site where Mahatma Gandhi had the famous pass burning ceremony 100 years ago. The location, which is outside the nearby Newtown mosque, is appropriately marked with a cauldron and the relevant historical details.
- Sandton City, 5th St, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. M-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 10AM-4PM. A large and popular mall in Sandton. Please don't spend all of your holiday here, although many do.
- 44 Stanley, 44 Stanley Avenue, Milpark (From the M1 north or south, turn right at the Empire Road turnoff. Take the second robot (traffic light) left into Owl St (under the bridge). Stanley Ave is the 2nd road on the right), ☏ . A welcome alternative to the sterility of standard shopping malls. Built in a complex of former industrial buildings near the city gasworks, 44 Stanley is now home to 25 boutiques, restaurants and creative studios set around connecting courtyards. The centre of an interesting urban regeneration project and well worth a visit.
- Northgate, Corner of Northumberland Rd & Olievenhout Ave, ☏ . In the north west, right next to the Coca-Cola Dome, which is well-known for its big-name music events. Northgate is relatively small in comparison to the other "gates", but nonetheless offers some good recreation options, including movies, paintball, ice skating and weekend entertainment for children.
- Bedford Centre. In the east, a smaller mall that is worth seeking out - a good selection of independent shops, rather than the chain store overload of standard South African malls.
- Westgate, 120 Ontdekkers Rd, Roodepoort, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. M-F 9AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 9AM-2PM. For many years the more working-class mall of Johannesburg, Westgatenow boasts a more modern image. Being far away from most of the tourist hotspots, it is virtually unknown to foreign visitors, yet offers a pleasant shopping experience with branches from most of the major chain stores.
- Eastgate, Cnr Nicol and Bradford, Bedfordview, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. 9AM-6PM.
- Cresta Mall, Cnr Beyers Naude and Weltevreden Rd, Cresta, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. This is where Central Johannesburg's middle-class population do their shopping and socializing. Big branches of all the major chain stores can be found here, as well as some good family restaurants. Walk around in Cresta and feel like a true local.
- Rosebank, Between Bath and Cradock Aves, Rosebank (From the M1 south, take exit 19 (Johannesburg/M20 Gelnhove Rd), turn right and follow Glenhove to Oxford, cross over Oxford and turn right into 4th Ave that leads directly into the mall parking), ☏ , fax: , [email protected].
- Southgate, Cnr Columbine Ave & Rifle Range Rd, Mondeor, ☏ . The centre is in the south of Johannesburg, five minutes from Soweto.
- 1 Fourways Mall, Cnr Witkoppen Rd & William Nicol Dr, Fourways, ☏ .
You will also find many smaller shopping malls close to residential areas. Usually with one or two of the larger retail stores, a number of smaller chain stores, fast food and possibly a restaurant or coffee shop.
Like all major cities, Johannesburg has a wide variety of places to eat and you'll be sure to find something to suit your taste buds, be it local delicacies or international cuisines. In addition to standard South African shopping mall restaurants Johannesburg is one of the few cities with various 'restaurant streets' scattered around the suburbs offering a more European dining experience.
- 7th Street, Melville - Traditionally Melville has been where most people head to for an evening meal - however, it now caters to students more than the moneyed middle classes. Melville offers a small pocket of culture, with street vendors often selling their own artworks, and charity shops abound.
- Gleneagles Road, Greenside makes a good destination (north of Melville - head to where the M71 crosses the M20, Green Way) and there is a good collection of cafes and restaurants which won't be full of tourists.
- Grant Avenue, Norwood is becoming more popular since Melville started catering more to students. A collection of uncomplicated restaurants, including numerous sushi places and simple pizza / pasta Italians. Pick of the crop is probably Sharwarma, with serves South African flavored Lebanese food, and also serves good steak and fish.
- Tyrone Avenue, Parkview has a collection of coffee shops and restaurants
- 4th Avenue, Parkhurst boosts an handful of restaurants and shops along the street. The area is very safe so you can walk the street without any problems.
- Queen's Street, Kensington to the east of the CBD has a handful of restaurants near the crossing with Northumberland.
- Derrick Avenue, Cyrildene near Eastgate is a local Chinatown, and has numerous excellent Asian restaurants.
Don't ignore the CBD either, there are a handful of nice restaurants near the Market Theatre, and they are cheaper than their northern suburb cousins. Of course the northern suburb shopping malls are brimming with South African chain restaurants, of which the more expensive ones are also quite good, if a little soulless. South African cuisine features many varieties of sauces, and your food may be drowned in said sauce if you don't ask for it on the side.
- Melrose Arch. Curious high-security compound housing many hotels, offices, upmarket restaurants and nightclubs, including Moyo (an African-themed restaurant) and several other casual eating establishments.
- Rodizio. Used to be located in Victory Park and has great Brazilian dishes and a lively party atmosphere. Live music and dancing, it has now moved.
- Arirang in Rivonia. Very good authentic Korean food, but very expensive.
- Melville is neighborhood where you can find many bars and mediocre restaurants. It is close to the national broadcaster (SABC) headquarters, all the universities and many artists, academics and students live in this community.
- Melon, 9a 7th Ave, ☏ . Upmarket Restaurant with great ambiance.
- Ants Cafe, 7th Street, Melville. A quirky and very vibey pizza spot. Friendly service, good South African wine and delicious pizza. Special pizza price on Mondays.
- 1 The Catz Pyjamas, 12 Main Road, Melville, ☏ . Open 24/365!. Trendy always-open bistro. Menu from breakfast to dinner to dessert. Good bar selection. Friendly service.
- The Lucky Bean Restaurant, 16 7th St, ☏ . Tu-Su 11:AM-late. Fusion cooking in a relaxed atmosphere. Live DJ music on weekends. R125pp.
- Fordsburg has many Indian restaurants with authentic Indian cuisine as well as conventional franchise stores (Wimpy, Nandos, Fishmonger, Nescafe,etc.). Fordsburg is close to the Oriental Plaza and can be combined with your shopping expedition. Fordsburg is one of the few (if any) areas of Johannesburg that has a thriving outdoor street market and pedestrian traffic at night - in a relative sense. It's a small area and pedestrian traffic is light, but at least present. The area is more busy on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
- Akhalwayas Fast Foods, Central Rd, ☏ . until 5PM. A favorite take-away among the locals, situated on Central Road. It specializes in fish and chips and various tasty sandwiches. However they are better known for the quality of their food then the speed of service and its not unheard of to wait for 45 min (or more!) for your meal at peak lunch times.
- Dawaat, Mint Rd. Dawaat restaurant is considered to be one of the best restaurants and the priciest by Fordsburg standards. R100.
- Mexican Fresh, Riverview Centre, corner Conrad Drive and Hillcrest, Craighall (just off Jan Smuts Ave between Hyde Park Shopping Centre and Republic Rd), ☏ . 11:30AM-8:30PM. Serves burritos, nachos, fajitas, tacos and quesadillas. Available as vegetarian, beef, chicken or prawn, all made on-site, every day. All dishes can be accompanied with guacamole, pico de gallo, Mexican rice and fresh salsa. Ask for chilli if you like it spicy.
- Moyo, Zoo Lake park. Typical touristy location. Lots of fun! Moyo serves stereotypical "African" food, and though it is quite a pricy experience, the restaurant is beautiful, and situated in one of the most charming areas of Johannesburg. Moyo is also located very near the Johannesburg zoo, and the two experiences together make for a great day out!
Good pubs and clubs are available in the Melville student district, Braamfontein, Rosebank and the Newtown cultural precinct. Posh and upmarket clubbing happens in the Rivonia and Sandton area.
- Back o' the Moon Nightclub, in Gold Reef City Casino, ☏ . A casino-restaurant with live traditional and contemporary jazz, plus dinner and dancing. It has a wide selection of grills and seafood on a good-value set menu. Open Tu-Sa for lunch and dinner, R25.
- Troyeville Hotel. Old-fashioned bar with pool tables and occasional events like book launches, jazz bands. Good restaurant. Close to rugby and soccer stadiums, the bar is packed on match days. Sunday barbecues with a view of the city and local draught beers.
- The Manhattan Club, 19 Wessels Rd, Rivonia (From the N1 take exit 100 (Sandton/M9 Rivonia Rd), follow Rivonia Rd south and turn left into 12th Ave at the second traffic light, turn left into River Rd and follow that until it becomes Wessels Rd), ☏ , [email protected]. Th-Sa 8PM-4AMish, Tu W 9PM-3AM. Closed Su M, Th. A huge stylish and bustling venue, with a total of 8 bars which include a shooters bar and a ladies only cocktail bar. Discounts for students and ladies. R50-70 cover.
- The Woods / Town Hall, 66 Carr Street, Newtown. F Sa 7PM-2AM. The best venue in Johannesburg if you're young and looking for a party. Most commonly hosts dubstep or drum 'n bass parties. The Woods and Town Hall are two clubs right next to each other, close to the bustling city. Mostly 20-somethings and students. Fun place. Varies based on event. Expect R50 - R300.
- The Radium Beer Hall, Louis Botha Ave, Orange Grove, ☏ . This place has been serving beer since 1929. Live music on weekends
- SAB World of Beer, 15 Helen Joseph Street, Newtown, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. The SAB-Miller Beer museum. R25 for the tour, including 2 free drinks in the pub at the end of the tour..
- Katzy's. Upmarket bar in The Firs mall next to Hyatt in Rosebank with music and dancing most nights. Specialises in expensive whiskies. Mixed, middle-aged, wealthy kinda crowd. There is a cover charge to get in when a live band is playing.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
Johannesburg is full of accommodation to suit any type of budget, from the ultimate in luxury & expense, to backpacker lodges. For accommodations near O.R. Tambo International Airport, see the sleep sections for Kempton Park and Benoni.
Backpackers dorm beds from R100 pp a night.
- Rosebank Boarding House, 217 Jan Smuts Avenue, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. 4-bed dorm. not far from the Gautrain. dorm R100 pp.
- The Backpacker's Ritz, 1A North Rd, Dunkeld West, ☏ , [email protected]. Excellent views of the city, reasonable prices and an extremely helpful travel desk with information about all aspects of travel in South Africa. Also have airport transfers. R165 dorm bed.
- The Lodge and Backpacker Rosebank, 219 Jan Smuts Avenue., ☏ , [email protected]. Dorm beds. You can walk here from the Gautrain which takes you to and from the Airport. Dorm R115 pp.
- Johannesburg Backpackers, Umgwezi Rd, Emmarentia, [email protected]. In the very safe area of Emmarentia this is the new place from the people at Cape Town Backpackers. Its fun, friendly and clean. They also have regular theme nights in the funky bar and have various options for sleeping from dorms to ensuites. From R150.
- Zoo Lodge, 233a Jan Smuts Ave, Parktown North, ☏ , [email protected]. This backpacker lodge is in a good location; close to Johannesburg Zoo and Rosebank Mall and on a bus route. Airport and train station pickups available. near Gautrain. dorm R130.
Guesthouses / bed & breakfasts
- [dead link] House of Pharaohs Guesthouse and Conference Centre, No. 1 Gaunt Road, Bryanston Ext 5, ☏ . All rooms are equipped with air-conditioning/fan with heating, cooling. Private en suite bathroom with shower/bath, Flat-screen TV with DSTV, High-speed wireless Internet connectivity and mini-bar. Some of its facilities and services are bar, room service, conference rooms, banquet facilities, swimming pool, Wireless Internet access, secretarial services, photocopy and fax services. Rates start at R500.
- Melville Manor Guest House, ☏ , [email protected]. Check-in: noon, check-out: 10AM. This guesthouse has 7 seven different suites suiting different budgets. Swimming pool, outside patio, WiFi and breakfast served daily. about R570.
- Blue Chip Accommodation. Provides various self catering apartments around the Sandton/Johannesburg area which enables the traveler to feel more at home. The apartments have fully equipped kitchens as well as a lounge with a television/prepaid telephone, bathrooms, bedroom/s and either private balconies or gardens. All located in secure complexes with 24 hr guard and swimming pool.
- Protea Hotel Wanderers, Cnr Corlett Dr & Rudd Rd, Illovo, ☏ , [email protected]. Close to Rosebank and Sandton From R210 shared.
- Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre, Viewpoint Road, Bartlett, Boksburg, ☏ , [email protected]. Hotel near OR Tambo Airport, offering three different accommodation options. Gym, Spa, WiFi and restaurants on site. Free airport transfer available for guests.
- Orangerie Guest House, 4 Hillel Avenue, ☏ , [email protected]. Nice guesthouse near Randburg on a hill with a great view from each of the rooms (each having a shared balcony) and a nice host; WiFi; small indoor swimming pool R740 (single occupancy), R960 (double occupancy).
Johannesburg also caters for those who are looking for a luxurious stay, with five-star hotels. Many of these are in the Sandton area.
- D´Oreale Grande (in Emperors Palace near OR Tambo Int Airport), ☏ . 5-star hotel.
- Don Johannesburg Int'l Airport Hotel, Electron Ave, Isando, Kempton Park, ☏ .
- Highland View Executive Guesthouse, 164 Highland Rd, Kensington, ☏ , [email protected]. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Offers double en-suites and self-contained apartments. All suites have their own private entrances which open onto the patio which is set in a lush, peaceful landscaped garden. There is a warm ambiance to the guest house as well as spacious interiors.
- African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection, 1 Melrose Sq, Melrose Arch, ☏ . Locked away in the Melrose Arch complex this is a great hotel, with all the facilities you would expect from a 5-star deluxe hotel.
- Lesedi Cultural Village, ☏ . Offers traditionally themed accommodation with modern conveniences.
- Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, 191 Oxford Rd, Rosebank (adjacent to Firs Shopping Centre), ☏ , [email protected]. 259 rooms & suites with African-inspired décor, black granite bath, work area with high-speed internet access, daily newspaper and evening turndown. Regency Club Lounge for free continental breakfast, evening cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
- The Westcliff, ☏ . Hotel with hillside setting and cascading sculpted gardens along with elegantly opulent accommodation. Great facilities and several restaurants and bars.
- Mount Grace Hotel & Spa, Old Rustenburg Rd, Magaliesburg, ☏ . 5-star hotel and spa just outside of Johannesburg.
- 12 Decades Art Hotel, 286 Fox Str, Maboneng Precinct, ☏ , [email protected]. Rooms are conceptualised to interpret each decade of Johannesburg's history.
- African Rock Hotels, 48 de Villiers Ave, van Riebeeck Estate, Kempton Park. (10 km from OR Tambo International Airport), ☏ , [email protected]. This boutique hotel is in the quiet suburb of Kempton Park, away from the flight path of arriving and departing planes. It has a lush tropical garden, a swimming pool and large patio. The interior “look and feel” boasts a successful fusion of African, Western and Oriental design trends and offers a warm, welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. The architecture is contemporary, includes all modern day technologies and is practical and comfortable. The conference room is equipped with a one of its kind suspended boardroom table and has all the facilities required to ensure a successful meeting.
- 54 on Bath,54 Bath Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2196> Hotel Reservations & Customer Contact Centre +27 11 461 9744 | 0861 44 77 44 A sophisticated boutique which features a terrace area used for entertainment and an outdoor swimming . The hotel as 75 uniquely designed rooms which offer a premium stay in Johannesburg.
Though much lower that its nineties peak, Johannesburg still has stubbornly high crime levels, though tourists are seldom victims. Like many other cities with a crime problem, some places are quite safe while others can be quite dangerous, and, in some places, crime may depend on whether it is day or night. Armed security guards (not necessarily the police) are a common sight in the city. Ask local people (hotel staff, police) what to do.
Johannesburg earned its lawless reputation during the 1980s when the apartheid regime was collapsing. However things have improved enormously since those days with in large part all communities residing peacefully and in unity, although the advice you may receive from some Johannesburg residents may not match today’s reality. Nevertheless you should keep security in mind and tourists must remain alert at all times when in unfamiliar surroundings.
When on the street (this doesn’t apply to shopping malls and other secure environments) best general advice is to try your best to look like a local and to avoid displaying any form of wealth. Keep your cellphone hidden, leave your jewellery at the hotel and avoid carrying backpacks, daypacks, cameras or purses. Use a cheap plastic bag, keep your valuables at the hotel and take only the amount of money that you really need. Never use a purse, but put loose coins or notes in your pockets.
If you fall victim to robbery, it is best to cooperate with your assailants, hand over your valuables, do not attempt to negotiate, do not look them in the eye, and do not fight back. Then report the robbery to the police.
Above all, use your common sense! If someone insists that you follow them to get somewhere or do something, approach with extreme caution. Don't pay someone for something unless you have the goods in hand. When approached by beggars, it is generally a good idea to politely but firmly deny them.
Finally, keep things in perspective. Johannesburg has a partly-deserved bad reputation for crime, but most victims are local residents living in the townships. The overwhelming majority of visitors have a trouble-free stay.
Shopping malls in Johannesburg are as safe as shopping malls anywhere else in the world, with pick-pocketing being the only risk, though a small one.
Central Business District
The central business district is busy during the day, and parts of it are pretty scruffy, but there are lots of police and private security around. The area is largely deserted at night, during weekends, and on holidays. There are many interesting things to do in the CBD, just plan where you are going to park and what you are going to visit beforehand, and never wander around aimlessly.
Walking and cycling in the Northern Suburbs is popular for both the residents and workers there, so you should be fine walking from your guesthouse to a local restaurant or shopping mall; however, distances can be large, which makes driving or taking a taxi better options. If you want to go jogging (not recommended for lone women) or for a long walk then carry a map and as few valuables as possible, and make sure you are home before it gets dark.
Alexandra is a very poor and dangerous township that deserves particular attention for the foreign visitor because it is next to the road that you would drive on from the airport to Sandton and is therefore easy to land up in if you get lost or take the wrong off-ramp.
Never take the London Road off-ramp from the N3 highway to get to Sandton, (which you will see on the horizon and London Road may look like a shortcut even when reading a map or using GPS) unless you are travelling with a local who knows where they are going, as this road goes right through the heart of Alexandra and you could easily get lost.
To get to Sandton when coming from the airport, take Marlboro Drive from the N3 and drive straight until you reach the M1 highway (this is also called the Marlboro offramp). Do not turn south/left (if you are coming from the N3) or right/south (if you are coming from the M1/Sandton side) anywhere between the N3 and the M1, including Louis Botha Avenue (which may be dangerous unless you know the area).
Alternatively, if you want to avoid the risk of getting this wrong, you can drive a bit further (the N3 becomes the N1) and take Rivonia Road to the south, which will take you straight into central Sandton passing through only affluent areas for the entire length of this road, so if you go the wrong way, you are still in safe areas.
Also, when taking the Gautrain (very safe and nauseatingly well-guarded) between central Sandton and the airport, one of the stations it will stop at is Marlboro Station. This station is the interchange to Pretoria and is right on the edge of Alexandra. Do not exit at this station.
Other townships surround the city and don’t offer much for the tourist except for Soweto, the middle class parts of which (Orlando West) can be visited independently, although most choose to go with a tour.
It is prudent to plan night-time journeys and to use a reputable taxi. If you must walk at night, make sure to remain in populated, well-lit areas, and walk confidently with a purpose so that you at least pretend that you know where you are going. Avoid giving the impression that you are lost, and ask directions only from shops and not random people on the streets.
It is best to use a GPS when driving so that you do not get lost. Also be aware that more South Africans die from road accidents than from violence. There is a great deal of aggression on the roads, and many accidents are fuelled by alcohol.
Do not leave any valuables on the seats as it is possible that your window could be smashed and your belongings grabbed. At night, do not stop at red traffic lights if you see people lingering there, as they may be up to no good. Slow down and go through the red traffic lights, even if you have to pay a fine (very small chance).
The risk of being hijacked is high in the Gauteng province, and therefore you need to be vigilant at all times. Watch out for vehicles following you or road blocks (stones, wood) on the roads. Keep in mind that most hijackings occur when the driver waits at an gate (usually at home), try to minimize that time by opening the gate (electronically) while still driving slowly towards it. If there is traffic behind, pull a side and let them pass first. If you have parked in a quiet area, be particularly careful when you go to and from your car as thieves can wait for victims to exit/enter their vehicle. If you are faced with a suspicious or dangerous encounter, drive to the nearest police station or well-lit populated area.
The Gautrain is totally safe and provides frequent rides from Park Station stopping in Rosebank, Sandton, Malboro, Midrand, Centurion, Pretoria and Hatfield. From the station, Uber is accessible to reach other destinations in the different neighbourhoods. The new Rea Vaya buses are too a viable, safe and cheap option unlike the city's Metrobus service that can be safe to ride although it is often late and far too unreliable and confusing for a short-term foreign visitor to figure out.
Rape and sexual assault levels are exceptionally high. However, most sexual assault and rape cases involve alcohol and take place between people who know each other. Care should be taken in sexual encounters due to the high HIV levels in Johannesburg; insist on using condoms. Females should always avoid walking alone and should try, if possible, to remain in groups.
Tap water is completely safe to drink, Johannesburg's water has one of the highest ratings in the world.
There is a Travel Clinic at OR Tambo International Airport
- Kloof Road Travel Clinic, 17 Kloof Rd, ☏ , fax: . Corner Arterial Rd W Bedfordview, Dr DM Smith / Sr C Standford,
- Airport Clinic & Travel Vaccination Centre, Ground Floor, New Domestic Arrivals Terminal, ☏ . GP, dentist, vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis
It is best to avoid public hospitals as standards have declined, but private hospitals are of world class standard.
The following hospitals cater for 24-hour accident and emergency treatment:
- Sunninghill Hospital, Cnr Witkoppen & Nanyuki Rds, Sunninghill, ☏ .
- Milpark Hospital, 9 Guild Rd, Parktown West, ☏ .
- Netcare Garden City Hospital, 35 Bartlett Rd, Mayfair West, Johannesburg, 2092. +27 11 495 5000
- Life Flora Hospital, William Nicol St, Florida Park, Roodepoort, 1709. +27 11 470 7777
- Life Brenthurst Clinic, 4 Park Ln, Parktown, Johannesburg, 2193. +27 11 647 9000
- Clinix Lesedi Private Hospital, 7948 Chris Hani Road, Diepkloof Zone 6, Diepkloof, 1862. +27 11 933 5001
- Helen Joseph Hospital +27 11 489 1011
- Coronation Hospital for women and children; +27 11 470-9000
- Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, 26 Chris Hani Rd, Diepkloof 319-Iq, Johannesburg, 1864. +27 11 933 8000
Always-On, +27 11 575-2505, provides prepaid WiFi access in a number of locations in and around Johannesburg. Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. Pricing starts at around R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100MB.
Coverage areas include:
- City Lodge. Most of them.
- The Baron. Bryanston and Woodmead
- Mugg&Bean. Just about all of them.
- McDonald's , All of them
- Nand. Benmore, Chilli Lane, Douglasdale, Rivonia
- OR Tambo Airport. Most of the airport is covered as well as the City Lodge and Airport Sun InterContinental
- Protea Balalaika Hotel.
- Wimpy. Midrand, Randburg, Centurion, Aero Centre
- Highland View Executive Guesthouse. 164 Highland Road, Kensington, Johannesburg, Gauteng
Please note that operating hours differ for each consulate,calling prior to visiting each center is highly recommended.
- China, 25 Cleveland Rd, Sandhurst, Sandton, ☏ , fax: , [email protected].
- United Kingdom, Dunkeld Corner 275 Jan Smuts Avenue, Dunkel West Johanesburg, ☏ .
- U.S. Consulate General Johannesburg, 1 Sandton Dr, Sandhurst, Johannesburg, 2146 > +27 11 290 3000
- Consulate General of France, 3rd floor, Standard Bank Building, 191 Jan Smuts Ave, Parktown North, Johannesburg, 2196 > +27 11 778 5600
- Consulate General of Italy in Johannesburg, 37 1st Ave (entrance on, 2nd St, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, 2198> +27 11 728 1392
- Consulate General of Portugal,15 Ernest Oppenheimer Ave, Bruma, Johannesburg, 2198> 011 622 0645
- Lesotho Consulate General, 222 Smit St, Johannesburg, 2001
- Argentine Consulate General, Fredman Towers, 13 Fredman Dr, Sandton, Johannesburg, 2146 > +27 11 783 9032
- Consulate General of Greece, 261 Oxford Rd, Illovo, Sandton, 2196 > +27 11 214 2300
- Pretoria is only a short while away from Johannesburg and has a lot to offer visitors with historic architecture and a more laidback atmosphere than its bigger sister
- Sun City is a two hour drive away and offers world class golf courses and entertainment. The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is adjacent to Sun City and offers visitors to get the taste of an African Game Reserve. However it is no comparison to the world famous Kruger Park which is about 350 km from Johannesburg.
- Mpumalanga Escarpment in a weekend
- Rietvlei Nature Reserve next to the R21 in Tshwane gives one the opportunity to get forget about the city for a while.
- Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site comprising a number of attractions including the Sterkfontein Caves, the Wonder Caves and Maropeng visitor education centre. Explore fossil-filled caves where important palaeoanthropologist discoveries such as Mrs Ples and Little Foot were found. +27 14 577-9000
- Thaba Ya Batswana is a rare and valuable jewel surrounded by the southern Johannesburg metropolis, which captures the spirit of the African renaissance. It is situated in the Klipriversberg Nature Reserve area and has an abundance of indigenous trees, plants, birds and wildlife.
- Gaborone is the capital city of Botswana, has a very low crime rate but is much more relaxed than Johannesburg. It is just an hour away by plane and about five hours away by car. The drive there is quite scenic.
- Limpopo is a four hour drive from Johannesburg and has some of the most beautiful game reserves in South Africa.