Johannesburg is Africa's most modern and thriving city. It is the commercial, financial, industrial, mining, retail and business hub of South Africa. Generating 16% of South Africa's GDP, Johannesburg is one of the world's leading financial centres. Welcome to eGoli, the City of Gold.

Highlights
  • Gateway to southern Africa: OR Tambo International Airport
  • Most modern, prosperous city in Africa
  • One of the world's largest metropolitan areas
  • Incorporates Randburg, Sandton, Soweto, Germiston and Midrand
  • Shopping capital of Africa
  • Choice of entertainment complexes and casinos
  • Buzzing night-life with live music venues
  • Excellent sporting, golf and outdoor activities

Known to locals as Jozi, Jo’burg, eGoli (city of gold) or Joeys, it’s the largest, wealthiest, most cosmopolitan and vibrant city south of the Sahara. It’s often where you’ll start or end your African Safari as it’s the gateway to Southern Africa with the continent’s busiest airport: OR Tambo International.

Brief Background

Founded in 1888 following a gold rush, Johannesburg is the world’s largest city not situated on a river, lake or ocean. It also has one of the largest metropolitan areas on the globe, incorporating Sandton, Randburg, Soweto, Germiston and Midrand. Located on South Africa’s eastern plateau or Highveld, Johannesburg is 1,753 m (5,751 ft) above sea-level. While not a capital city as such, it is the seat of South Africa’s Constitutional Court.

Getting Around

The easiest way to get from OR Tambo International to the major nodes of Johannesburg is via the new rapid rail system, the Gautrain, which links to Rhodesfield, Modderfontein, Sandton, Rosebank and Park Station (CBD) in Johannesburg as well as Midrand, Pretoria, Centurion and Hatfield to the north. There’s also an excellent network of highways and a good road system.

Weather

Johannesburg has an excellent, healthy climate: long, hot summers (average 27°C/79°F), with regular afternoon thundershowers. Winters are short with clear sunny days (16°C/61°F) and very chilly evenings (4.1°C/39.4°F) or below, although snow is rare.

Top Things to Do and See

If you have time to spare before or after your African safari, there are loads of tours and activities to suit all tastes and all ages. Please talk to us about what you'd like to see and do, and we'll gladly advise and book your day tours. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Tour to Soweto – a glimpse into South Africa’s incredibly diverse cultures
  • Johannesburg Tour – overview of some of the city’s landmarks and complex history
  • Apartheid Museum – a testament to South Africa’s turbulent past, and the indomitable spirit of its people
  • Gold Reef City – theme and amusement park of Johannesburg’s Gold Rush heydays – with an authentic, working gold mine
  • Topless City Sightseeing Bus - hop on, hop off tourist bus visiting some of the city's main attractions
  • Hot-Air Ballooning – romantic wicker-basket ride over the Magaliesberg
  • Maboneng Arts & Culture Precinct - a melting-pot of restaurants, shops, galleries, work & play spaces. Recently voted one of the Top 10 "Coolest Neighbourhoods" in the world by Forbes.
  • Shopping Safari – visit some of the continents’ best markets and malls
  • Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind – a place of origins, where mankind comes from
  • Lesedi Village – experience traditional African tribal homesteads and age-old hospitality
  • The Carnivore Restaurant – sample an array of wild meat from wildebeest to warthog, crocodile to kudu
  • Sun City & The Lost City – a kingdom of pleasure created in an extinct volcano crater, a 2 hour's drive away
  • Pilanesberg Game Reserve – malaria-free, Big 5 game reserve near Sun City, 2.5 hours' drive from Johannesburg
  • Magaliesberg Canopy Tour – high-wire ziplining from platform to platform for breathtaking views

Johannesburg is known for its nightlife: theatre, reviews, live jazz and excellent cuisine. Ask your hosts or concierge for details. You'll also receive our 'best of Johannesburg' guide when you book your safari with us.

Our take on Johannesburg

Although it has received a fair share of bad publicity over the years, Johannesburg is once again gaining media favour as a vibrant, friendly city with a rich history and diverse, fascinating culture. Johannesburg has a lot to offer and is well worth a visit.

Further reading ... 10 Reasons Why Joburg is the Gateway to Africa

36 hours in Johannesburg - New York Times

Johannesburg Tourism - latest info on what's happening, where to stay, eat and play. Download the tourist app - available on iOs or Android (bottom right of home page).

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