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Johannesburg overview

Johannesburg is the largest South African City and ranks as one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. Johannesburg was established by a Health Committee in 1886 as a small village when gold was discovered on Langlaagte farm. In 1897, it becoming a municipality after its rapid growth. It officially grew into a city in 1928, making it South Africa’s largest city.
In 2002, it evolved into the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality when it joined 10 other municipalities. Johannesburg is the home of South Africa’s Constitutional Court and currently the capital of Guanteng, one of the 9 provinces of South Africa. Johannesburg is the centre of mining, manufacturing, and finance in South Africa.
Johannesburg produced more than 40% of the world’s demand for gold and diamond from its Witwatersrand mines. Johannesburg referred to as “City of Gold” is also called Jo’Burg or Egoli.
Tourism in Johannesburg offers endless options to tourists with several great places of interest to visit. It is a city of culture, extravagance, tourism and fun. Here a few great places to visit while you are in Johannesburg.
• Gold Reef City
• Hector Petersen Square
• Horse Trails
• Bernberg Museum of Costumes
• SA Breweries Tours
• Planitarium
• The Lion Park
• Rhino and Lion Reserve
• The Wonder Caves
• Mystic Monkeys and Feathers Wildlife Park
• Voortrekker Monument
• Ngwenya Glass village
• Cradle of Humankind
• National Cultural History Museum
• Roodeport Museum
• South Africa Museum of Military History
• The Alder Museum of Medicine
• Museum Africa
• Johannesburg Art Gallery
• Steerlfontein Caves
• James Hall Museum of Transport
• Johannesburg Botanical Gardens
• Rosebank African Craft Market
• Johannesburg Zoo

Johannesburg is the city of festivals. There are more than 15 festivals and events held in Johannesburg annually. Visitors should attend one or more of the festivals and events in order to have a great time staying in Johannesburg. Some of the festivals and events held in Johannesburg are:

 

Month

Festival and Events in

January

Jo’burg Carnival

February

FNB Dance Umbrella

March

Rand Show; Joburg Art Fair; Hobby and Toy Fair.

April

GardenX

May

The Garden and Home Expo

June

Extreme Auto Show; Jozi Adventure Challenge Series; Hobby and Toy Fair; South African International Documentary Film Festival; National Mariba Festival.

July

Creative Craft Expo; Oakfield Farm Bridal Expo;

August

Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival; Jozi Book Fair; Women in Arts Festival.

September

Arts Alive Festival; Johannesburg Pride-starts and ends at Zoo Lake; Getaway Show Johannesburg; Hobby and Craft Show.

October

Newtown Diwali Festival; International Motor Show; Photo and Film Expo.

November

Good Food and Wine Show

December

Equesteria; Carols in the Garden.

 

Best time to book a flight to Johannesburg

The intended activities will best determine the time to visit Johannesburg as the City is warm and pleasant all year long, ensuring there is no restriction on the time of travel.
You should book your flights to Johannesburg as early as possible, usually 45-90 days before your departure date. The earlier you book, the cheaper the flight fares to Johannesburg.
It best to avoid booking your ticket close to the celebration of a special event or festival. Remember, Johannesburg holds at least one event or festival each month of the year. If your flight time or departure date clashes with any important event or festival, it is best you book your flight tickets earlier to avoid spending more on flight tickets to Johannesburg.
There is a Bureau de Change/Currency Exchange in tTerminal A of the airport. There are also banks and ATMS/Cash Machines.

Peak Season

The summer months in Johannesburg run from October to April when rain falls exclusively in the afternoon. Flights to Johannesburg are more exorbitant during the peak of summer. Whale watching is also popular between June and October or August and December.

Off Peak Season

The winter months of Johannesburg run from May to September accompanied by dry, sunny days and cold nights. Winter months is the best time to visit Jo’Burg as cheap flights are obtainable and there are lesser number of tourists; except a special event or festival pushes up the price of flights. April to September is the best time for diving and surfing in Johannesburg.

Airlines operating flights to Johannesburg

There are several Airlines operating scheduled flights from O.R Tambo International Airport to major destinations of the world include:

Airlink

Air Madagascar

Air Mauritius

British Airways

Cathay Pacific

Delta Airlines

EgyptAir

Emirates

Ethiopian Airlines

Etihad Airways

Fastjet

Liberia

Kenya Airways

KLM

LATAM Brasil

Malawian Airlines

Qantas

Qatar Airways

RwandAir

Saudia

Singapore Airlines

South African Airways

South African Express

Swiss International Airlines

Turkish Airlines

Virgin Atlantic

How long is a flight to Johannesburg

Visitors, business travellers and tourists fly from major cities into Johannesburg daily. The average flight time to the major cities is listed below.

Major City

Flying Time

Lagos

5 hours 45 minutes

Amsterdam

14 hours 15 minutes

London

10 hours 45 minutes

Glasgow

14 hours 10 minutes

Birmingham

13 hours 30 minutes

Doha

20 hours 45 minutes

Paris

16 hours 15 minutes

New York

30 hours

Auckland

28 hours 55 minutes

Munich

16 hours 55 minutes

Madrid

16 hours 40 minutes

Singapore

18 hours 40 minutes

Amsterdam

17 hours 35 minutes

 

Johannesburg airport

Oliver Reginald Tambo International Airport

The International Airport was founded as Jan Smuts Airport in 1952, but renamed after the former South African President, Oliver Reginald Tambo in 2006. It is the major international airport serving Johannesburg, the capital of Gauteng, and to a lesser extent the executive capital-Pretoria. The IATA code for the airport is JNB while FAOR is the ICAO code.
The airport is located in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. It is the major domestic and international airport for travels to and from South Africa. With over 20 million passengers annually and non-stop flights to all continents but Antartica, it ranks as South Africa and Africa’s busiest airport. Alongside Dubai International Airport and Doha International Airport, O.R Tambo International Airport operates non-stop flights to all the six continents of the world except Antartica.
South Africa’s largest international and domestic carrier, South African Airways has its hub at the O.R Tambo International Airport. O.R Tambo International Airport has 6 Terminals broken down into International terminals, domestic terminals and the transit terminals.

Getting from Johannesburg airport to city centre

Staying in Johannesburg

Johannesburg has a ton of hotels offering accommodations to tourists and business travellers. The larger number of the hotels are concentrated in the Northern suburbs of the city. For the best bars and restaurants, check out the hotels in Melville and Norwood.

Most of the hotels and guesthouses offer Airport and Gautrain station pickup. There are also several hotels along the route of the Baz Bus. In addition, the hotels organise tours to Soweto, Kruger National Park and other interesting places of Johannesburg.

Luxury hotels in Johannesburg offer accommodation per night starting from R1000 to more than R3000.

Intercontinental  Johannesburg Airport Sun Hotel 

75m away from Johannesburg’s O.R Tambo International Airport.

Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff 

The Hotel is located close Johannesburg’s Zoo.

Other luxury hotels in Johannesburg are

Radisson Blu HotelT

The Michelangelo Hotel 

Budget Hotels in Johannesburg are popular around the city. Visitors can expect to pay between R400 and R700 per night in any of these hotels.

Waterfall Cottages

Rivonia Bed & Breakfast

Cherry Tree Cottage

Ten Stirling

Jacaranda Place.

 

Great places to visit Johannesburg

Johannesburg amassed the larger part of its wealth from gold and diamond mining. It is the 3rd largest African city with enormous tourism potential. It receives millions of tourists interested in the rich history and culture of the city.

Visitors should be advised to walk around with caution. Walking alone at night is dangerous and ask locals for the safest places to withdraw money. Take care of your belongings most importantly.

Gold Reef City

The city is a combination of a theme park, a casino, museum, and hotel. Gold Reef city is built on a former gold mine and was established as a massive entertainment complex for locals and tourists. You can tour the gold mines and then head to the roller coasters.

Apartheid Museum

Apartheid Museum is a solemn destination describing the disturbing history and struggle of South Africans. Visitors to the museum literally experience segregation at the museum entrance and eventually enter the museum to see the many interactive exhibits throughout the museum.

Constitution Hill

The constitution hill offers visitors the taste of the old and new Johannesburg where you can tour the country’s main court, and then walk over to the former apartheid-era prisons and the Johannesburg Fort. The famous prisons of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi are close to the remarkable seat of power located in Johannesburg. The hill literally gives visitors a glimpse into the culture and rugged history of South Africa.

Bernberg Museum of Costumes

The museum documents the history of women’s clothing attires in South Africa. The costumes range from those used in the Edwardian and Victoria eras to the present times. There are also exhibiting clothing, hair accessories, jewelry and more.

The Lion Park

It is situated in Guateng just some distance away from Johannesburg and Pretoria. The park offers close-up views and exciting interactions with a large number of predators and large herbivores indigenous to Africa’s savannah. The Lion Park houses over 80 lions including the white rare white lions and other carnivores like the wild dog, cheetah, hyena, leopard, and jackals. There is a giraffe feeding platform where people of all ages can experience fun. The cub interaction allows visitors to touch the cubs and take photographs.

The Adler Museum of Medicine

The museum seeks to preserve he history of health sciences in South Africa, especially in Gauteng. It supplements the education activities of the University of Witwatersrand through the museum’s numerous collections, research, teaching, exhibitions, and publications. The museum was founded in 1962 on the grounds of the South African Institute for Medical Research in Johannesburg. It opens Monday to Fridays by 9:30am till 4pm.

Wonder Caves

It boasts one of the 12 Cradle of Humankind World Heritage sites. The cave was discovered in 1898 by Italian miners.

Cost of things in Johannesburg

Item

Price

Bottle of Beer

R18

Large bottle of Water

R15

1km taxi journey

R10

Imported Beer (0.5litre)

R18

Cappuccino

R23

3 Course meal for 2

R507

Local Beer

R18

Petrol

R13

One Way ticket

R15

Johannesburg tips/advice

Be sure to keep an eye on your purse or wallet on the X-ray machine.

Don’t bring a lot of liquid containers with you, the airport security may use discretion to reject the large liquids.

Keep your windows rolled up while driving. Rolled down windows at busy intersections or stops signs may be an invitation to be attacked. In addition, do not put valuable items in plain sight.

Do not park in the emergency lane unless your car is not working.

Only drive on the main roads and do not drive long distance at night. You can hail a taxi to convey you to your hotel room.

Avoid walking around at night by yourself and avoid people who come up to sell you items on the roadside.

Flight from local city to Johannesburg

Destination

Price

Cape Town

R1143

Port Elizabeth

R1128

Margate

R2169

Durban

R909

Kimberley

R1641

Bloemfontein

R1671

Mthatha

R2272

Domestic flights link the main cities of South Africa. Make sure to check in advance for the schedules for domestic flights.

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