Discussion on defining district borders for Johannesburg is in progress. If you know the city pretty well, please share your opinion on the talk page.
- For other places with the same name, see Johannesburg (disambiguation).
- Johannesburg is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.
Johannesburg city skyline
Johannesburg (in spoken language also referred to as Joburg, Egoli or Jozi ) is South Africa's largest city.
Johannesburg has a population of 9.6 million people (South African 2011 census), 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 1,333,790 (although the number is likely to be higher). There are also around 300,000 residents of other descent. 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, and increasingly for the rest of Africa. Although estimates vary, about 10% of sub-Saharan Africa's GDP is generated in Johannesburg. 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. Don't avoid Johannesburg because of its crime however, since it is perfectly possible to have a safe and enjoyable stay if precautions are taken. 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 into single digits but snow is extremely rare.
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 center 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 center located at the center 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.
A number of highways from everywhere in South Africa go to Johannesburg, the N1 from Cape Town and Bloemfontein or the N3 from Durban making it an easy to reach destination, including:
Traffic can be particularly bad during peak hours (M-F 6:30AM-9AM and 3:30PM-6:30PM) so plan your journey accordingly. Due to the increasing number of cars sold, traffic has progressively worsened. If traveling in the city Monday through Friday, make sure you take into consideration the possibility of traffic jams delaying your journey. As the city is large and spread out, getting around may require covering large distances e.g. from Midrand to Soweto is in excess of 45 km (28 mi).
- O.R. Tambo International Airport,, formerly called Johannesburg International and before that as Jan Smuts Airport (these old names are still commonly used), is the main airport for Johannesburg. Located 21 km (13 mi) from the city center, it is the busiest airport in Africa and the connecting hub for flights to other cities in Southern Africa. There are many flights to Johannesburg from international hubs, notably London, Paris and Frankfurt. 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 required to have one.
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 between the two.
Getting from the airport
- By rail: Gautrain, a rapid suburban rail network, has a line from the airport to Sandton, where you can change to another Gautrain service to get to Johannesburg. Total travel time is approx. 25 minutes and the cost R162 to Park plus R15 for the Gautrain card . During the week there is a network of buses from every Gautrain station putting many more locations within reach of public transport. Gautrain bus rides cost R6. Gautrain buses do not operate on weekends.
A much cheaper alternative is taking a taxi or walking to Isando Metro-Rail, 1.4 km from the airport, and taking a MetroRail suburban train to Johannesburg. MetroRail stops more often than Gautrain but is also more used by locals and much cheaper, costing only R8.5 and taking approx. 45 minutes from Isando to Johannesburg.
- By taxi: 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.
- Hotel pickup is usually from the bus terminal. Exit the airport and keep walking straight until you reach it (less than 5 mins walk). Ignore anybody who approaches you with questions or trying to "help" you as they will end up nagging you for a large tip.
- By car rental is a very common way for travelers to get around, even if driving is minimal, as the round-trip Gautrain or taxi/Uber fare to city center is comparable to renting a car. Numerous rental companies are located in the basement level of the airport and cars await in the airport parking garage designated especially for rental cars.
- Lanseria Airport, is 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 north west outside 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.
For South African travel and discounted fares you can search for : Discount airlines in Africa and Air travel in South Africa airlines like Mango and Kulula.
- Park Station is Johannesburg's central station and is in the city center 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. Be careful and try to organise onward transport prior to arrival. All long-distance Spoornet trains are quite safe, as are most MetroRail trains. The best is, prior to using any public transport to ask local people.
- Spoornet  is a freight train company but they do have a branch that offers a passenger service called: Shosholoza Meyl. There are 8 primary routes that link South Africa's cities with smaller towns along each route. There are regular inter-city trains to destinations all over the country, including Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Port Elizabeth, East London, Pietermaritzburg, Nelspruit and Polokwane. Passengers can chose to travel in the tourist class where there is an option of either a coupe that can accommodate two people or a compartment that can seat four people. If traveling over night these compartments become bedrooms. Another option is the economy class which of course is cheaper, with chairs that can recline but not, alas, turn into beds. There is dinning car on the trains where you can buy food. If you are traveling in a coupe or compartment then there is a trolley service available saving you form ever having to leave your compartment
- 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 Gauteng region is the one entailing the greater Johannesburg area. Trains run from Johannesburg and Germiston outwards to Springs, Pretoria, Soweto and Krugersdorp.
- Gautrain  is a first-world-quality commuter train with two lines, namely Johannesburg-Hatfield and Sandton-OR Tambo airport. Interchange is at Sandton or Marlboro. All journeys are paid using a non-refundable R15 gold card. Gautrain has much fewer stops and shorter travel times than MetroRail but is also significantly more expensive. For example, using Gautrain Johannesburg-Pretoria takes 35 minutes and costs R46 (excluding card purchase), whereas with MetroRail it costs R9 but takes 1 hour 40 minutes. Gautrain is very secure - lots of cameras and guards on the trains and platforms.
Long-distance buses arrive at Park Station. All major bus companies provide a service to and from Johannesburg. A few of these include:
- Greyhound  the well know bus service is offering services to destinations all over South Africa.
- 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 traveling 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. (Note that the second route previously offered between Johannesburg and Durban via Swaziland no longer operates).
Park Station can be quite overwhelming with crowds, hawkers and aggressive porters. If you are going north or coming from the north rather use the bus stop at the Caltex service station at New Road in Midrand, half way to Pretoria.
Johannesburg on foot can be unsafe or at least scary, so please be very conscious, even at day time when you get into narrow streets or pedestrian sideways like around the Market. It is 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). 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.
You enter where you want (make sure you know where the taxi is going, and generally locals use specific handsignals to ensure the correctly destined taxi stops) and it stops where you want along the fixed route. 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 (6:30 to 9:00) 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 h, 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. Using Google Maps with local carrier may not always prove reliable, as even in pockets of the city with major national carrier there signal may be lost (as of Oct 2016). The city 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 (for example, tyre and windshield coverage is an add-on to even the Super Excess coverage plans).
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 do not have enough fuel to get out of. Ask advice. 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.)
- Cabs Car Hire (Car Hire), ☎ +27 21 386 5500 ([email protected]), . Car rentals in Johannesburg. edit
- First Car Rental (Car Hire), ☎ (0027)11 230-9999 ([email protected]), . Car rentals in Johannesburg and Johannesburg Airport. edit
- Pace Car Rental (Car Hire), 34 14th Street, Marlboro , Sandton, ☎ 011 262 5500 or 087 808 2542 ([email protected]), . Long Term Car Rental in Johannesburg South Africa. edit
- Europcar Car Hire (Car Hire), ☎ (011) 883-4352 ([email protected]), . Car rentals in Johannesburg and Johannesburg Airport. edit
- Exeque Car Rental (Car Hire), ☎ 083 693 4531 or 010 235 0898 ([email protected]), . Cash Car Rental in Johannesburg South Africa. edit
- Xtreme Car Rental (Car Hire), 26 Anson Street, Kempton Park, Johannesburg, 1619, ☎ 0861 001 337 ([email protected]), . Cash car rental in Johannesburg South Africa. edit
- Book-a-Bakkie (Bakkie Hire), 61 Rigger Road, Kempton Park, Johannesburg, 1619, ☎ 0861 266 522 ([email protected]), . Bakkie Hire in Johannesburg South Africa. edit
- ResQ Rent A Car (Car Hire Johannesburg), De Marionette Centre, Michelle Avenue, Meyersdal, Alberton, Johannesburg, ☎ +27 11 867 6552 ([email protected]), . Car Hire Johannesburg, South Africa. edit
Public transport in Johannesburg is provided by city buses and informal minibus services. Bus (other than the feeder buses attached to the Gautrain system) is not a viable option if you are a foreign tourist/business visitor unfamiliar with South Africa. Large blue city buses run up and down the main roads and mini buses can be flagged down on the side of the street a 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 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. edit
- Metrobus, ☎ +27 (0)11 833-5538, . Buses are available but routes and times are somewhat limited by western standards. edit
- Minibus taxis. should be avoided unless you are with a local: the routes are very confusing, and conductors 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 sometimes warlike competition has resulted in affordable transportation for the masses. edit
Foreigners should use only normal sedan taxis (metered or fixed-price taxes that transport only you and your travel partners) and not shared minibus taxis. Taxis are very rare in Johannesburg and available only at the airport and some areas of Sandton and the city centre. Unless you are visiting for a very short time, it would be worth your while to rent a car.
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.
- Sandton Taxi Cabs, ☎ +27 (0)11 039 4402, . They offer pre-booked taxi services, airport transfers and shuttle services. edit
- Airport Link, ☎ +27 (0)11) 792 2017, . Fixed price airport transfer service. edit
- Elias, ☎ +27 (0)76 834 0670. Friendly taxi driver based in the CBD. edit
- Magicbus, ☎ +27 (0)11 548-0822, . 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 traveling in groups. edit
- Maxi Taxi, ☎ +27 (0)11 648 1212, . Reputable taxi firm based in Yeoville. edit
- Roses Taxi, ☎ +27 (0)11 403 9625. Operates throughout the city. edit
- MyRide, . Book Taxi Services. edit
- Snappy Cabs (Pty) Ltd, ☎ +27 (0)79 722 8110. For booking enquiries [email protected] For reliable 24/7 taxi services. edit
Because of the construction of the Gautrain  rapid rail link between Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport . it is possible to reach Pretoria central via Hatfield (in Pretoria) and Midrand from O.R. Tambo by rapid rail.
Much of Johannesburg, as in the rest of South Africa, shuts up shop at lunch times on Saturday, and doesn't reopen until Monday. This means that weekend sightseeing can be frustrating - and hence it is worth planning your weekend in advance making sure you use Saturday morning wisely. Shopping malls all stay open until at least 5pm, but art galleries, museums, independent shops will all close around 1-2pm.
Did you know?
At 222m the Carlton Centre is the tallest building in Africa, but not the tallest structure. Both the Hillbrow (270m) and Sentech (234m) towers in Johannesburg are taller then the Carlton.
The tallest structure in Africa is the 301m SASOL chimney in Secunda followed closely by two 300m smoke stacks at the Duvha Power Station outside Witbank.
Central Business District / CBD
The regeneration Central Business Direct accelerated in the run up to the 2010 World Cup and there are many areas of the inner city which are visitable, and the central area's poor reputation is no longer deserved. The 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 downtown 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). Troyeville has a fantastic restaurant at The Troyeville Hotel, an art centre and all the main sport stadiums (soccer, tennis, athletics, rugby). Try also the Ethiopian restaurant "Little Addis", right next to the Bioscope Cinema (Fox str). Simple furniture, but authentic and good food, reasonable priced.
On the west side, Fordsburg is the formerly-Indian part of central Joburg and has some Indian and Pakistani restaurants, shops and markets. Good food is to be found in this neighborhood, which, by Johannesburg's standards, shows signs of street life in the evenings, and moreso on Friday and Saturday. Most places are halaal so no liquor 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 2 pm.
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 (Little Lagos) used to have a bad reputation but it is much improved - if you visit Constitution Hill, or Johannesburg Art Gallery, Hillbrow is right across the street, not that scary! Go for a walk to the base of the Hillbrow Tower on a Sunday morning, it's an interesting experience. Worth watching Louis Theroux's 'Law and Disorder in Johannesburg' before your visit.
- Top of Africa, Carlton Centre, 150 Commissioner St (Take the elevator from the second floor to the fiftieth), ☎ +27 (0)11 308-1331. 8AM to 7PM daily. Get a panoramic view of the city from the top of Africa's tallest building. Definitely worth a trip. Upstairs there are toilets and also a little kiosk/cafe (cold drinks etc, nothing exciting though). Rand 15,00. edit
- Johannesburg Art Gallery, Corner of Klein and King George streets, Joubert Park, ☎ +27 (0)11 725 3130. The biggest gallery on the African continent with a good collection of local and international work on display. And its free. edit
- Standard Bank Gallery, Corner Simmonds and Frederick Streets, Johannesburg, ☎ +27 (0)11 631-1889, . Open 8AM to 4:30PM Monday to Friday and 9AM to 1PM on Saturdays. Entrance is free. edit
- Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Electric Workshop building, cnr Miriam Makeba and President street, Newtown, ☎ +27 (0)11 639-8400 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 832-3360), . 9AM to 5PM Mon to Fri and 9AM to 4:30PM weekends and public holidays. Adults: R20, children: R10. edit
- Origins Centre - The South African Museum of Rock Art: A Museum in Africa for the people of the world. Yale Road, University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, PH: +27 (0)11 717-4700, Hours: 10AM to 5PM daily, . An excellent multimedia display of rock art and the origins of humankind. Good curio shop, book shop and coffee shop. Note: This fascinating museum is on the campus of University of the Witwatersrand ("Wits") and there is no direct access from the street: you need to enter through the campus' Yale Road entrance.
The Northern Suburbs range from middle class to very affluent, with suburbs like Greenside, Houghton, Parktown North to Parkhurst to Killarney to Rosebank to Illovo to Melrose North, Atholl, Sandown, to Sandton to Morningside, Fourways, and Randburg being green, leafy and pleasant - and safe and comforting to first-world visitors, most have a shopping mall of some description, and some have a main street with cafes, boutiques and grocery shops.
- Johannesburg Planetarium, Yale Road, Entrance 10, University of the Witwatersrand, Milner Park, ☎ +27 (0)11 717-1392 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 339-2926), . See their website for upcoming shows. From Rand 16 to Rand 25, depending on show. edit
Johannesburg is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.
Outdoor area at the Military History Museum
- South African National Museum of Military History, Erlswold Way, Saxonwold (Next to the Johannesburg), ☎ +27 (0)11 646-5513 ([email protected]), . Open daily 9AM to 4:30PM. 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 reproduced vintage military equipment is located within the museum. R20 entrance fee. edit
- James Hall museum of Transport, Pioneers' Park, Rosettenville Road, La Rochelle, ☎ +27 (0)11 435-9718 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 435-9821), . Open Tue to Sun 9AM to 5PM. Largest museum dedicated to transport in South Africa. Free entrance. edit
- Chérie De Villiers Gallery, Lower Level, Rosebank Mall, Rosebank, ☎ +27 (0)11 788-9949 ([email protected]), . Art by South African artists. edit
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 signage are excellent. You can stop off at Maponya Mall and join the Sowetan middle classes as they entertain themselves with retail and movies!
- Mandela Family Museum, Orlando West, Soweto, ☎ +27 (0)11 936-7754 ([email protected]), . Mandela's first house, now museum. edit
- The Apartheid Museum, ☎ +27 (0)11 309-4700, . 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 simply a must see. edit
- Absa Money Museum, 187 Fox Street, ☎ +27 (0) 11 350 3003, . 08.30 - 4.00 Monday - Friday. The only banking museum in the country, the Absa Museum houses a collection of various forms of money used through South African history, including cowrie shells, Venetian glass beads and gold coins recovered from sunken ships. free. edit
- Johannesburg Taxi Cabs (Sandton Taxi Cabs), 1 Sandton Dr, Sandton, 2196 (Directly opposite Sandton City Mall), ☎ +27110394402, . 4am to 11pm. Professional Chauffeur Services, Airport Transfers & Shuttles, Corporate & Staff Transport Solutions, 24hrs R12/km. edit
Have a seat and relax at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
Play with a cub at the Lion Park
- Township Tour to Soweto, a tour that will take you around the densely populated but vibrant town of Soweto. Use only offical operators and do not go on your own.
- 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.), ☎ +27 (0)11 958-1750 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 958-1752), . 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. edit
Parrots at the Montecasino bird gardens
- 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.
- 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), ☎ +27 (0)11 702-2103 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 468-2718), . 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  edit
- Lesedi Cultural Village, (Just past the Lanseria Airport on the R512), ☎ +27 (0)12 205-1394, . Traditional dances and food in authentic Zulu, Sotho, Pedi, Xhosa and Ndebele villages. edit
- Lion 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.), ☎ +27 (0)11 691-9905 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 691-9904), . 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. R130 per person. edit
- 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.. edit
- Montecasino Bird Gardens, "Montecasino (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.), ☎ +27 (0)11 511-1864. 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. edit
- 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 40 minutes drive from Johannesburg International airport and 20 minutes from Johannesburg city.R 1165-00 single ticket.
- 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), ☎ +27 (0)11 248-6800 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 248-6863), . 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. edit
- Ferreira's Mine, Standard Bank Centre, 5 Simmonds Street, ☎ +27 (0)11 636-9111 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 636-4207). 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. edit
- 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.), ☎ +27 (0)11 833 5624, . 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. edit
- Sophiatown Heritage Tours (Sophiatown Heritage & Cultural Centre), 73 Toby Street, Sophiatown (Close to Melville/Westdene), ☎ 0116731271, . 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 back-drop 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 re-birth, experience the heady talent of Don Mattera and Can Themba, listen to the street life tales immortalized in song and dance. Entrance: R25 Adult/ R10 Child: Group tours, school programmes R60 Adult/R30 Child: Guided Walking tour of Sophiatown Open: 10h00 – 16h00 (Tues, Wed, Fri) 10h00 – 18h00 (Thurs) 10h00 – 13h00 (Sat) (,2hours) edit
- Ticketpro Dome, cnr Olievenhout Avenue and Northumberland Road, North Riding (Next to the Northgate shopping mall), . The Ticketpro Dome hosts numerous events throughout the year from wedding expos, to live motoring theatre. This is the biggest dome structure in the southern hemisphere. edit
- University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), Braamfontein, Johannesburg, ☎ +27 (0)11 717-1000 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 717-1065), . edit
- University of Johannesburg, Bunting Road, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, ☎ +27 (0)11 489-3129 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 489-2191), . edit
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 amongst 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 that can't be bought anywhere else in the country, but there are certainly very good quality shops for this. Much of the "African art" that you can purchase is actually made in Swaziland or imported from other African nations. Don't forget to buy the 2 foot giraffe which you can buy just about anywhere. It's common to see giraffe heads sticking out of the luggage compartment on a flight of tourists!
African Arts & Crafts
- African Craft Market, Rosebank Mall, Cnr Cradock and Baker St, Rosebank., ☎ (+27) (0)11 880 2906 (fax: (+27)(0) 11 880 2944), . Open 9AM to 6PM daily. edit
- Mai Mai, Anderson and Berea St. The oldest market in Johannesburg. Here you'll see plenty of traditional healers selling traditional herbs & remedies. edit
- Rosebank Rooftop Flea Market, Top parking level of the Rosebank Mall,Between Bath and Cradock Avenues, Rosebank, ☎ (+27) (0)11 442-4488 (fax: (+27) (0)86 636-5964), . Open Sundays only, 9AM to 5PM. Find a vast selection of African crafts // NOTE: As of May 2013 the rooftop flea market is NOT operational anymore! It's only the regular craft market, which is open every day at the moment. edit
- Bruma Flea Market, Ernest Oppenheimer Ave, Bruma (Close to Eastgate), ☎ (+27) (0)11 622-9648. Daily 10AM to 6PM. edit
- Market Theatre Flea Market, Newtown Cultural Precinct, Bree St, Newtown, ☎ (+27) (0)11 832-1641. Open Sat 9AM to 4PM. edit
- Panorama Flea Market, Klipriver Drive, Mulbarton, ☎ (+27) (0)11 682-2222 ([email protected], fax: (+27) (0)86 513-3267), . edit
Shopping Malls are very popular in Johannesburg, due to their convenience and 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 streetlife. 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. edit
- Sandton City, 5th St, ☎ +27 (0)11 217-6000 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 883-0978), . 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. edit
- 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), ☎ 011 482 4444, . 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. edit
- Northgate, Corner of Northumberland Rd & Olievenhout Ave, ☎ +27 (0)11 794 1687, . 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. edit
- 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. edit
- Westgate, 120 Ontdekkers Rd, Roodepoort, ☎ +27 (0)11 768-0616 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 768-2291), . M-F 9AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 9AM-2PM. For many years the more working-class mall of Johannesburg, Westgate has recently undergone a much-needed facelift and now 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. edit
- Eastgate, Cnr Nicol and Bradford, Bedfordview, ☎ +27 (0)11 616-2209 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 622-2473), . 9AM-6PM. edit
- Cresta Mall, Cnr Beyers Naude and Weltevreden Rd, Cresta, ☎ +27 (0)11 678-5306 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 678-4096), . 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. edit
- 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), ☎ +27 (0)11 788-5530 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 880-6250), . Along with the usual assortment of shops it is also home to the famous Rosebank Rooftop Flea Market in the mall parking every Sunday and an excellent African Craft Market. edit
- Southgate, Cnr Columbine Ave & Rifle Range Rd, Mondeor, ☎ +27 (0)11 942-1061, . The centre is in the south of Johannesburg, just five minutes from Soweto. edit
- Fourways Mall, Cnr Witkoppen Rd & William Nicol Dr, Fourways, ☎ +27 (0)11 465 6095, . edit
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.
Johannesburg is a multicultural city, and therefore a melting pot of cuisines originating from many different regions of the world. There is a large variety of places to eat so you are sure to find something that tickles your taste buds. Joburgers tend to love al fresco dining, and a culture of pavement cafes and restaurants has sprung up on various streets around the city.
Emmarentia, Greenside, Melville, Norwood, Illovo and "the Parks" (Parkhurst, Parkview, Parktown, Parktown North)
Each of these neighborhoods have at least one concentrated area of restaurants in the "leafy green suburbs"
- 4th Avenue, Parkhurst - Parkhurst is an up-market area with many pavement cafes and a great atmosphere
- Illovo Junction - Illovo is an up-and-coming area, full of good restaurants and pavement cafes. Suggested places to try:
- 7th Street, Melville - Traditionally Melville has been where most people head to for an evening meal - however lately restaurant standards have slipped considerably and it now caters to students more than the moneyed middle classes. Still worth heading towards however, especially if you only want an uncomplicated beer rather than gourmet dining. Beware of the dark side-streets once it's dark (take a little tuk-tuk taxi home instead of walking!). Suggested places to try:
- Cafe Mexicho
- Melon: 9a 7th Ave (☎ +27 (0)11 482-2477): Upmarket restaurant with great ambiance.
- Ant's Cafe: A quirky and very vibey pizza spot. Friendly service, good South African wine and delicious pizza. Special pizza price on Mondays
- The Catz Pyjamas, 12 Main Road (☎ +27 (0)11 726-8596): Trendy always-open bistro. Menu from breakfast to dinner to dessert. Good bar selection. Friendly service.
- The Lucky Bean Restuarant, 16 7th St (☎ +27 (0)11 482-5572): Fusion cooking in a relaxed atmosphere. Live DJ music on weekends. Albeit still recommended by many guide books, this place has disappointed many people with mediocre food lately.
- IT corner, 7th street corner to 4th avenue. Simple but nice coffee shop, internet access, good coffees and snacks. Some newspapers, laptops for hire to use the internet, okay staff.
- Gleneagles Road, Greenside - Greenside makes a good destination and there is a great collection of cafes and restaurants and is especially vibey on a weekend with a few bars and music venues. Suggested places to try:
- Grant Avenue, Norwood - Grant Avenue has a collection of uncomplicated restaurants, including numerous sushi places and simple pizza / pasta Italians. Suggested places to try:
- The Schwarma Co is a delightful Mediterranean - Middle Eastern Restaurant that is one of Norwood's most consistently popular places to dine.
- Tyrone Avenue, Parkview - Tyrone Avenue has a collection of coffee shops and restaurants
- Queen's Street, Kensington - Queen's Street has a handful of restaurants near the crossing with Northumberland. Suggested places to try:
- The Rusty Lady
- Cumin & Corriander
- Abyssinia if you are wanting to try some affordable authentic Ethiopian food
Johannesburg CBD - There are a handful of nice restaurants and bard near the Market Theatre in New Town. You can try:
- Sophiatown Bar Lounge
Cyrildene - For authentic Chinese fair, head this way. Derek Avenue is also known as Johannesburg's "China Town".
- Sai Thai is the only non-Chinese restaurant on this street serving up delicious and authentic Thai food - although not as cheap as the rest of China Town, guests come from far and wide to eat here. They are not licensed, so BYO.
Fordburg 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 (☎+27 (0)11 834-2040): A favorite take-away amongst 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.
- Nelson Mandela Square: there are many restaurants in and around the square, the famous "Madiba statue" is situated in the square so you will find a fair amount of tourists dining in this area.
- Melrose Arch: Melrose Arch is another upmarket establishment housing many hotels, offices, restaurants and nightclubs, including Moyo (an African-themed restaurant) and several other casual eating establishments
- Arirang in Rivonia: Very good authentic Korean food, but very expensive.
- Mexican Fresh, Riverview Centre, corner Conrad Drive and Hillcrest, Craighall: 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.
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. In Johannesburg, like the rest of the country, pubs and clubs are only permitted to stay open for a restricted length of time. Most bars, pubs and clubs are required to close at 1AM during the week, and around 2-3AM over the weekend (including Friday). Times may vary dependent on the location and what classification it falls under; namely residential or commercial zones. Thus, in Johannesburg, people tend to eat and drink much earlier in the evening when compared to that of the European norm.
- Back2Basix, 167 Perth Rd, Westdene (Opposite the University of Johannesburg (RAU)), ☎ +27 (0)11 726-6857 ([email protected]), . Primarily a concert venue it is also a fully licensed restaurant and bar. This venue hosts up-and-coming artists in addition to more established musicians, as well as a variety of music genres. edit
- Back o' the Moon Nightclub, Located in Gold Reef City Casino, ☎ +27 (0)11 496-1423, . 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. edit
- 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. edit
- Monsoon Lagoon, ☎ +27 (0)11 928-1280, . Good nightclub with DJ Sebastian. Closed. edit
- 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), ☎ +27 (0)11 803-7085 ([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. edit
- The Radium Beer Hall, Louis Botha Ave, Orange Grove, ☎ +27 (0)11 728-3866, . This place has been serving beer since 1929. Live music on weekends edit
- Roxy Rhythm Bar, 20 Main Rd, Melville, ☎ +27 (0)11 726-6019, . This club has a rooftop dance floor and a monster sound system. It welcomes live rock bands, dance events and even stand-up comedy. The more popular bands play at the weekends and Monday is student night. R50 cover charge. edit
- SAB World of Beer, 15 President St, Newtown, ☎ +27(0)11 836-4900 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)11 836-4900), . Tours run daily with last one starting at 4PM. The SAB-Miller Beer museum. R105 for the tour, including 2 free drinks in the pub at the end of the tour. edit
- 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. edit
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
|| Under R500
|| Over R1500
Johannesburg is full of accommodation to suit any type of budget, from the ultimate in luxury and expense, to backpacker lodges.
- Curiocity Backpackers, 302 Fox st, Johannesburg, 2094, ☎ +27(0)11 614 0163 ([email protected]), . Great vibe and location, awesome informed local staff, stocked bar, tours and activities everyday. They have dorms and private rooms including a very cool loft space. Located in the hip Maboneng district. From R160. edit
- 90 George Ave, 90 George Ave, Sandringham, ☎ +27 (0)11 640-1856. checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Very hospitable guesthouse, on lovely property, near to film studios and 6 km (3.8 mi) from Melrose Arch. From R250. edit
- The Backpacker's Ritz, 1A North Rd, Dunkeld West, ☎ +27 +(0)11 325-7125 ([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. From R90 dorm bed to R287 double room. edit
- Johannesburg Backpackers, Umgwezi Rd, Emmarentia, ([email protected]), . Located 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 R110. edit
- Zoo Lodge, 233a Jan Smuts Ave, Parktown North, ☎ +27 (0)11 788-5182 ([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. From R80-200. edit
Guesthouses / bed & breakfasts
- Abbotsford House, 16 First Street, Abbotsford (next to Oaklands), . Fully equipped ensuite bedrooms and free internet throughout. Centrally located in northern suburbs close to Houghton, Waverley, Oaklands, Wanderers Club, Melrose Arch. From R590 single B&B, R490 pp sharing B&B). edit
- Airport En Route, Airport En Route, 97 Boden Road, Benoni, East Rand, Gauteng, South Africa, ☎ +27 (0)83 773-5777 ([email protected]), . Friendly home atmosphere and conveniently located a fifteen-minute drive from OR Tambo Airport. Double en suite rooms and individual log cabins available, along with campsite for overnight campers. Free secure parking next to rooms. Communal self-catering kitchen, lounge, and bbq with fire pit. Breakfast basket and airport transport transfers available. Nearby shopping malls. Ranges from R200 per person to R550 for two guests. edit
- Melville Arch, 113 St Swithins Ave, Melville, . Nice affordable bed and breakfast a short walk from Melville's bars and restaurants. From R350 single (R450 en suite). edit
- House of Pharaohs Guesthouse and Conference Centre, No. 1 Gaunt Road, Bryanston Ext 5, ☎ +27 11 706 7148, . 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 500 ZAR. edit
- 9 in Observatory Guesthouse, 190 Regent Str East, Observatory, ☎ +27 (0)1164 84367, . Perhaps the best value in Johannesburg. Set in leafy Observatory overlooking the golf course this comfortable place is a short drive from both the CBD and Norwood's restaurants. However its not really walking distance from anywhere (except the golf course) so not a good choice if you don't have a car. Has free wifi also. R380 single en suite, inc cooked breakfast. edit
- Villa Lugano Guest House, 100 The Broads St, Mulbarton Johannesburg South, 2059, ☎ +27 11 432-2320 ([email protected]), . An exclusive Mediterranean styled luxury 4 Star and AA Accommodation Superior graded guesthouse, situated in the heart of friendly Mulbarton. Shuttle service also available From R415 per person sharing. edit
- Don Eastgate Hotel, ☎ +27 11 622-2115, . edit
- Melville Manor Guest House, ☎ +27 +27 0117268765 ([email protected]), . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 10:00. This guesthouse has 7 seven different suites suiting different budgets. Swimming pool, outside patio, Wi-Fi and breakfast served daily. +/- R570.00. edit
- 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, bathroom/s, bedroom/s and either private balconies or gardens. All located in secure complexes with 24 hr guard and swimming pool. edit
- Protea Hotel Wanderers, Cnr Corlett Dr & Rudd Rd, Illovo, ☎ +27 (0)11 770-5500 ([email protected]), . Close to Rosebank and Sandton From R210 shared. edit
- The Purple Fig Guest House, 10 Wargrave Rd, Auckland Park (near SABC), ☎ +27 (0)73 248-5480, . Self catering apartments. Fully equipped kitchens, eating areas, lounge, sunny patio and television, bathroom/s, bedroom/s. Facilities also include beautiful gardens, outside pool and Tibetan yoga sessions. edit
- 12 Decades Johannesburg Art Hotel, 286 Fox Street, Maboneng, ☎ (011) 026 -5601, . All rooms have lounge area, En suite bathroom with shower only, flatscreen television with DSTV, telephone and internet access. Some of its facilities and services are rooftop boxing gym, indoor parking, spa, meditation area, conferencing and transport to explore city (can be arranged).The hotel management is more backpacker than mid-range however. Rates start at ZAR 620.00. edit
- Tswalu Grove Safari Lodge, 95 Bloekom St, Hartzenbergfontein (Turn left off R82 south just past Aloe ridge turnoff, then right into Hartz Valley Estate, first left, first right.), ☎ +27 82 574 9841, . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 10:00. Stay on a working game farm with a Bushveld atmosphere in a 24 hour access controlled security estate. All units fully equipped for self catering purposes, bathroom en suite. Catered accommodation available. Home from home experience, owner run and operated. Airport pickups and collections available From R 500. edit
- Umfula Guest Lodge, 7 Bromley Close, Bryanston (off Curzon Road West near Sandton), ☎ +27 (0)11 706-4809, . 4-star accommodation. Small,homey house. Owner/manager cooks personal breakfast every morning. Can organize tours. Basic rooms with just enough luxury. From R485 pps. edit
- Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre, Viewpoint Road Bartlett, Boksburg, 1459, South Africa, ☎ +27 11 897 0000 ([email protected]), . Located just minutes from OR Tambo Airport. edit
Johannesburg also caters for those who are looking for a luxurious stay, with five-star hotels.
Many of these are located in the Sandton area.
- Radisson Blu Sandton Hotel, Johannesburg, Cnr Rivonia Road and Daisy Street P.O. Box 653148, Benmore, 2010, ☎ +27 11 245 8000, . Sandton hotel’s chic setting close to the Sandton Convention Centre One of Johannesburg's most posh suburbs, Sandton is home to multinational companies as well as to fun cultural attractions like the African Rooftop Market. From this Sandton hotel’s convenient address, you can easily reach the Johannesburg Stock Exchange or access the several Metrobus lines that connect to the city centre. Rounding out our idyllic location, OR Tambo Airport is only 30 kilometres away. edit
- 54 on Bath, 54 Bath Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, ☎ (011) 344-8500 ([email protected], fax: (011) 344-8501), . Discover a contemporary and fashionable haven on Bath Avenue right in the heart of Rosebank, Johannesburg’s trendy suburb. Classic and sophisticated, the accent is on understated elegance and our focus is to provide an exceptional guest experience. edit
- D´Oreale Grande, (in Emperors Palace near OR Tambo Int Airport), ☎ +27 (0)11 928-1770, . Very luxurious 5* hotel. edit
- Don Johannesburg Int'l Airport Hotel, ☎ +27 (0)11 392 6082, . Conveniently located minutes away from Johannesburg’s busiest Airport, the Don JIA provides first class accommodation at an economy fare. edit
- Hampshire Hotel Midrand, Johannesburg, ☎ +27 (0)800 426-774, . Hampshire Hotel Midrand is a South Africa luxury hotel located in Johannesburg. Offers conference & meeting venues as well as special deals for family & leisure holidays and business travel. edit
- Highland View Executive Guesthouse, 164 Highland Rd, Kensington, ☎ +27 (0)11 615-9001 ([email protected]), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 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. edit
- The Melrose Arch hotel, 1 Melrose Sq, Melrose Arch, ☎ +27 (0)21 430-5302, . 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. edit
- Lesedi Cultural Village, ☎ +27 (0)12 205-1394, . Offers traditionally themed accommodation with modern conveniences. edit
- Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, 191 Oxford Rd, Rosebank (adjacent to Firs Shopping Centre), ☎ +27 (0)11 280-1234 ([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. edit
- The Westcliff, ☎ +27 (0)11 481-6000 (reservation[email protected]), . Luxurious hotel with its hillside setting and cascading sculpted gardens along with their elegantly opulent accommodation. Great facilities and several restaurants and bars. edit
- Mount Grace Country House & Spa, . 5 Star Hotel and Spa just outside of Johannesburg, near the cradle of humankind. edit
- 12 Decades Art Hotel, Main Street Life Building, 286 Fox Str, Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg, ☎ 0861 548 548 ([email protected]), . Spend your night in rooms conceptualised to interpret each decade of Johannesburg's history. edit
Be aware that Johannesburg has 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. Things really went downhill in the early 1990s - and many (white) South Africans have traumatic memories of this period – memories which flavour their security advice for the city even today. However things have improved enormously since those days, 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 values 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, you should remain calm and not offer any resistance. Instead, pay attention to the physical appearance of the suspect. Note any distinctive features and then report the robbery to the Police.
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. Sometimes cash-in-transit security men are attacked at gunpoint when delivering cash boxes to banks inside the malls.
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.
Pedestrians are rare, but 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 poor 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. That said Alex is no longer (as of 2012) the warzone that it was in the 1980s and 1990s - as illustrated by the fact Alexandra township tours are now common, and a Nelson Mandela museum is being constructed.
Avoid taking the London Road off-ramp from the N3 highway to get to Sandton, especially at night. This is a short-cut but comes with risks.
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. Best not to 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 and 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 - they are notoriously bad and drunken drivers.
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). At all times, be vigilant and watch for vehicles following you or road blocks (stones, wood) on the roads. 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. The new Rea Vaya buses and the city's Metrobus service 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, Corner Arterial Rd W Bedfordview, Dr DM Smith / Sr C Standford, Tel: +27 (0)11 616 4400, Fax: +27 (0)11 616 3757
- Airport Clinic & Travel Vaccination Centre, Ground Floor, New Domestic Arrivals Terminal, ☎ +27 (0)11 921-6609. GP, dentist, vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis edit
It is best to avoid public hospitals as standards have declined recently, 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, ☎ +27 (0)11 806-1500. edit
- Milpark Hospital, 9 Guild Rd, Parktown West, ☎ +27 (0)11 480-5600. edit
Hellen Joseph Hospital > 0114891011
Coronation Hospital for women and children> 0114709000
Always-On  , +27 (0)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. edit
- The Baron. Bryanston and Woodmead edit
- Mugg&Bean. Just about all of them. edit
- Nandos. Benmore, Chilli Lane, Douglasdale, Rivonia edit
- OR Tambo Airport. Most of the airport is covered as well as the City Lodge and Airport Sun InterContinental edit
- Protea Balalaika Hotel. edit
- Wimpy. Midrand, Randburg, Centurion, Aero Centre edit
- Highland View Executive Guesthouse. 164 Highland Road, Kensington, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa~~~~ edit
- Grenada (Honorary Consulate), Third Floor Digital House, Park Lane, Sandton, ☎ +27 (0) 83 461 6559 (fax: +27 (0) 11 787 6407). edit
- United Kingdom (UK Trade & Investment), Dunkeld Corner 275 Jan Smuts Avenue, Dunkeld West, Johannesburg, ☎ +27 (0) 11 537 7203 for commercial enquiries (). edit
- Pretoria is only a short while away from Johannesburg and has a lot to offer a tourist. It is the nation's capital and is almost completely joined to the Johannesburg metro area!
- 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 is home to virtually every species of mammal in South Africa, giving visitors the opportunity to spot the Big Five as well as numerous other species and abundant bird-life while on an easy day trip from Johannesburg. Africa's fourth largest national park, (580km in area, with nearly 200km of roadways) Pilanesberg allows for frequent game sightings amidst beautiful scenery and unique volcanic geology.
- Mpumalanga Escarpment in a weekend
- Rietvlei Nature Reserve next to the R21 in Tshwane gives one the opportunity to forget about the city for a while.
- Lion Park, ☎ 27 (0)11 691 9905 ([email protected]), . Open 8:30AM to 6:0PM. Lion Park is a 2 km² (500 acre) lion wildlife conservation enclosure in Gauteng province in South Africa. The Lion Park is situated near Lanseria Airport and Fourways within distance of Johannesburg and Pretoria. The park has a large variety of predators and large herbivores indigenous to Africa. The Lion Park is home to over 80 lions including the rare white lions and many other carnivores such as cheetah ...Located in Cnr Malibongwe & R114 edit
- 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 (0) 14 577-9000
- Gaborone is the capital city of Botswana, has a lower crime rate. It can be easily reached by plane, usually less than an hour.
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