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
10 Reasons to Visit Johannesburg
1. Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and comfortably lays claim to being the largest economic powerhouse in the whole of Africa.
Originally built on the discovery of gold, Johannesburg is now a vibrant megacity with a population of nearly 11 million people in the Greater Johannesburg area.
2. Attractions are plentiful in the city. The Apartheid Museum is popular with tourists who can learn a lot about township life. Check out the Nelson Mandela Bridge which connects the Central Business District to the Newtown Cultural Precinct which houses all the museums and art galleries. Enjoy picnics at Zoo Lake, a park filled with oak and sycamore trees or go on a tour of Soweto which is the district with the largest population in the city.
Due to its proximity to Pretoria and other places, one can schedule a day trip to one of the game reserves to see the ‘big 5’ as well as some of the savannah.
3. Johannesburg is a great city for shopping with many different malls to explore. The malls in Sandton are well known for designer outfits and clothes in general whereas Rosebank has an African craft market including handmade artwork. Indian fabrics, antiques and general retro items can be found in Fordsburg.
4. In respect of nightlife, Melville is an area where many bars and clubs can be found. Musicals, dance and opera are all regularly performed at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre. Various stage performances also occur in Mary Fitzgerald Square.
5. The Speciality Museums in Johannesburg are immensely popular with tourists and locals alike. In addition to the Apartheid Museum, the Origins Center showcases the origins of mankind. Johannesburg is the ideal place for this museum to be located since South Africa is considered to be the birthplace of the human race. The Peacemaker Museum commemorates the memories of past and present Nobel Peace Prize winners and their contribution to society.
6. Outdoor fun can be had by visiting the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam where one can enjoy kayaking, boating or canoeing. There are over a thousand plant collections. Due to its natural and scenic beauty, the gardens are one of the most photographed places in the city. Another great outdoor pursuit is trekking the Wonder Caves which form part of the Humankind World Heritage Sites and where many fossils have been found.
7. Gold Reef City is built around an authentic gold mine and combines historical attractions with thrilling rides. Whilst the young at heart can enjoy some the wildest rides in the southern hemisphere, those who would rather do something less frenetic can explore the Story of Gold in an old-world museum atmosphere. Underground tours of the mine are also available.
8. Public artworks in the city can be enjoyed by leisurely walking tours lasting from one or two hours up to a full day. Artworks can be found all along the streets, between the tall buildings, as well as in the parks and on the pavements.
9. No trip to Johannesburg is complete without a visit to a township and Soweto in the South-West of the city is the largest. There is an official township tour which includes a visit to Walter Sisula Square in Kliptown where South Africa’s Freedom Charter was signed in 1955.
The Hector Pieterson memorial and museum is another important landmark commemorating the Soweto uprising in 1976. There is also VilaKazi Street, once home to both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital claims to be the largest hospital in the world.
10. Emperor’s Palace referred to as the ‘Palace of Dreams’ is a grand casino development hosting conferences and events. The world-class
entertainment ranges from theatre to boxing. There are 4 hotels, a spa, restaurants, shops and nightclubs.