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Skyline of Johannesburg featuring the Hillbrow Tower and Ponte City Apartments


Nickname(s): Jo'burg; Jozi; Egoli (City of Gold); Gauteng (Place of Gold); Maboneng (City of Lights); Jozi; Africa's greatest City; Jigaburg; JHB
Motto: A world class African city[1]
Location of Johannesburg within Gauteng
Johannesburg is located in South Africa
Johannesburg location within South Africa
Coordinates: 26°12′16″S 28°2′44″E / 26.20444°S 28.04556°E / -26.20444; 28.04556Coordinates: 26°12′16″S 28°2′44″E / 26.20444°S 28.04556°E / -26.20444; 28.04556
Country  South Africa
Province Gauteng
Established 1886
 - Mayor Amos Masondo (ANC) [2]
Area [3]
 - City 1,644.96 km2 (635.1 sq mi)
Elevation 1,753 m (5,751 ft)
Population (2007)[4]
 - City 3,888,180
 Density 2,364/km2 (6,122.7/sq mi)
 Metro 6,267,700
Time zone SAST (UTC+2)
Area code(s) 011

Johannesburg (English pronunciation: /dʒoʊ'hænɪsˌbɜː(r)ɡ/; Afrikaans pronunciation: [joˈhɑnəsˌbʏrx]) also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or eGoli, is the largest city in South Africa. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa. The city is one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world[5], and is also the world's largest city not situated on a river, lake, or coastline.[6] While Johannesburg is not officially one of South Africa's three capital cities, it does house the Constitutional Court – South Africa's highest court. Johannesburg is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. Johannesburg is served by O.R. Tambo International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Africa and a gateway for international air travel to and from the rest of southern Africa.

According to the 2007 Community Survey, the population of the municipal city was 3,888,180 and the population of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area was 7,151,447.[citation needed] A broader definition of the Johannesburg metropolitan area, including Ekhuruleni, the West Rand, Soweto and Lenasia, has a population of 10,267,700.[citation needed] The municipal city's land area of 1,645 km2 (635 sq mi) is very large when compared to other cities, resulting in a moderate population density of 2,364 /km2 (6,120 /sq mi).

Johannesburg once again includes Soweto, which was a separate city from the late 1970s until the 1990s. Originally an acronym for "SOuth-WEstern TOwnships", Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg populated mostly by native African workers in the gold mining industry. Eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, the apartheid regime (in power 1949–1994) separated Soweto from the rest of Johannesburg to make it a completely Black area. Lenasia is also part of Johannesburg.

Gauteng is growing rapidly due to mass urbanisation which is a feature of many developing countries. According to the State of the Cities Report, the urban portion of Gauteng – comprised primarily of the cities of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni (the East Rand) and Tshwane (greater Pretoria) – will be a polycentric urban region with a projected population of some 14.6 million people by 2015.[7]



The farm where gold was first discovered in 1886.

The region surrounding Johannesburg was originally inhabited by San tribes. By the 1200s, groups of Bantu-speaking peoples started moving southwards from central Africa and encroached on the indigenous San population. By the mid 1700s, the broader region was densely settled by various Sotho-Tswana communities (one linguistic branch of Bantu-speakers), whose villages, towns, chiefdoms and kingdoms stretched from what is now Botswana in the west, to present day Lesotho in the south, to the present day Pedi areas of the northern Transvaal.

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More specifically, the stone-walled ruins of Sotho-Tswana towns and villages are scattered around the parts of the former Transvaal in which Johannesburg is situated. The Sotho-Tswana practiced farming, raised cattle, sheep and goats, and extensively mined and smelted copper, iron and tin. Moreover, from the early 1960s until his retirement, Professor Revil Mason, of the University of the Witwatersrand, explored and documented many Late Iron Age archeological sites throughout the Johannesburg area, dating from between the 1100s and 1700s, and many of these sites contained the ruins of Sotho-Tswana mines and iron smelting furnaces, suggesting that the area was being exploited for its mineral wealth before the arrival of Europeans or the discovery of gold.[citation needed] The most prominent site within Johannesburg is Melville Koppies, which contains an iron smelting furnace. Many Sotho-Tswana towns and villages in the areas around Johannesburg were destroyed and their people driven away during the wars emanating from Zululand during the late 1700s and early 1800s (the mfecane or difaqane wars), and as a result, an offshoot of the Zulu kingdom, the Matabele, set up a kingdom to the northwest of Johannesburg around modern day Hartebeestpoort and Rustenburg, and historians believe that the Matebele kingdom dominated the Johannesburg area.[citation needed] The Dutch speaking Voortrekkers arrived in the early 1800s, driving away the Matebele with the help of Sotho-Tswana allies, establishing settlements around Rustenburg and Pretoria in the early 1830s, and claiming sovereignty over what would become Johannesburg as part of the South African Republic or Transvaal Republic. Gold was discovered in the 1880s and triggered the gold rush. Gold was initially discovered some 400 km to the east of present-day Johannesburg, in Barberton. Gold prospectors soon discovered that there were even richer gold reefs in the Witwatersrand. Gold was discovered at Langlaagte, Johannesburg in 1886.

Johannesburg was a dusty settlement some 55 km from the Transvaal Republic capital which was Pretoria. The town was much the same as any small prospecting settlement, but, as word spread, people flocked to the area from all other regions of the country, as well as from North America, the United Kingdom and Europe.[8]. As the value of control of the land increased, tensions developed between the Boer government in Pretoria and the British, culminating in the Jameson Raid that ended in fiasco at Doornkop in January 1896 and the Second Boer War (1899–1902) that saw British forces under Lord Roberts occupy the city on 30 May 1900 after a series of battles to the south of its then-limits.

Fighting took place at the Gatsrand Pass (near Zakariyya Park) on 27 May, north of Vanwyksrust—today's Nancefield, Eldorado Park and Naturena—the next day, culminating in a mass infantry attack on what is now the waterworks ridge in Chiawelo and Senaoane on 29 May.[citation needed]

Controversy surrounds the origin of the name, as there were any number of people with the name "Johannes" who were involved in the early history of the city. The principal clerk attached to the office of the surveyor-general, Johannes Rissik, Christiaan Johannes Joubert, member of the Volksraad and the Republic's chief of mining, Paul Kruger, President of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (Transvaal). Rissik and Joubert were members of a delegation sent to England to attain mining rights for the area. Joubert had a park in the city named after him and Rissik street is today a main street where the (now dilapidated) Post Office and City Hall are located.

Major building developments took place in the 1930s, after South Africa went off the gold standard. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Hillbrow went high-rise. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the apartheid government constructed the massive agglomeration of townships that became known as Soweto (SOuth WEstern TOwnships). New freeways encouraged massive suburban sprawl to the north of the city. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, tower blocks (including the Carlton Centre and the Southern Life Centre) filled the skyline of the central business district. The central area of the city underwent something of a decline in the 1980s and 1990s, due to crime and when property speculators directed large amounts of capital into suburban shopping malls, decentralised office parks, and entertainment centres. Sandton City was opened in 1973, followed by Rosebank Mall in 1976, and Eastgate in 1979.[9]

On May 12, 2008, On May 12, 2008 a series of riots started in the township of Alexandra (in the north-eastern part of Johannesburg) when locals attacked migrants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing two people and injuring 40 others. These riots sparked the xenophobic attacks of 2008.[10]


The JSE is the largest stock exchange on the African continent.
Region A Diepsloot, Kya Sand
Region B : Randburg, Rosebank, Emmarentia, Greenside, Melville, Northcliff, Rosebank, Parktown, Parktown North
Region C : Roodepoort, Constantia Kloof, Northgate
Region D : Doornkop, Soweto, Dobsonville, Protea Glen
Region E : Alexandra, Wynberg, Sandton
Region F : Inner City
Region G : Orange Farm, Ennerdale, Lenasia

During the apartheid era, Johannesburg was divided into 11 local authorities, seven of which were white and four black or coloured. The white authorities were 90% self-sufficient from property tax and other local taxes, and spent ZAR 600 (USD 93) per person, while the black authorities were only 10% self-sufficient, spending R 100 (USD 15) per person.[citation needed]

The first post-apartheid City Council was created in 1995. The council adopted the slogan "One City, One Taxpayer" in order to highlight its primary goal of addressing unequal tax revenue distribution. To this end, revenue from wealthy, traditionally white areas would help pay for services needed in poorer, black areas. The City Council was divided into four regions, each with a substantially autonomous local regional authority that was to be overseen by a central metropolitan council. Furthermore, the municipal boundaries were expanded to include wealthy satellite towns like Sandton and Randburg, poorer neighbouring townships such as Soweto and Alexandra, and informal settlements like Orange Farm.

In 1999, Johannesburg appointed a city manager in order to reshape the city's ailing financial situation.[citation needed] The manager, together with the Municipal Council, drew up a blueprint called "Igoli 2002". This was a three-year plan that called upon the government to sell non-core assets, restructure certain utilities, and required that all others become self-sufficient. The plan took the city from near insolvency to an operating surplus of R 153 million (USD 23.6 million).[citation needed]

Following the creation of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Johannesburg was divided into eleven administrative regions (these regions did not correspond to the areas governed by the former local authorities). In 2006, the number of administrative regions was consolidated, from eleven to seven.[4]


According to a Time Magazine article dated May 20, 2008, "South Africa has some of the world's worst levels of violent crime, with 52 people murdered every 24 hours, for an annual murder rate of 43.1 per 100,000 people. Added to that each year are 200,000 robberies, 55,000 rapes, and half a million cases of assault and attempted murder." [5]

After the Group Areas Act was scrapped in 1991, Johannesburg was affected by urban blight. Thousands of poor, had been forbidden to live in the city proper, moved into the city from surrounding black townships like Soweto and many immigrants from economically beleaguered and war torn African nations flooded into South Africa, with Johannesburg the most northerly major city and therein a logical choice. Many buildings were abandoned by landlords, especially in high-density areas, such as Hillbrow. Many corporations and institutions, including the stock exchange, moved their headquarters away from the city centre, to suburbs like Sandton.

Reviving the city centre is one of the main aims of the municipal government of Johannesburg. Drastic measures have been taken to reduce crime in the city. These measures include closed-circuit television on street corners. As of December 11, 2008, every street corner in Johannesburg central is under high-tech CCTV surveillance.[11] The CCTV system, operated by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), is also able to detect stolen or hijacked vehicles by scanning the number plates of every vehicle traveling through the Central business district (CBD), then comparing them to the eNaTIS database. The CCTV system has proven to be very effective. The average response time by police for crimes committed in the CBD is under 60 seconds.[11]

Crime levels in Johannesburg have dropped as the economy has stabilised and begun to grow.[12] Between 2001 and 2006, R9-Billion (US$1.2 Billion) has been invested in the city centre. Further investment of around R10-Billion (US$ 1.5 Billion) is expected in the city centre alone by 2010. This excludes development directly associated with the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[13] In an effort to prepare Johannesburg for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, local government has enlisted the help of former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani to help bring down the crime rate, as the opening and closing matches of the tournament will be played in the city.[14]


Johannesburg is located in the eastern plateau area of South Africa known as the Highveld, at an elevation of 1,753 metres (5,751 ft). The former CBD is located on the south side of the prominent ridge called the Witwatersrand (Afrikaans: White Water's Ridge) and the terrain falls to the north and south. By and large the Witwatersrand marks the watershed between the Limpopo and Vaal rivers. The north and west of the city has undulating hills while the eastern parts are flatter.the GIS admin is available


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: SAWS[15]

Johannesburg features a Subtropical highland climate. The city enjoys a dry, sunny climate, with the exception of occasional late afternoon downpours in the summer months of October to April.[citation needed] Temperatures in Johannesburg are usually fairly mild due to the city's high altitude, with the average maximum daytime temperature in January of 26 °C (79 °F), dropping to an average maximum of around 16 °C (61 °F) in June. Winter is the sunniest time of the year, with cool days and cold nights. The temperature occasionally drops to below freezing at night, causing frost. Snow is a rare occurrence, with snowfall having been experienced in May 1956, August 1962, June 1964, September 1981 and August 2006 (light). Snow fell again on 27 June 2007,[16] accumulating up to 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in the southern suburbs. Regular cold fronts pass over in winter bringing very cold southerly winds but usually clear skies. The annual average rainfall is 713 millimetres (28.1 in), which is mostly concentrated in the summer months. Infrequent showers occur through the course of the winter months.

Despite the relatively dry climate, Johannesburg has over ten million trees,[17] and it is now the biggest man-made forest in the world, followed by Graskop in Mpumalanga that is the second biggest.[18] Many trees were originally planted in the northern areas of the city at the end of the 19th century, to provide wood for the mining industry. The areas were developed by the Randlord, Hermann Eckstein, a German immigrant, who called the forest estates Sachsenwald. The name was changed to Saxonwold, now the name of a suburb, during World War I. Early (white) residents who moved into the areas Parkhurst, Parktown, Parkview, Westcliff, Saxonwold, Houghton Estate, Illovo, Hyde Park, Dunkeld, Melrose, Inanda, Sandhurst, now collectively referred to as the Northern Suburbs, retained many of the original trees and have even expanded their forests with the encouragement of successive city councils. In recent years however, deforestation has occurred to make way for both residential and commercial redevelopment.

Climate data for Johannesburg
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35
Average high °C (°F) 26
Average low °C (°F) 15
Record low °C (°F) 7
Precipitation mm (inches) 125
Avg. precipitation days 16 11 12 9 3 2 1 2 4 10 15 15 99
Source: South African Weather Service[15] 6 March 2010


Geographical distribution of home languages in Johannesburg
     Afrikaans      English      Ndebele      Xhosa      Zulu      Northern Sotho      Sotho      Tswana      Venda      Tsonga
     No language dominant

According to the 2001 South African National Census, the population of Johannesburg is 3,225,812 people, though including the East Rand and other suburban areas it's around 7 million, consisting of people who live in 1,006,930 formal households, of which 86% have a flush or chemical toilet, and 91% have refuse removed by the municipality at least once a week. 81% of households have access to running water, and 80% use electricity as the main source of energy. 29% of Johannesburg residents stay in informal dwellings[19]. 66% of households are headed by one person.

Black Africans account for 73% of the population, followed by whites at 16%, coloureds at 6% and Asians at 4%. 42% of the population is under the age of 24, while 6% of the population is over 60 years of age. 37% of city residents are unemployed. 91% of the unemployed are black. Women comprise 43% of the working population. 19% of economically active adults work in wholesale and retail sectors, 18% in financial, real estate and business services, 17% in community, social and personal services and 12% are in manufacturing. Only 0.7% work in mining.

32% of Johannesburg residents speak Nguni languages at home, 24% speak Sotho languages, 18% speak English, 7% speak Afrikaans and 6% speak Tshivenda. 29% of adults have graduated from high school. 14% have higher education (University or Technical school). 7% of residents are completely illiterate. 15% have primary education.

34% use public transportation to commute to work or school. 32% walk to work or school. 34% use private transportation to travel to work or school.

53% belong to mainstream Christian churches, 24% are not affiliated with any organized religion, 14% are members of African Independent Churches, 3% are Muslim, 1% are Jewish and 1% are Hindu.

Johannesburg has a large Latter-day Saint (or Mormon) membership, with around 48,112 members, and had the first LDS Temple built in Africa. It was dedicated in 1985 and is located in the historic suburb of Parktown


The skyline of Johannesburg's Central Business District as seen from the observatory of the Carlton Centre
11 Diagonal Street, designed by the famous American architect Helmut Jahn and built in 1984
The skyline of Hillbrow
The Southern Life Centre
The KwaDukuza eGoli Hotel
Carlton Centre
Absa Bank, one of the largest banks in Africa
Sandton City, one of the Largest Shopping Centres in the Southern Hemisphere

Johannesburg is one of the most modern and prosperous cities in South Africa. Due to its many different central districts Johannesburg would fall under the Multiple Nuclei Model in Human Geography terms. It is the hub of South Africa's commercial, financial, industrial, and mining undertakings. Johannesburg is part of a larger urban region. It is closely linked with several other satellite towns. Randburg and Sandton form part of the northern area. The east and west ridges spread out from central Johannesburg. The Central Business District covers an area of 6 square kilometres. It consists of closely packed skyscrapers such as the Carlton Centre, Marble Towers, Trust Bank Building, Ponte City Apartments, Southern Life Centre and 11 Diagonal Street.


Johannesburg is home to some of Africa's tallest structures, such as the Sentech Tower, Hillbrow Tower and the Carlton Centre. The Johannesburg city skyline has most of the tallest buildings on the continent and contains most international organisations such as IBM, Absa, BHP Billiton, Willis Group, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank. Many of the city's older buildings have been pulled down and more modern ones built in their place. North of the CBD is Hillbrow, the most densely populated residential area in southern Africa. Northwest of the CBD is Braamfontein, a secondary CBD housing many offices and business premises.

Parks and gardens

Parks and gardens in Johannesburg are maintained by Johannesburg City Parks.[20] They are also responsible for maintaining and planting the millions of trees in Johannesburg.

Johannesburg Botanical Garden, located in the suburb of Emmarentia, is a popular recreational park.

Residential areas

Johannesburg's residential areas range from luxurious, wooded suburbs, to shanty towns and squatter settlements. Alexandra, a township northeast of the city centre, is home to about 125,000 people. It was established by workers who migrated from rural areas in the late 1930s. Since the 1980s, large numbers of people have moved to Johannesburg in search of work. A lack of housing in the city has forced many to set up squatter settlements on the outskirts of the city. Most of these communities lack electricity and running water, and residents live in makeshift shacks made of scrap metal,board, and other discarded materials. In some settlements, such as Phola Park south of Johannesburg, town planners have attempted to build streets and provide residents with basic needs.


Johannesburg is one of the world's leading financial centres [21] and it is the economic and financial hub of South Africa, producing 16% of South Africa's gross domestic product, and accounts for 40% of Gauteng's economic activity.[citation needed] In a 2007 survey conducted by MasterCard, Johannesburg ranked 47 out of 50 top cities in the world as a worldwide centre of commerce (the only city in Africa) [22].

Mining was the foundation of the Witwatersrand's economy, but its importance is gradually declining due to dwindling reserves and service and manufacturing industries have become more significant to the city's economy. While gold mining no longer takes place within the city limits, most mining companies still have their headquarters in Johannesburg. The city's manufacturing industries extend across a range of areas and there is still a reliance on heavy industries including steel and cement plants. The service and other industries include banking, IT, real estate, transport, broadcast and print media, private health care, transport and a vibrant leisure and consumer retail market.[citation needed] Johannesburg has Africa's largest stock exchange, the JSE although it has moved out of the central business district. Due to its commercial role, the city is the seat of the provincial government and the site of a number of government branch offices, as well as consular offices and other institutions. There is also a significant informal economy consisting of cash-only street traders and vendors.[citation needed] The level of this economic activity is difficult to track in official statistics and it supports a sector of the population including immigrants who are not in formal employment. However, it is clear that the informal economy operating in Johannesburg is certainly one of the biggest in the world.

The Witwatersrand urban complex is a major consumer of water in a dry region. Its continued economic and population growth has depended on schemes to divert water from other regions of South Africa and from the highlands of Lesotho, the biggest of which is the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, but additional sources will be needed early in the 21st century.

The container terminal at City Deep is known to be the largest "dry port" in the world, with some 60% of cargo that arrives through the ports of Durban and Cape Town arriving in Johannesburg. The City Deep area has been declared an IDZ (industrial development zone) by the Gauteng government.


Johannesburg's largest shopping centre is Sandton City, while Hyde Park is one of its most prestigious. Other centres include Rosebank, Eastgate, Westgate, Northgate, Southgate, The Glen Shopping centre, Johannesburg South, and Cresta. There are also plans to build a large shopping centre, known as the Zonk'Izizwe Shopping Resort, in Midrand. "Zonk'Izizwe" means "All Nations" in Zulu language, indicating that the centre will cater to the city's diverse mix of peoples and races. Also a complex named Greenstone in Modderfontein has been opened and is intended to become the largest shopping complex in the southern hemisphere[23].

Communications and media

The Radiopark Centre with the Sentech Tower in the background. The Radiopark Centre is one of the most visible landmarks throughout the north-western suburbs.

The city is home to several media groups which own a number of newspaper and magazine titles. The two main print media groups are Independent Newspapers and Naspers (Media24). The electronic media is also headquartered in the greater metropolitan region. Beeld is a leading Afrikaans newspaper for the city and the country[citation needed], while the City Press is a Sunday newspaper that is the third largest selling newspaper in South Africa[citation needed]. The Sowetan is one of a number of titles catering for the black market although in recent years it competes against newly arrived tabloids. The Mail & Guardian is an investigative liberal newspaper while The Citizen is a tabloid-style paper, and The Star is a local newspaper that mostly covers Gauteng-related issues. The Sunday Times is the most widely read national Sunday newspaper[citation needed]. True Love is the most widely read women's magazine[citation needed], catering primarily to the up and coming middle class black female market, published by Media 24. The Times is a national newspaper that covers current issues.

Media ownership is relatively complicated with a number of cross shareholdings which have been rationalised in recent years resulting in the movement of some ownership into the hands of black shareholders. This has been accompanied by a growth in black editorship and journalism.

Johannesburg has a number of regional radio stations such as YFM, Metro FM, Phalaphala FM, Talk Radio 702, Highveld Stereo, 5FM, UJ FM and Kaya FM and Classic FM. The number of radio stations has increased in recent years as the government sold off frequencies to private companies. Johannesburg is also the headquarters of state-owned broadcaster South African Broadcasting Corporation and pay broadcast network Multichoice which distributes M-Net and DStv a digital satellite service, while eTV also has a presence in the city. etv is the only other terrestrial broadcaster and it is free-to-air and funded by advertising revenue. The city has two television towers, the Hillbrow Tower and the Sentech Tower.

Johannesburg has 4 Major Cellular Telecommunisations operators: Vodacom, MTN Group, Cell C, and Virgin Mobile. Vodacom's Global Headquarters is located in Midrand. It was formed in 1994, just after the South African Elections of 1994.[24]


The Hillbrow Tower, one of Johannesburg's two telecommunications towers
The Sentech Tower, the other of Johannesburg's two telecommunications towers

Kwaito is the musical genre from Johannesburg that is considered to be the post-struggle (post-apartheid) music of choice by South African youth. Some consider Kwaito to be apolitical dance music because the same lyrics are typically repeated throughout the entire song and are placed over the rhythms and beats of House music.

Kwaito has touched more than the music scene in South Africa. In recent years, it has become deeply embedded in young South African culture because it represents "the streets", street life, and the people who live there. As Grant Clark notes after his trip to Johannesburg, "Kwaito has evolved its own street style. It's not just music, it's the way you walk, talk, dance, and of course, dress." [25]


Johannesburg's suburbs are the product of extensive urban sprawl and are regionalised into north, south, east and west, and they generally have different personalities. While the Central Business District and the immediate surrounding areas were formerly desirable living areas, the spatial accommodation of the suburbs has tended to see a flight from the city and immediate surrounds. The inner city buildings have been let out to the lower income groups and illegal immigrants and as a result abandoned buildings and crime have become a feature of inner city life. The immediate city suburbs include Yeoville, a hot spot for black nightlife despite its otherwise poor reputation. The suburbs to the south of the city are mainly blue collar neighbourhoods and situated closer to some townships. The suburbs to the west have in recent years floundered with the decline of the mining industry but have in some cases experienced some revival with properties being bought up by the black middle class. The biggest sprawl lies to the east and north. The eastern suburbs are relatively prosperous and close to various industrial zones. The northern suburbs have been the recipient of most of the flight from the inner city and some residential areas have become commercialised particularly around the area of Sandton, stretching north towards Midrand, a half way point between Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

Traditionally the northern and northwestern suburbs have been the centre for the wealthy, containing the high-end retail shops as well as several upper-class residential areas such as Hyde Park, Sandhurst, Northcliff and Houghton, where Nelson Mandela makes his home. The northwestern area in particular is vibrant and lively, with the mostly-black suburb of Sophiatown once centre of political activity and the Bohemian-flavoured Melville featuring restaurants and nightlife. Auckland Park is home to the headquarters of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, AFDA (The South African School of Motion Picture and Live Performance) and the University of Johannesburg.

To the southwest of the City Centre is Soweto, a mostly black urban area constructed during the apartheid regime specifically for housing African people who were then living in areas designated by the government for white settlement.

To the south of Johannesburg is Lenasia, a mostly Asian area which was constructed during the Apartheid era specifically to house Asians. It is closer to the city centre and smaller than Soweto.


Image from the Central Business district of Johannesburg
Johannesburg region map with names
One of the numerous skyscrapers of the city

Johannesburg has not traditionally been known as a tourist destination, but the city is a transit point for connecting flights to Cape Town, Durban, and the Kruger National Park. Consequently, most international visitors to South Africa pass through Johannesburg at least once, which has led to the development of more attractions for tourists. Recent additions have centred around history museums, such as the Apartheid Museum and the Hector Pieterson Museum. Gold Reef City, a large amusement park to the south of the Central Business District, is also a large draw for tourists in the city. The Johannesburg Zoo is also one of the largest in South Africa.

The city also has several art museums, such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, which featured South African and European landscape and figurative paintings. The Museum Africa covers the history of the city of Johannesburg, as well as housing a large collection of rock art. The Market Theatre complex attained notoriety in the 1970s and 1980s by staging anti-apartheid plays, and has now become a centre for modern South African playwriting. The Johannesburg Civic Theatre is South Africa's foremost "receiving house" of live entertainment—presenting world class theatre, both local and international.[26]

There is also a large industry around visiting former townships, such as Soweto and Alexandra. Most visitors to Soweto go to see the Mandela Museum, which is located in the former home of Nelson Mandela.

The Cradle of Humankind [6] a UNESCO World Heritage Site is 25 kilometres (16 mi) to the northwest of the city. The Sterkfontein fossil site is famous for being the world's richest hominid site and produced the first adult Australopithecus africanus and the first near-complete skeleton of an early Australopithecine. Other attractions in this area include the Lesedi Cultural Village, while Magaliesburg and the Hartbeespoort Dam are popular weekend (and holiday) destinations for Johannesburg residents.

The Suburbs of Melville, Newtown, Parkhurst, Norwood and Greenside are popular for their bohemian atmosphere, street life, and many restaurants and bars.

Sports teams and stadiums

Club Sport League Stadium
Kaizer Chiefs Football Premier Soccer League Johannesburg Stadium
Moroka Swallows Football Premier Soccer League Rand Stadium
Orlando Pirates Football Premier Soccer League Soccer City
Alexander United Football MTN Supersport Leagues Alexander Stadium
Katlehong City Football MTN Supersport Leagues Potgietersrus Rugby Stadium
Highveld Lions Cricket Standard Bank Cup Series Wanderers Stadium
Lions Rugby union Super 14 Coca-Cola Park
Golden Lions Rugby union Currie Cup Coca-Cola Park
FNB Stadium, also known as Soccer City, currently under reconstruction

Johannesburg's most popular sports by participation are association football, cricket, rugby union, and running. The Lions, formerly the Cats, represent Johannesburg, North West and Mpumalanga in the Southern Hemisphere's Super 14 Rugby Competition, which includes teams from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Cricket is one of the more popular sports. In cricket, the Highveld Lions represent Johannesburg, the rest of Gauteng as well as the North West Province at the Wanderers Stadium which was the venue for the 2003 Cricket World Cup Final in which Australia successfully defended their title. Wanderers Stadium hosted what many cricket fans consider the greatest ever ODI match in which South Africa successfully chased down 434 runs. They take part in the first class SuperSport Series, the one-day MTN Domestic Championship and the Twenty20 Standard Bank Pro 20 Series.

Johannesburg also hosted matches from and the final of the ICC World Twenty20. in which India beat Pakistan in the final.

A view of Johannesburg from Kyalami, a major motor race track in Johannesburg's northern suburbs

Early each Sunday morning, tens of thousands of runners gather to take part in informal runs organised by several athletic clubs. The city has several football clubs in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the First Division. In the PSL, the top Johannesburg teams are all fierce rivals and include Kaizer Chiefs (also known as the Amakhosi), Orlando Pirates (also known as the Buccaneers) and Moroka Swallows, based at the city's Johannesburg, Rand, and FNB stadiums respectively. Witwatersrand University, nicknamed the Clever Boys, who have a player membership of over 1,500, one of the world's largest are also part of the premier league. First Division teams include Katlehong City and Alexandra United, who play at Alexandra and Reiger Park stadia respectively


Johannesburg is a young and sprawling city geared towards private motorists, and lacks a convenient public transportation system. A significant number of the city's residents are dependent on the city's informal minibus taxis.

A street in Hillbrow, the most densely populated residential area in Southern Africa


OR Tambo International Airport Terminal B

Johannesburg is served by OR Tambo International Airport (formerly Johannesburg International Airport) for both domestic and international flights. Other airports include Rand Airport, Grand Central Airport, and Lanseria. Rand Airport, located in Germiston, is a small airfield used mostly for private aircraft and the home of South African Airways's first Boeing 747 Classic, the Lebombo, which is now an aviation museum. Grand Central is located in Midrand and also caters to small, private aircraft. Lanseria Airport is used for commercial flights to Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Botswana, and Sun City.


The fact that Johannesburg is not near a large navigable body of water has meant that ground transportation has been the most important method of transporting people and goods in and out of the city. One of Africa's most famous "beltways" or ring roads/orbitals is the Johannesburg Ring Road. The road is composed of three freeways that converge on the city, forming an 80-kilometre (50 mi) loop around it: the N3 Eastern Bypass, which links Johannesburg with Durban; the N1 Western Bypass, which links Johannesburg with Pretoria and Cape Town; and the N12 Southern Bypass, which links Johannesburg with Witbank and Kimberley. The N3 was built exclusively with asphalt, while the N12 and N1 sections were made with concrete, hence the nickname given to the N1 Western Bypass, "The Concrete Highway". In spite of being up to 12 lanes wide in some areas (6 lanes in either direction), the Johannesburg Ring Road is frequently clogged with traffic. The Gillooly's Interchange, built on an old farm and the point at which the N3 Eastern Bypass and the R24 Airport Freeway intersect, is the busiest interchange in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also claimed that the N1 is the busiest road in South Africa.

A board on the N3 indicating the exit for Johannesburg. The M1 is one of the busiest highways in Johannesburg.
The M2 in the afternoon as it passes through the Central Business District
Busy side street off Beyers Naudé Drive in Cresta, Gauteng

Johannesburg has the most freeways connected to it. It has the N1, N3, N12, N14, N17, R21, R24 and the R59, all leading to Johannesburg. The M1 and M2 freeways were built to direct traffic towards the city centre. These two freeways are congested due to mass urbanisation.


A full minibus taxi

Johannesburg has two kinds of taxis, metered taxis and minibus taxis. Unlike many cities, metered taxis are not allowed to drive around the city looking for passengers and instead must be called and ordered to a destination. The Gauteng Provincial Government has launched a new metered taxi programme in an attempt to increase use of metered taxis in the city.[citation needed]

The minibus "taxis" are the de facto standard and essential form of transport for the majority of the population. Since the 1980s The minibus taxi industry has been severely affected by turf wars.

Mass transit

Johannesburg's metro railway system connects central Johannesburg to Soweto, Pretoria, and most of the satellite towns along the Witwatersrand. The railways transport huge numbers of workers everyday. However, the railway infrastructure was built in Johannesburg's infancy and covers only the older areas in the city's south. The northern areas, including the business districts of Sandton, Midrand, Randburg, and Rosebank, currently lack rail infrastructure.


A part of the Gauteng Provincial Government's Blue IQ Project, Gautrain has made provision for the creation of a rapid rail link, running north to south, between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and west to east between Sandton and Johannesburg International Airport. Construction of the Gautrain Rapid Rail started in October 2006 and will be completed by 2011. It will consist of a number of underground stations, as well as above ground stations. Stations on the northern line include Johannesburg's Park Station, Rosebank, Sandton, Midrand and Pretoria. There will also be a line from the OR Tambo International Airport traveling to Sandton.

The east-west line from the airport to Sandton is planned to be operational in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in June 2010.

The rail system is being designed to alleviate traffic on the N1 freeway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, which records vehicle loads of up to 300,000 per day.[citation needed]. An extensive bus feeder system is also being implemented, which will allow access to the main stations from the outer suburbs. This will be the first new railway system that has been laid in South Africa since 1977.[citation needed].


Johannesburg is served by a bus fleet operated by Metrobus, a corporate unit of the City of Johannesburg. It has a fleet consisting of approximately 550 single and double-decker buses, plying 84 different routes in the city. This total includes 200 modern buses (150 double-deckers and 50 single-deckers), made by Volvo and Marcopolo/Brasa in 2002. Metrobus' fleet carries approximately 20 million passengers per annum. In addition there are a number of private bus operators, though most focus on the inter-city routes, or on bus charters for touring groups. The City's main bus terminus is situated in Gandhi Square, where passengers can also obtain information regarding the Metrobus service from the walk-in customer information desk.

PUTCO also operated buss routes in and around the city.

Education and culture

The University of the Witwatersrand. Braamfontein buildings are visible in the background.

Johannesburg has a well-developed higher education system of both private and public universities. Johannesburg is served by the public universities University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg.

University of Johannesburg was formed on 1 January 2005 when three separate universities and campuses—Rand Afrikaans University, Technikon Witwatersrand, and the Johannesburg campuses of Vista University—were merged. The new university offers education primarily in English and Afrikaans, although courses may be taken in any of South Africa's official languages.

The University of the Witwatersrand is one of the leading universities in South Africa, and is famous as a centre of resistance to apartheid.

Private universities include Monash University, which has one of its eight campuses in Johannesburg (six of the other campuses are in Australia, while the eighth is in Malaysia), and Midrand Graduate Institute which is located in Midrand.

Johannesburg also has one of several film schools in the country, one of which has won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Student Film in 2006.[27] The South African School of Motion Picture and Live Performance, or AFDA for short, is situated in Auckland Park.

Johannesburg also has three teacher-training colleges and a technical college. There are numerous kindergartens, primary schools and high schools in the region. There are some libraries, art galleries and museums. One of them is MuseumAfrica, located in the CBD.[28] Specialist museums cover subjects such as Africana, costume, design, fossils, geology, military history, medical, pharmacy, photography and transportation networks such as railways. Gold Reef City, a living museum, was originally part of the Crown Mines Complex, where gold was mined to a depth of 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). The Market Theatre stages plays, comedy shows, and musical performances. The Civic Theatre complex hosts drama, opera and ballet.

The Giant Wheel, a ferris wheel found at Gold Reef City

Museums in Johannesburg

The Following is a list of some the museums in Johannesburg.[29]

AECI Dynamite Factory Museum

The AECI Dynamite Factory Museum, housed in the 1895 residence of a mining official, records the history of explosives, with particular emphasis on their use in the mining industry. It also provides a social commentary and insight into the part played by some of the world famous figures who helped shape the destiny of southern Africa.

Adler Museum of Medicine

History of Medicine, brainchild of Dr Cyril Adler, was formally inaugurated 1962. The Museum's role was to collect and preserve for posterity all material that would illustrate the History of medicine in general and of South Africa in particular.

Apartheid museum

Constitution Hill

Constitution Hill is the home of the Constitutional Court, but also the site of Johannesburg’s notorious Old Fort Prison Complex, commonly known as Number Four, where thousands of ordinary people were brutally punished before the dawn of democracy in 1994. Many of South Africa’s leading political activists, including Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, were detained here.

Hector Peterson Museum

The Hector Peterson Museum in Soweto commemorates the 566 people who died in the student uprising that followed the events of 16 June 1976. The museum is named for Hector Peterson, a 12-year-old boy who was the first person shot dead by police on that day, and is located near a memorial to his death.

James Hall Transport Museum

The James Hall museum of Transport is the largest and most comprehensive museum of land transport in South Africa. It was established by the late Jimmie Hall together with the City of Johannesburg in February 1964.

Johannesburg Art Gallery

The Johannesburg Art Gallery is an art gallery located in Joubert Park, in the central business district of Johannesburg, South Africa. The building was designed by Edward Lutyens and consists of 15 exhibition halls and sculpture gardens. It houses collections of 17th century Dutch paintings, 18th and 19th century British and European art, 19th century South African works, a large contemporary collection of 20th century local and international art and a print cabinet containing works from the 15th century to the present.

Madiba Freedom Museum

Named after the former President Mandela's clan. The museums theme is Mzabalazo and charts South Africa's journey to democracy.

Museum Africa

You step into the typical 1950s shebeen at Museum Africa in Newtown, down town Johannesburg, and an automatic motion monitor churns out a Marabi tune. Such exhibits, laying bare, as they do, the heart and soul of inner city Johannesburg, make a trip to the museum a worthwhile experience.

Origins Centre Museum

Located on the campus of the University of the Witwatersrand in Braamfontein[30], this museum contains some excellent examples of southern African rock art.

Bernberg Fashion Museum

Bernberg Fashion Museum is a primarily a museum collection, consisting of objects, and explains why and how clothing has changed and how the fashions of the past influence those of today.

South African National Museum of Military History

It is the only museum of its kind in South Africa and provides a nucleus of Museum and military history expertise in southern Africa. At the Museum you can see all types of guns, tanks, armoured cars, aircraft and naval hardware, including a midget submarine called the Molch used by the Germans in the Second World War (1939–1945).

Zoology Museum

The Zoology Museum is the only natural history museum in Johannesburg which is unusual since all the other major cities in South Africa have large public natural history museums. It has retained a unique character as the display specimens are exhibited in finely crafted teak cabinets which allow the viewer to engage directly with scores of objects at close range.

International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Johannesburg's twin towns and sister cities are:[31]

Country City
Ethiopia Addis Ababa
Azerbaijan Baku
United Kingdom Birmingham
United Kingdom London
United States New York City
Namibia Windhoek

See also


  1. ^ "Planners to gather in Joburg". Retrieved 10-05-2009. 
  2. ^ "City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality". Gauteng Department of Local Government. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  3. ^ Municipal Demarcation Board, South Africa Retrieved on 2008-03-23.
  4. ^ Statistics South Africa, Community Survey, 2007, Basic Results Municipalities (pdf-file) Retrieved on 2008-03-23.
  5. ^ Principal Agglomerations of the World
  6. ^ Johannesburg
  7. ^
  8. ^ van Onselen, Charles. New Nineveh and New Babylon. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "South African mob kills migrants". BBC. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  11. ^ a b [1], IOL – Joburg Surveillance Zooms In, 11 December 2008.
  12. ^ Drop in serious crime in Jo'burg, Mail & Guardian Online, 7 July 2006.
  13. ^ [2], – Joburg's residential projects are supporting an acceleration of the rejuvenation effort , 25 May 2007.
  14. ^ Press Release 6 August 2006, City of Johannesburg is calling for Internal Branding Advice from Global Gurus.
  15. ^ a b "Climate data for Johannesburg". South African Weather Service. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  16. ^ "Joburg covered by snow as temperature drops".,2172,151555,00.html. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  17. ^ Jozi's urban forest now at 10m trees, and growing by Lucille Davie, 8 September 2004.
  18. ^ Joburg advertises its successes by Ndaba Dlamini, 15 February 2006.
  19. ^ [ Local government, poverty reduction and inequality in Johannesburg by , Jo Beall, Owen Crankshaw, and Susan Parnell, Published in Environment and Urbanization, Apr 2000; vol. 12: pp. 107 - 122
  20. ^ "Custodians of Joburg's green heritage". Johannesburg City Parks. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Clark, Grant. "Kwaito: The Voice of Youth." From BBC World Service "Rhythms of the Continent: South Africa".
  26. ^
  27. ^ [3], 23 May 2006
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Vitis US". Origins Centre. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  31. ^ "Twinning agreements". Making Joburg an entry point into Africa. City of Johannesburg. Retrieved 28 August 2009. 


  • Early Johannesburg, Its Buildings and People. Hannes Meiring, Human & Rousseau. 1986. 143 pages. ISBN 0-7981-1456-8
  • Gold! Gold! Gold! The Johannesburg Gold Rush. Eric Rosenthal, AD. Donker, 1970, ISBN 0-949937-64-9
  • Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis. Sarah Nuttall. Duke University Press. 9 January 2005. 210 pages. ISBN 0-8223-6610-X.
  • The Corner House: The Early History of Johannesburg. Alan Patrick Cartwright. MacDonald. 1965. 293 pages.
  • District 9

External links



Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

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.

Johannesburg city skyline
Johannesburg city skyline

Johannesburg [1] (in spoken language also referred to as Jo'burg, Egoli or Jozi ) is South Africa's largest city.

For other places with the same name, see Johannesburg (disambiguation).

Ellis Park

Soccer City

World Cup 2010
FIFA South Africa 2010

Johannesburg has a population of 3.2 million people (South African 2001 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 whites represent 500,000 residents (although the number is likely to be higher). There are also around 300,000 Coloured and Asian residents. 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 'haves' tend to live in houses with a high level of security by western standards, whilst the 'have nots' live in shacks or cheap housing. 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 elect 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 are able to buy almost anything from vendors selling goods at traffic lights. 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 Caucasoid hair. Mine dumps can also been 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 in the summer months (December, January and February) with little to no wind and with occasional, spectacular afternoon thunderstorms. Temperatures in winter can drop into single digits but snow is extremely rare.

Johannesburg towers
Johannesburg towers

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.

Get in

By car

A high number of highways from everywhere in South Africa go to Johannesburg, like the N1 from Cape Town and Bloemfontein or the N3 from Durban making it an easy to reach destination. Highways are:

Traffic can be particularly bad during peak hours (M-F 7.30AM-9AM and 4PM-6.30PM) so plan your journey accordingly. Due to the increasing number of cars sold, traffic in Johannesburg has progressively got worse. 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. Expect massive roadworks on all major routes around and in the city, all roads get a new surface and extra lanes are being made for the Bus Rapid Transport or Rea Vaya which needs dedicated bus lanes. Work to be finished before the World Cup.

  • O.R Tambo International Airport,[2], tel,(+27) 11 921-6911, is Johannesburg main airport. It is the busiest airport in Africa as it is the connecting hub for flights to South Africa. For this reason there are many flights to Johannesburg from major cities all over the world, especially London, as well as numerous local flights, on a daily basis. If you arrive in the early morning when most flights from Europe arrive, be prepared for very long waits at Immigration. The airport is located east of Johannesburg, 24 kilometers from the city center. It's a quick drive by hotel shuttle, hired car or taxi to your destination. Try to avoid the many banks and money changers in the airport concourse. They display the exchange rates but nowhere do they indicate the excessive "commissions" that can reduce what you actually get by 10% or more. Buy some Rand before you leave home.
  • Lanseria Airport[3], 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 of Johannesburg, it is closer to the Sandton, Pretoria, Westrand and Midrand regions, but fewer airlines fly to this airport and it is mostly used for regional, corporate and diplomatic passage. There are however regular flights from Lanseria to Cape Town.

For South African travel and discounted fares you can search for : Discount airlines in Africa and Air travel in South Africa.

  • 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,
  • Spoornet [4] 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 [5] 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.

By bus

Long-distance buses arrive at Park Station. All major bus companies provide a service to and from Johannesburg. A few of these include:

  • Greyhound [6] the well know bus service offering services to destinations all over south africa.
  • Translux [7], their route network extends to many South African destinations and major cities in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • Magic Bus [8], Focuses on short distance transportation i.e scheduled airport shuttling.
  • S.A Roadlink [9], Has coaches traveling to and from major major city centers in South Africa.
  • The Baz Bus [10], Offers a Hop on Hop off service aimed at backpackers. There are two routes between Johannesburg and Durban; one via the Drakensberg and one via Swaziland. From Durban, the service then continues along South Africa's coast to Cape Town.

Get around

Johannesburg was a city built for the car and for that reason, public transport is few and far between and often sketchy. There are buses and mini cabs on the streets but there tends to be no designated stops and these are generally only used by commuters coming in and out of the city. Renting a car will give you the best flexibility and opportunity to tour the city, however driving can get very hectic; expect traffic jams.

Car rental

Renting a car is your best option, as public transport is limited. It is worth buying a good road map of Johannesburg as the city (inc northern suburbs) is very large and not very well signposted. MapStudio [11] produce a good map. Johannesburg has the usual car rental companies such as Hertz and Avis as well as a few others.

  • Hertz, tel: (+27) (0) 86 160 0136, [12].  edit
  • Avis, (+27) 11 923 3660, [13]. Professional, low hassle car hire giant. Easy to get a quote and reserve online.  edit
  • CABS Car hire, (+27) (0)11 392-1388 (), [14]. affordable and reliable, at all major airports in South Africa  edit
  • Pace Car Rental Offers very reasonable rates for car hire. They are very friendly and the rates are better than the larger brands. You can call Berne on (+27)(0) 84 840 2847
  • Tempest Car Hire, (+27) (0)11 552-3700 (), [15]. Affordable car rental service available at all major locations and airports in South Africa.  edit
  • First Car Rental (First Car Rental), OR Tambo International Airport, Car Rental Concourse, 0861 011 323 (), [16]. 24-hours. First Car Rental offers great car hire rentals in Johannesburg and other South African locations.  edit

By bus

Public transport in Johannesburg is provided by city buses and informal minibus services. 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.

  • Rea Vaya, [17]. 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 meters. Smaller buses (feeders} and taxis will add value to transport people to and from the main routes.  edit
  • Metrobus, +27 (0)11 833-5538, [18]. 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 - this is principally because the routes are very confusing, and the conductors will often say 'yes' when you ask 'are you going to X?' so that they get your fare, then they drop you at a crossroads and say 'change here'. Also they are frequently un-roadworthy (although they are in much better condition than in most of Africa) and involved in fatal accidents. Extreme and sometimes warlike competition has resulted in affordable transportation for the masses.  edit

By Taxi

In general all the taxi operators collude with each other and fix prices so taxis are not cheap (and not 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 with you so you avoide being stranded anywhere.

  • Airport Link, +27 (0)11) 792 2017, [19]. 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, [20]. 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, [21]. Reputable taxi firm based in Yeoville.  edit
  • Roses Taxi, +27 (0)11 403 9625. Operates throughout the city.  edit

Be aware that ongoing traffic diversions will be in effect in Sandton, Rosebank, and other areas over the next few years. This is due to the construction of the Gautrain [22] rapid rail link between Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport [23]

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.

Soweto is an increasingly popular destination for travellers from around the world. The Apartheid museum is a worth while stop for any traveller wanting to learn more about the South Africa's previous regime.

The Market Theatre precinct, Museum of Africa and Newtown (New Town) are particularly vibrant sectors of the city centre. By day, a walk around Newtown (preferably in a small group) will give you a taste for the wide range of traditions and cultures the city plays host to.

  • 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 Rand 7.50.  edit
  • Johannesburg Planetarium, Yale Road, Entrance 10, University of the Witwatersrand, Milner Park, +27 (0)11 717-1392 (, fax: +27 (0)11 339-2926), [24]. See their website for upcoming shows. From Rand 16 to Rand 25, depending on show.  edit
Outdoor area at the Military History Museum
Outdoor area at the Military History Museum
  • 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
  • The Apartheid Museum, +27 (0)11 309-4700, [26]. 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
  • Chérie De Villiers Gallery, Lower Level, Rosebank Mall, Rosebank, +27 (0)11 788-9949 (), [27]. Art by South African artists.  edit
  • Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Electric Workshop building, cnr Miriam Makeba and President street, Newtown, +27 (0)11 639-8400 (, fax: +27 (0)11 832-3360), [28]. 9AM to 5PM Mon to Fri and 9AM to 4:30PM weekends and public holidays. Adults: R20, children: R10.  edit
  • Standard Bank Gallery, Corner Simmonds and Frederick Streets, Johannesburg, +27 (0)11 631-1889, [29]. Open 8AM to 4:30PM Monday to Friday and 9AM to 1PM on Saturdays. Entrance is free.  edit
  • South African National Museum of Military History, Erlswold Way, Saxonwold (Next to the Johannesburg Zoo), +27 (0)11 646-5513 (), [30]. 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 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 (, fax: +27 (0)11 435-9821), [31]. Open Tue to Sun 9AM to 5PM. Largest museum dedicated to transport in South Africa. Free entrance.  edit
  • Origins Centre - The South African Museum of Rock Art: 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. Yale Road, University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, Ph: +27 (0)11 717-6051, [32]. 9AM to 4:30PM. Students R35. Adults R65
  • Cloud 9 Spa (Angela Hardy), 32 Richmond Road, Craighall Park (See directions on website), +27-11-788-9934, [33]. Tues to Sat 10:30 to 19:00. Cloud 9 is a small spa offering massage, floatation and other spa therapies. From R200.  edit
Have a seat and relax at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
Have a seat and relax at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
Play with a cub at the Lion Park
Play with a cub at the Lion Park
  • Township Tour to Soweto, a tour that will take you around the densely populate but vibrant town of Soweto.
  • 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 (, fax: +27 (0)11 958-1752), [34]. 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. R18 per person, discounts for students and pensioners.  edit
Parrots at the Montecasino bird gardens
Parrots at the Montecasino bird gardens
  • Constitution Hill, the site of the notorious Old Fort prison complex.
  • 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 (, fax: +27 (0)11 468-2718), [35]. 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 [36]  edit
  • Lesedi Cultural Village, (Just past the Lanseria Airport on the R512), +27 (0)12 205-1394, [37]. Traditional dances and food in authentic Zulu, Sotho, Pedi, Xhosa and Ndebele villages.  edit
  • Lion Park, R114 near the corner with Hans Strijdom (R512), Honeydew (From the N1, take exit 90, Randburg/R512 Hans Strydom Dr. and follow this north past Kya Sands. At the 4 way stop with the R114, take a right turn. The Lion Park is two hundred meters down the road on the right.), +27 (0)11 691-9905 (, fax: +27 (0)11 691-9904), [38]. The entrance ticket gives you a visit with the lion cubs (yes, you get to touch them) 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. R80 per person.  edit
  • Montecasino Bird Gardens, (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 (Shows at 11AM and 3PM daily with additional 1PM shows over weekends). Many birds and other small wildlife. Also look out for the 2500 year old tree located near the parrots.  edit
  • Visit a gold mine [39], 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 (, fax: +27 (0)11 248-6863), [40]. An amusement park with a casino. The visitor can also learn about gold mining and go into a mine here. 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 (, 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
  • The A1GP [41] Motor GP, is hosted during mid February at the Kyalami racetrack in Midrand. (From the N1 freeway, take the Allendale/Kyalami offramp, turn west and follow Allendale road to the racetrack entrance.)
  • Coca-Cola Dome, cnr Olievenhout Avenue and Northumberland Road, North Riding (Next to the Northgate shopping mall), [42]. The Coca Cola stadium has numerous events throughout the year from wedding expos, to live motoring theater.  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 & surrounding areas. You will also find plenty of beautifully crafted beadwork & wirework being sold on the roadside & at intersections. Though you will be able to bargain with the locals, give a thought to the crafters who are often unemployed & rely on sales to support themselves & 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.

  • African Craft Market, Rosebank Mall, Cnr Cradock and Baker St, Rosebank., (+27) (0)11 880 2906 (fax: (+27)(0) 11 880 2944), [45]. Open 9AM to 6PM daily.  edit
  • Mai Mai, Anderson and Berea St. The oldest market in Jo'burg. 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), [46]. Open Sundays only, 9AM to 5PM. Find a vast selection of African crafts  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 (, fax: (+27) (0)86 513-3267), [47].  edit

Shopping Malls

There are many shopping malls throughout Johannesburg, the larger ones being:

  • Oriental Plaza, Fordsburg, [48]. 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 Ghandi 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
Oriental Plaza
Oriental Plaza
  • Sandton City, 5th St, +27 (0)11 217-6000 (, fax: +27 (0)11 883-0978), [49]. Open 9AM to 6PM Mon to Sat and 10AM to 4PM Sun. A large and popular mall in Sandton  edit
  • Northgate, Corner of Northumberland Road & Olievenhout Avenue, +27 (0)11 794 1687, [50]. 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 and weekend entertainment for children.  edit
  • Bedford Centre, [51]. 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 Road, Roodepoort, +27 (0)11 768-0616 (, fax: +27 (0)11 768-2291), [52]. Open Mon to Fri 9AM to 6PM, Sat 9AM to 5PM and Sun 9AM to 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 - the only exception really being a good bookstore.  edit
  • Eastgate, Cnr Nicol and Bradford, Bedfordview, +27 (0)11 616-2209 (, fax: +27 (0)11 622-2473), [53]. 9AM to 6PM.  edit
  • Cresta Mall, Cnr Beyers Naude and Weltevreden Road, Cresta, +27 (0)11 678-5306 (, fax: +27 (0)11 678-4096), [54]. 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 Avenues, 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 (, fax: +27 (0)11 880-6250), [55]. 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, [56]. The centre is in the south of Johannesburg, just five minutes from Soweto.  edit
  • Fourways Mall, Cnr Witkoppen Rd & William Nicol Drive, Fourways, +27 (0)11 465 6095, [57].  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.


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.

  • Melrose Arch, [58]. Houses many upmarket restaurants and nightclubs, including Moyo (an African-themed restaurant) and several other casual eating establishments.  edit
  • Rodizio, [59]. Located in Victory Park and has great Brazilian dishes and a lively party atmosphere. Live music and dancing.  edit
  • Arirang in Rivonia[60], very good authentic Korean food, but very expensive;
  • Melville is another neighborhood where you can find many good restaurants. It is close to the national broadcaster (SABC) headquarters and many artists live in this community.
    • Mezzaluna, 9a 7th Ave, +27 (0)11 482-2477. Serves amazing Mediterranean food. Dishes include springbok carpaccio, ostrich fillet and Frangelica chocolate mousse.  edit
    • Soi, Corner 7th St & 3rd Av, +27 (0)11 726-5775. 12AM-10PM. Thai & Vietnamese cuisine, from mild to very hot (shown on the menu by the amount of chilies) and choose the combo as a starter, great Thai curries and Duck dishes. From R150pp.  edit
    • Soulsa, 16 7th Street, +27 (0)11 482-5572. Tu-Su 11AM-late. Fusion cooking in a relaxed atmoshere. R125pp.  edit
  • Fordsburg has many Indian restaurants with authentic Indian cuisine as well as conventional franchise stores (Wimpy, Nandos, Fishmonger, Nescafe,etc). Fordsburg is close proximity 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 - This is mainly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights when all the restaurants are filled with hundreds of night shoppers milling about the flea market.
    • Akhalwayas Fast Foods, Central Road, +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 minutes(or more!) for your meal at peak lunch times. Unfortunately they close at 5PM daily.  edit
    • Dawaat. Dawaat restaurant is considered to be one of the best restaurants and the priciest by Fordsburg standards.Situated on Mint Road. R100pp.  edit


Good pubs and clubs are available in the Melville student district, Newtown cultural precinct. Posh and upmarket clubbing happens in the Rivonia and Sandton area. Rivonia also contains Liliesleaf Farm, where Mandela and top ANC leaders once plotted to overthrow the apartheid government.

  • Back2Basix, 167 Perth Rd, Westdene (Opposite the University of Johannesburg (RAU)), +27 (0)11 726-6857 (), [61]. 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, [62]. 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 Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, R25.  edit
  • Carfax, +27 (0)11 834-9187, [63]. One of the City's main venues for night time entertainment is in the suburb of Newtown - which is being developed as the city's cultural precinct.  edit
  • Monsoon Lagoon, +27 (0)11 928-1280, [64]. Good nightclub with DJ Sebastian. Closed.  edit
  • Roxy Rhythm Bar, 20 Main Rd, Melville, +27 (0)11 726-6019, [65]. 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 Street, Newtown, +27(0)11 836-4900 (, fax: +27 (0)11 836-4900), [66]. The SAB-Miller Beer museum. R25 for the tour, including 2 free drinks in the pub at the end of the tour..  edit
  • The Manhattan Club, 19 Wessels Road, 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 (), [67]. Thur to Sat, 8PM to after 4AM. Tues and Wed, 9PM to 3AM. Closed Sun, Mon, Thurs. A huge stylish and bustling venue, with a total of 8 bars which include a shooters bar and a ladies only cocktail bar. R50 to R70 cover charge depending on day and time. Discounts for students and ladies.  edit
  • The Radium Beer Hall, Louis Botha Ave, Orange Grove, +27 (0)11 728-3866, [68]. This place has been serving beer since 1929.  edit
  • House of Nsako, 101 High Street, Brixton, 072 2232 648, [69]. Live music venue, museum and institute of Afrikan popular culture  edit
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under R500
Mid-range R500 to R1500
Splurge Over R1500

Joburg is full of accommodation to suit any type of budget, from the ultimate in luxury & expense, to backpacker lodges.

  • Don Johannesburg Int'l Airport Hotel, (Johannesburg, South Africa), +27 (11) 392 6082, [70]. Conveniently located minutes away from Johannesburg’s busiest Airport, the Don JIA provides first class accommodation at an economy fare.  edit
  • Don Rosebank Hotel, 10 Tyrwhitt Avenue (Johannesburg, South Africa), +27 (11) 880 1666, [71]. Don Rosebank has a total of 56 letting units set on ground plus three storeys.The rooms are fully equipped and are serviced on a daily basis. (Mid range,) edit
  • Don Sandton I, 3 Rivonia Road, Illovo (Johannesburg, South Africa), +27 (11) 268 6600, [72]. Don Sandton I consists of 24 Hotel Suites, of which 21 are one-bedroom suites & the remainder, 3 Two-Bedroom Suites. 1400.  edit
  • 90 George Ave, 90 George Ave, Sandringham, +27 (0)11 640-1856. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Very hospitable guesthouse, on lovely property, near to film studios and 6 km from Melrose Arch. From R250.  edit
  • The Backpacker's Ritz, 1A North Road, Dunkeld West, +27 +(0)11 325-7125 (), [73]. 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 for a dorm bed to R287 for a double room.  edit
  • Diamond Diggers Backpackers, 6 Doris Street, Kensington, (+27) (0)11 624-1676 (), [74]. From R60 to R160 per person.  edit
  • Johannesburg Backpackers, Umgwezi Road, Emmarentia, (), [75]. 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 pp.  edit
  • Melville Arch, 113 St Swithins Ave, Melville, [76]. Nice affordable bed and breakfast a short walk from Melville's bars and restaurants. From R250 depending on room.  edit
  • Zoo Lodge, 233a Jan Smuts Avenue, Parktown North, +27 (0)11 788-5182 (), [77]. This backpacker lodge is in a good location; close to Joburg Zoo and Rosebank Mall and on a bus route. Airport and Train Station pickups available. From R80 to R200 depending on room.  edit
  • Don Eastgate Hotel, (Johannesburg, South Africa), +27 (11) 622 2115, [78]. The Don Eastgate Hotel is located on the Lake and offers easy access to the main commercial and retail areas of Johannesburg, include airport and the CBD.  edit
  • Blue Chip Accommodation, [79]. 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
  • Ekala Guest Farm and Eco Tours, Plot 81 Alewynspoort, Eikenhof, Kibler Park, +27 (0)72 604-1879, [80]. Ekala is a Johannesburg Guest House for those who prefer the luxuries of home to hotel regimentation. Set in the Alewynspoort, Johannesburg countryside, creating a relaxed casual ambiance with tranquility and secure accommodation away from the hustle and bustle of the center Johannesburg.  edit
  • The Lion Park, +27 (0)11 460-1814 (), [81]. In Fourways and offers semi-luxurious self catering tents.  edit
  • Protea Hotel Wanderers, Cnr. Corlett Drive & Rudd Road, Illovo, +27 (0)11 770-5500 (), [82]. Close to Rosebank and Sandton From R210 per person sharing.  edit
  • The Purple Fig Guest House, 10 Wargrave Rd, Auckland Park (near SABC), +27 (0)73 248-5480, [83]. Self catering apartments in and around the Melville area. Fully equipped kitchens, eating areas, lounge, sunny patio and television, bathroom/s, bedroom/s. Facilities also include eautiful gardens, outside pool and Tibetan yoga sessions.  edit


Joburg also caters for those who are looking for a luxurious stay, with five-star hotels. Many of these are located in the Sandton area.

  • D´Oreale Grande, (in Emperors Palace near OR Tambo Int Airport), +27 (0)11 928-1770, [84]. Very luxurious 5* hotel.  edit
  • The Grace, 54 Bath Avenue, Rosebank, +27 (0)11 442-0488, [85]. The Grace is an ideal choice for guests seeking a sophisticated city hotel with the highest levels of service and luxury, as well as that personal charm found only in small establishments.  edit
  • Highland View Executive Guesthouse, 164 Highland Road, Kensington, Johannesburg (1. Leave from JNB International Airport. | 2. Continue onto R24. | 3. Keep right onto R24. | 4. Keep right onto N12. | 5. Turn left onto M33 Queen Street. | 6. Turn right onto Langerman Drive. | 7. Turn left onto Marathon Street. | 8. Turn right onto Highland Road. | 9. Turn left onto Mars Street. | 10. Turn right onto Highland Road. | 11. Arrive at 164 Highland Road.), +27 (0)11 615-9001 (), [86]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. . 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 Square, Melrose Arch, +27 (0)21 430-5302, [87]. 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, [88]. Offers traditionally themed accommodation with modern conveniences.  edit
  • Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, 191 Oxford Road, Rosebank (adjacent to Firs Shopping Centre), +27 11 280 1234 (), [89]. 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 (), [90]. The Westcliff certainly is a luxurious hotel with its hillside setting and cascading sculpted gardens along with their elegantly opulent accommodation. Great facilities and several restaurants and bars.  edit



Always-On [91] , +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
  • Nando's. 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, Jo'burg, Gauteng, South Africa~~~~  edit

Stay healthy

HIV infection rate is high; avoid unprotected sex at all costs.

Municipal water is however safe to drink.

There is a Travel Clinic at OR Tambo International Airport

  • Kloof Road Travel Clinic, 17 Kloof Road, Corner Arterial Road West 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
  • Millpark Hospital, 9 Guild Road, Parktown West, +27 (0)11 480-5600.  edit

Stay safe

Be aware that Johannesburg has very high crime levels day and night. However, like many cities with a crime problem some places are quite safe while others can be quite dangerous, and with some places this may depend on whether it is day or night.

You should keep security constantly in mind and tourists must remain alert at all times, no matter where they are. Although the recent installation of surveillance cameras in the central business district has decreased daytime robbery and theft there, it is largely deserted at night, during weekends, and on holidays; it is best to avoid visiting altogether.

Avoid travelling to areas such as Hillbrow or Berea at any time unless in a large group or with local guides. If travelling to townships, you should make sure that you go with an organised tour as crime is generally much higher in township areas, including Soweto.

It is also prudent to avoid traveling at night. If you must travel at night, make sure to remain in populated, well lit areas, walk confidently and with a purpose as if you know where you are going. Avoid giving the impression that you are lost and ask directions only from persons of authority (example: business owners) and not random people on the streets.

Carjacking is a common phenomenon in Johannesburg with one of the highest rates in the world. When you enter your car ensure that your doors are locked and windows are rolled up before starting your journey, night and day. Be particularly careful when going to and from your car as thieves often wait for victims to exit/enter their vehicle. Do not leave any valuables on the seats as it is likely that your window will 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 hijackers. Slow down and go through the red traffic lights, if necessary paying the fine. At all times be vigilant, watch for vehicles following you or road blocks (stones, wood) on the roads. Many carjackings happen in the main highways such as R21 and R24 which link the O.R Tambo airport to the rest of the province. If faced with a suspicious/dangerous encounter turn around and drive to the nearest police station or well-lit populated area. Do not stop under any circumstances.

Public transport use is discouraged as frequent attacks occur on the crowded services. Depending on the area, the city's Metrobus service can be safe to ride, although it is often late.

Rape and sexual assault levels are exceptionally high and care should be taken due to the high HIV levels in Johannesburg. Females should avoid walking alone at all times and should try if possible to remain in large groups. If you want fitness, go to gym inside the hotel or shopping mall. To go jogging on the street with sports bra with shorts will make you a very easy target.

The best general advice is to try your best to look like a local and to avoid at all costs displaying any form of wealth, including ear rings as these have been ripped from unsuspecting tourist ears. Keep your cell phone hidden and avoid using it in public places. Avoid carrying backpacks, daypacks or purses.

Finally, if you fall victim to robbery, 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.

  • 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 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 500km 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.
  • Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, +27 (0)11 957-0106 (), [92]. Open 8AM to 4:45PM. Located in Kromdraai north of Krugersdorp, this park offers self drive, game drive, horse trails, an observatory, abseiling, swimming pool and braai and picnic areas with restaurant (open daily), conference facilities, team building, functions etc. Wide range of animals including lion, white lion, tiger (Bengal & Siberian), white tiger, wild dog, cheetah, baffalo, white rhino, hippo, zebra, ostrich, etc. Don't forget to visit the animal crèche with baby lion, cheetah & tiger cubs as well as the reptile park with most of the indigenous snakes including black & green mamba. R70.  edit
  • Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site comprising a number of attractions including the Sterkfontein Caves, the Wonder Caves and Maropeng [93] 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
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JOHANNESBURG, a city of the Transvaal and the centre of the Rand gold-mining industry. It is the most populous city and the commercial capital of South Africa. It is built on the southern slopes of the Witwatersrand in 26° 11' S. 28° 2' E., at an elevation of 5764 ft. above the sea. The distances by rail from Johannesburg to the following seaports are: Lourengo Marques, 364 m.; Durban, 483 m.; East London, 6S9 m.; Port Elizabeth, 714 m.; Cape Town, 957 m. Pretoria is, by rail, 46 m. N. by E.

The town lies immediately north of the central part of the main gold reef. The streets run in straight lines east and west or north and south. The chief open spaces are Market Square in the west and Government Square in the south of the town. Park railway station lies north of the business quarter, and farther north are the Wanderers' athletic sports ground and Joubert's Park. The chief business streets, such as Commissioner Street, Market Street, President Street and Pritchard Street, run east and west. In these thoroughfares and in several of the streets which intersect them are the offices of the mining companies, the banks, clubs, newspaper offices, hotels and shops, the majority being handsome stone or brick buildings, while the survival of some wooden shanties and corrugated iron buildings recalls the early character of the town.

Chief Buildings, &c. - In the centre of Market Square are the market buildings, and at its east end the post and telegraph offices, a handsome block of buildings with a façade 200 ft. long and a tower 106 ft. high. The square itself, a quarter of a mile long, is the largest in South Africa. The offices of the Witwatersrand chamber of mines face the market buildings. The stock exchange is in Marshall Square. The telephone exchange is in the centre of the city, in Von Brandis Square. The law courts are in the centre of Government Square. The Transvaal university college is in Plein Square, a little south of Park station. In the vicinity is St Mary's (Anglican) parish hall (1905-1907), the first portion of a large building planned to take the place of "Old" St Mary's Church, the "mother" church of the Rand, built in 1887. The chief Jewish synagogue is in the same neighbourhood. In Kerk Street, on the outskirts of central Johannesburg, is the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, the headquarters of the vicar apostolic of the Transvaal. North of Joubert's Park is the general hospital, and beyond, near the crest of the hills, commanding the town and the road to Pretoria, is a fort built by the Boer government and now used as a gaol. On the hills, some 3 m. E.N.E. of the town, is the observatory, built in 1903. Johannesburg has several theatres and buildings adapted for public meetings. There is a race-course 2 m. south of the town under the control of the Johannesburg Turf Club.

Table of contents

The Suburbs

North, east and west of the city proper are suburbs, laid out on the same rectangular plan. The most fashionable are to the east and north - Jeppestown, Belgravia, Doornfontein, the Berea, Hillbrow, Parktown, Yeoville and Bellevue. Braamfontein (with a large cemetery) lies north-west and Fordsburg due west of the city. At Fordsburg are the gas and electric light and power works, and north of Doornfontein there is a large reservoir. There are also on the Rand, and dependent on the gold-mining, three towns possessing separate municipalities - Germiston and Boksburg, respectively 9 m. and 15 m. E. of Johannesburg, and Krugersdorp, 21 m. W.

The Mines and other Industries

South, east and west of the city are the gold mines, indicated by tall chimneys, battery houses and the compounds of the labourers. The bare veld is dotted with these unsightly buildings for a distance of over fifty miles. The mines are worked on the most scientific lines. Characteristic of the Rand is the fine white dust arising from the crushing of the ore, and, close to the batteries, the incessant din caused by the stamps employed in that operation. The compounds in general, especially those originally made for Chinese labourers, are well built, comfortable, and fulfil every hygienic requirement. Besides the buildings, the compounds include wide stretches of veld. To enter and remain in the district, Kaffirs require a monthly pass for which the employer pays 2s. (For details of gold-mining, see Gold.) A railway traverses the Rand, going westward past Krugersdorp to Klerksdorp and thence to Kimberley, and eastward past Springs to Delagoa Bay. From Springs, 25 m. E. of Johannesburg, is obtained much of the coal used in the Rand mines.

The mines within the municipal area produce nearly half the total gold output of the Transvaal. The other industries of Johannesburg include brewing, printing and bookbinding, timber sawing, flour milling, iron and brass founding, brick making and the manufacture of tobacco.

Health, Education and Social Conditions

The elevation of Johannesburg makes it, despite its nearness to the tropics, a healthy place for European habitation. Built on open undulating ground, the town is, however, subject to frequent dust storms and to considerable variations in the temperature. The nights in winter are frosty and snow falls occasionally. The average day temperature in winter is S3° F., in summer 75°; the average annual rainfall is 28 in. The death-rate among white inhabitants averages about 17 per thousand. The principal causes of death, both among the white and coloured inhabitants, are diseases of the lungs - including miners' phthisis and pneumonia - diarrhoea, dysentery and enteric. The death-rate among young children is very high.

Education is provided in primary and secondary schools maintained by the state. In the primary schools education is free but not compulsory. The Transvaal university college, founded in 1904 as the technical institute (the change of title being made in 1906), provides full courses in science, mining, engineering and law. In 1906 Alfred Beit bequeathed £200,000 towards the cost of erecting and equipping university buildings.

In its social life Johannesburg differs widely from Cape Town and Durban. The white population is not only far larger but more cosmopolitan, less stationary and more dependent on a single industry; it has few links with the past, and both city and citizens bear the marks of youth. The cost of living is much higher than in London or New York. House rent, provisions, clothing, are all very dear, and more than counterbalance the lowness of rates. The customary unit of expenditure is the threepenny-bit or "tickey." Sanitary and other Services. - There is an ample supply of water to the town and mines, under a water board representing all the Rand municipalities and the mining companies. A waterborne sewerage system began to be introduced in 1906. The general illuminant is electricity, and both electrical and gas services are owned by the municipality. The tramway service, opened in 1891, was taken over by the municipality in 1904. Up to 1906 the trams were horse-drawn; in that year electric cars began running. Rickshaws are also a favourite means of conveyance. The police force is controlled by the government.

Area, Government and Rateable Value

The city proper covers about 6 sq. m. The municipal boundary extends in every direction some 5 m. from Market Square, encloses about 82 sq. m. and includes several of the largest mines. The local government is carried on by an elected municipal council, the franchise being restricted to white British subjects (men and women) who rent or own property of a certain value. In 1908 the rateable value of the municipality was £36,466,644, the rate 21d. in the £, and the town debt £5, 500,000.


In 1887 the population was about 3000. By the beginning of 1890 it had increased to over 25,000. A census taken in July 1896 showed a population within a radius of 3 m. from Market Square of 102,078, of whom 50,907 were whites. At the census of April 1904 the inhabitants of the city proper numbered 99,022, the population within the municipal area being 155,642, of whom 83,363 were whites. Of the white inhabitants, 35% were of British origin, 51,629 were males, and 31,734 females. Of persons aged sixteen or over, the number of males was almost double the number of females. The coloured population included about 7000 British Indians - chiefly small traders. A municipal census taken in August 1908 gave the following result: whites 95,162; natives and coloured 78,781; Asiatics 6780 - total 180,687.


Johannesburg owes its existence to the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand reefs. The town, named after Johannes Rissik, then surveyor-general of the Transvaal, was founded in September 1886, the first buildings being erected on the part of the reef where are now the Ferreira and Wemmer mines. These buildings were found to cover valuable ore, and in December following the Boer government marked out the site of the city proper, and possession of the plots was given to purchasers on the 1st of January 1887. The exploitation of the mines led to a rapid development of the town during the next three years. The year 1890 was one of great depression following the exhaustion of the surface ore, but the provision of better machinery and cheaper coal led to a revival in 1891. By 1892 the leading mines had proved their dividend-earning capacity, and in 1895 there was a great "boom" in the shares of the mining companies. The linking of the town to the seaports by railways during1892-1895gave considerable impetus to the gold mining industry. Material prosperity was accompanied, how- ever, by political, educational and other disadvantages, and the desire of the Johannesburgers - most of whom were foreigners or "Uitlanders" - to remedy the grievances under which they suffered led, in January 1896, to an abortive rising against the Boer government (see Transvaal: History). One result of this movement was a slight advance in municipal self-government.

Since 1887 the management of the town had been entrusted to a nominated sanitary board, under the chairmanship of the mining commissioner appointed by the South African Republic. In 1890 elected members had been admitted to this board, but at the end of 1897 an elective stadsraad (town council) was constituted, though its functions were strictly limited. There was a great development in the mining industry during 18 971898 and 1899, thei value of the gold extracted in 1898 exceeding £15,000,000, but the political situation grew worse, and in September 1899, owing to the imminence of war between the Transvaal and Great Britain, the majority of the Uitlanders fled from the city. Between October 1899, when war broke out, and the 31st of May 1900, when the city was taken by the British, the Boer government worked certain mines for their own benefit. After a period of military administration and of government by a nominated town council, an ordinance was passed in June 1903 providing for elective municipal councils, and in December following the first election to the new council took place. In 1905 the town was divided into wards. In that year the number of municipal voters was 23,338. In 1909 the proportional representation system was adopted in the election of town councillors.

During 1901-1903, while the war was still in progress or but recently concluded, the gold output was comparatively slight. The difficulty in obtaining sufficient labour for the mines led to a successful agitation for the importation of coolies from China (see Transvaal: History). During1904-1906over 50,000 coolies were brought to the mines, a greatly increased output being the result, the value of the gold extracted in 1905 exceeding £20,000,000. Notwithstanding the increased production of gold, Johannesburg during1905-1907passed through a period of severe commercial depression, the result in part of the unsettled political situation. In June 1907 the repatriation of the Chinese coolies began; it was completed in February 1910.

An excellent compilation, entitled Johannesburg Statistics, dealing with almost every phase of the city's life, is issued monthly (since January 1905) by the town council. See also the Post Office Directory, Transvaal (Johannesburg, annually), which contains specially prepared maps, and the annual reports of the Johannesburg chamber of commerce. For the political history of Johannesburg, see the bibliography under Transvaal.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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  1. The largest city of South Africa.


Simple English

Johannesburg is a city in South Africa. It is the capital of the Gauteng Province. It was founded on October 4, 1886 and has the JSE Securities Exchange, which is the largest stock exchange in Africa.

Johannesburg houses the tallest office block in Africa, the Carlton Centre (50 stories) and the tallest tower, the Hillbrow Tower (270 metres, or 90 stories). The city is nicknamed Egoli, which means "place of gold". Forty percent of the world's gold has been found here.

The Johannesburg Zoo was established in 1904, and historically, it has been owned and run by the city of Johannesburg. It houses the only two polar bears in Africa.

Johannesburg is not seen as a tourist centre in South Africa, but rather as a commercial centre.

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