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South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg, is home to the country's main international airport, and often serves as the gateway for most travelers visiting this southernmost country in Africa. Guided tours offer much to learn about South Africa's often-tumultuous history: Take in a history lesson at the acclaimed Apartheid Museum (followed by a bike tour of the nearby Soweto township); visit the former cell of Nelson Mandela in the Old Fort prison on Constitution Hill; or dig into the cultural history of Johannesburg at Museum Africa. For a stunning view of the cityscape, head to the top of Africa's tallest building, the Carlton Centre; or take a trip back in time to the UNESCO-listed Cradle of Humankind, a short 16 miles (25 kilometers) from the city and easily reached with a full-day tour. For a thrilling day trip, visit the enormous Kruger National Park for a safari tour in search of some of Africa's “Big Five” wildlife. Follow it up with a stop at nearby Pretoria to see the famous Jacaranda trees in bloom, and then continue to Pilanesberg Game Reserve or Sun City resort. Johannesburg is the ideal jumping-off point for further exploration in southern Africa, with regular flights to Cape Town, Durban, and even Botswana.
A perfect year-round destination, Johannesburg is bursting with sunshine and great events. The summer months (December—February) can be hot and humid—with families entertaining kids on school holidays, as well as high tourist numbers, so a better time to visit is fall or early-winter (March through August). As for events, look out for Ultra South Africa, Africa’s biggest electronic music festival; The Rand Show, a lifestyle expo with rides, military displays, and fashion; and the Good Food & Wine Show.
Its widespread nature means visitors have to rely on transport to get around Johannesburg; the city isn’t walkable, especially at night. Local bus services and the Gautrain rapid-rail are public transport options, but for reliability and ease, traveling by car is by far the best way of getting around the city. If car rental isn’t an option, Uber operates here. It’s also possible to go on a hop-on hop-off bus between main tourist sights.
Johannesburg is a cosmopolitan city with a fantastic food scene and plenty of international flavors. Be sure to try the masala dosa from Dosa Hut in Fordsburg, and head to Breezeblock Cafe’s courtyard garden in Brixton for brunch, coffee, or cocktails. If you’re after something hearty—Duke’s Burgers in Melville has a reputation for its generously-sized and super delicious gourmet burgers; with Wagyu beef, lamb, chicken, and vegan options available.
Johannesburg is famous for being the largest city in South Africa. Its nickname, the City of Gold, comes from its gold rush history — it was founded in 1886 after European settlers discovered gold. The city is also the financial, mining, and industrial heart of South Africa....More
A 1-day trip to Johannesburg should include sights linked to Nelson Mandela to explore the city’s Apartheid history. Go for a guided tour of Soweto, visit the Apartheid Museum, and explore the Constitution Hill precinct. Also, don’t miss the city’s great food and street art scene in the Maboneng Precinct....More
Johannesburg is often shortened to Joburg; however, it’s got several other nicknames. It’s sometimes referred to as the City of Gold or eGoli, which translates as “the place of gold” in Zulu, due to its gold mining origins. Another popular nicknames that locals affectionately use is Jozi....More
There isn’t one dominant language in Johannesburg. Instead, all 11 of South Africa’s official languages are spoken. The most widely spoken language is Zulu, followed by Xhosa, Afrikaans, and English. Many South Africans are multilingual, and English is a common communication language that’s used in business, tourism, and the media....More
Couples commonly stroll through Rosebank Precinct—a fashionable neighborhood with art galleries, coffee shops, bars, and vintage shops. If visiting Johannesburg on a Sunday, look out for the Market on Main in Maboneng. Or, walk the trails at Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden—a perfect spot for a picnic....More
Yes. Johannesburg can sometimes be dangerous for tourists, especially if you visit neighborhoods that are known for high levels of crime—such as Alexandra, Berea, Hillbrow, and Yeoville. However, these areas aren’t commonly visited by tourists, and main tourist areas are much safer. Traveling by Uber or car hire is recommended....More
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