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Travel to Johannesburg

 
 

Johannesburg

1 October 2014

Enjoy our guide to South Africa's biggest city

A rich history, a coming together of people from all over the world, iconic leaders and spectacular weather combine to make Johannesburg a truly unique destination. The 19th century gold rush created a city that now boasts exceptional restaurants, vibrant clubs, accomodation ranging from five-star city hotels to camping in a lion park, and plenty to see and do. Jo'burg, as the locals call it, has a culture and spirit that is hard to resist, whether you're perusing the stores of South Africa’s fashion capital or learning more about the history of apartheid.

APARTHEID MUSEUM
The Apartheid Museum opened in 2001 and deals with the turbulent history of South Africa’s struggle with race relations. The powerful exhibitions utilise work from filmmakers, designers and historians, creating a sobering but important experience. While the 22 individual exhibition areas lead visitors through the story of apartheid, which of course deals in painful subject matter, the overall aim is to not only educate but show that the country is coming to terms with its past and moving forward. 

GOLD REEF CITY
Located on the site of a disused gold mine, this theme park and gaming complex is a veritable playground for young and old. Entertainment is the name of the game, and there are plenty of theatres, rides and restaurants. There are also hotels within the park, and you can even enter the old gold mine for a real taste for the gold rush. Other highlights include a children’s science museum and a 4D movie theatre. Keeping in theme, the staff wears costumes from the gold rush era and there is a museum dedicated to the period. It also houses the aforementioned Apartheid Museum. 

LION PARK
The African continent is synonymous with its wildlife and Lion Park offers the perfect opportunity to get up close to some of it. There are self-drive tours or guided tours in silent electric vehicles. And it’s not just lions on show, as cheetahs, hyenas and other animals also roam the park. But it’s the lion cubs that are the real crowd pleasers; their popularity has made Lion Park a Jo’burg tourist destination of choice. 

SANDTON CITY
The mall experience is very much a part of Jo’burg culture and one of the most popular places for residents and visitors to get their retail fix is Sandton City. Boasting international luxury brands, there are also plenty of places to eat and enjoy local treats. Grab a slice of milk tart, a South African institution, and a light and sweet treat to keep you on your feet for the shopping. With nearly 300 stores as well as entertainment options, including a cinema, the mall is easily accessed by road or rail and there is also a hotel onsite. 

POPULATION: 957,441
LANGUAGE: English, Zulu and Afrikaans
CURRENCY: Rand
CLIMATE: With a subtropical highland climate, Johannesburg enjoys a good deal of sunshine. Hot summer days are often complemented by thunderstorms. The winter, which is May to September, is mostly dry with cool evenings.
FAMOUS CITIZEN: Nelson Mandela studied law in Jo'burg, and it's where he first became involved in politics.
DID YOU KNOW? Some of the most spectacular thunderstorms take place over Johannesburg and storm photographers travel there specifically to capture images of the lightning and cloud formations.
WHAT TO EAT: Biltong, which is a dry cured meat – the perfect accompaniment to watching a game of rugby

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