Content and photos courtesy of Joburg Tourism
- Area: 334.81 km² (129.27 sq mi)
- Calling Code: 011
- Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)
- Population (EST): 957,441
- Official language: English, Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa
- Time Zone: UTC/GMT +2
Johannesburg – Getting Around
Johannesburg is served by O.R. Tambo International Airport which is located around 25 km northeast of the city centre. As the connecting hub for flights to South Africa, the airport is one of the busiest in Africa and operates flights to and from major cities all over the world.
There are a number of transport links between the airport and downtown Johannesburg, including taxis and shuttle buses. Taxi’s can be hailed from outside Arrivals, but be sure to use only official vehicles. The journey takes around 30-40 minutes and costs around R280. The Magic Bus shuttle service offer slower but cheaper transportation, departing every two hours.
In 2010 the airport opened its long awaited rapid rail link, offering a high speed and frequent service to Marlboro and Sandton where most tourist accommodation is located.
Trains arrive and depart from Park Station just north of the central business district. The station is Johannesburg’s largest and offers daily services to many international destinations including Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Travel is cheap but can be slow and there are no direct trains to neighboring countries. MetroRail provides commuter trains to some of the southern suburbs. Tickets can be purchased via rail operators or at the station.
Johannesburg buses operate on 130 routes, running from the bus station in Gandhi Square, throughout the city centre to the northern suburbs. Fares work on a zone system and can be purchased from the bus driver. Usually used by commuters, the bus network is not recommended for tourists. Long distance buses arrive and depart from Park Station and are operated by number of major bus companies. The network provides frequent services to all major South African destinations and cities in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Tickets can be purchased from booking offices located in the northwest corner of the main station.
Johannesburg has two types of taxis, metered cabs and minibus taxis. It is advisable for visitors to only use metered taxis whilst traveling in the city, which are more expensive but convenient and safe. Cabs cannot be hailed from the street, but all restaurants and hotels will be happy to order one for you. To avoid getting stranded always carry cash and the number of a reputable taxi firm. Although metered, visitors should always ask for an estimated price before setting off. Expect to pay around R10 per kilometer.
Johannesburg has a well developed road system, so hiring a rental car can be the easiest way to get around. Parking is usually easy, with multi story car parks found throughout the city. Traffic can be notoriously heavy during peak hours, so take this into account when planning trips. It is advisable to have an up to date map with you at all times to navigate the complex network of streets. Well known car hire companies have booths inside of the airport terminal or rental can be arranged via your hotel.
Although car is the main form of transport, many of Johannesburg’s downtown attractions can be explored on foot. Visitors can enjoy exploring Main Street Mall, Gandhi Square and Newtown precinct as well as taking a stroll through one of the city’s stunning nature reserves.