Johannesburg, also known as Jozi, Jo'burg, Joni, eGoli or Joeys, is an interesting and vibrant city in South Africa. It covers a huge area with a broad range of districts, so you may find that staying in a couple of different Johannesburg hotels is a better way to get to know the place after you flight to Johannesburg arrives.
The city is the wealthiest in South Africa and a great place to experience everything that this country is about - the history of apartheid, the gold rush, and much more. Flights to Johannesburg usually arrive into O.R. Tambo International Airport, which is the busiest airport in Africa, so there are no excuses not to see this fascinating place.
It has also become more tourist-friendly since the huge success of the 2010 World Cup. The city was modernised and the infrastructure vastly improved for the footballing celebrations, and the legacy today is a city even better placed to help the curious traveller have an amazing holiday.
There is so much to see and do in Johannesburg and nearby, why not check out our Johannesburg Guide for the best of our ideas? One of the most popular pastimes on a holiday here is to enjoy the wide variety of cuisine - from local dishes to internationally renowned restaurants.
Other attractions include Johannesburg Zoo, visiting the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, taking a tour of the townships (make sure you use an official tour provider) and discovering the country's distant origins at Origins Centre - The South African Museum of Rock Art, plus much more besides. If you only do one thing, The Apartheid Museum should be it.
Flights to Johannesburg normally arrive into O.R. Tambo International Airport, which has long been the busiest airport in Africa. But it can also be worth looking for a Johannesburg flight that arrives into Lanseria International Airport if you're looking for a cheap deal. This is a new airport constructed to take some of the pressure off OR Tambo International, so it's well worth looking for new cheap Johannesburg flights that arrive here.
Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport is South Africa's busiest airport. There are many direct and indirectflights to Johannesburg from the UK with a typical flight time of 12 hours for nonstop services. The other airport in the city is Lanseria Airport. This is a much smaller, privately owned airport used for regional, corporate and diplomatic passengers.
Johannesburg International Airport is located about 25 kilometres east of the centre of the city. Shuttle buses operate between the airport and Park station between 5am and 10pm and take about 45 minutes. The Airport Link or The Magic Bus are two providers of a shuttle between the airport and the city centre. Taxis to and from the airport are expensive so always check they have a meter or agree on a price before travelling. Renting a car is highly recommended as safe public transport options are limited and the roads are in good condition. If you do decided to get your own wheels, buy a good up-to-date road map and be careful in certain areas after dark.
Public transport in Johannesburg is not great; this is a city built for the car. The train runs a minimal service and the local buses are certainly only for the intrepid or practised traveller! Check your hotel's location carefully so that you'll be able to reach plenty of things on foot, but above all else consider hiring a car.
The best way of travelling around South Africa is by hiring a car in Johannesburg. The N1 is main highway connecting Johannesburg with Cape Town and Bloemfontein as well as Pretoria and Zimbabwe. The N3 links Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal coast. The N4 offers access to the west including Sun City, Botswana and Namibia and the east to Mozambique. For those wanting to get to the Kruger Park take the R536, R40 and N4. South Africa does have some reliable coach companies if you'd rather not drive and there is also a hop on hop off service suitable for backpackers that goes to to Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban.
South African Rand. It is recommended that you exchange money before you arrive in Johannesburg and it is not advised to change it at the airport where they take a large commission. Banks and ATMS are abundant throughout the city.
South Africa has 11 official languages. Although English is widely spoken in Johannesburg, you will also hear Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho.
+27 (South Africa) 11 (Johannesburg)
Johannesburg has some dangerous areas that are not recommended. Pay close attention to your belongings at all times as muggings are quite common, even in the daylight. Be vigilant and don't display signs of wealth (watches, jewellery etc). Do not walk around alone late at night. Don't be put off though - most of the crime occurs in areas that tourists have no reason to go to. The majority of visitors have a trouble free stay.
HIV infection rate is high in South Africa, avoid having unprotected sex at all costs. Tap water is safe to drink. Travellers must carry a yellow fever certificate, but other than that, no other vaccinations are required.
British nationals need a passport valid for 30 days beyond intended travel, but no visa is needed for stays of up to 90 days. Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the period of intended stay. An onward or return ticket is required. Note that visitors to South Africa must have at least two consecutive blank (unstamped) pages in their passport, each time entry is sought. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
The Apartheid Museum is a Johannesburg must-see
The Anglo-Boer War Memorial sits in the grounds of the Museum of Military History
The ultra-modern Nelson Mandela Bridge
See lions at Johannesburg Zoo or in the wild at nearby Kruger National Park
Johannesburg boomed during the Gold Rush when mining towns like this popped up
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