Top attractions in Johannesburg
With the recovery of its post-apartheid economy, Johannesburg is shedding its "most dangerous city" reputation for that of a friendly metropolis with quirky urban attractions to substantiate its wilder and more scenic offerings. Here are a few of its best!
Combining natural vegetation and rocky hiking trails with skillfully landscaped gardens, visitors must trek up to the top of its waterfall to see Black Eagles and terrific views!
This national park not only offers safaris galore but you can even camp here. In spite of the large meandering beasts, it's safer than it sounds!
Home to a startling number of our chimpish ancestors, it's no wonder the fossil-rich Sterkfontein caves are also known as the Cradle of Humankind!
Discover the brutish conditions of a detention center that held Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and many other political leaders and suspected dissidents. It can prove to be a very humbling experience.
This research and observation center lets you get close to cheetahs, wild dogs, and other native creatures you may have missed on safari.
How did Apartheid feel? Upon paying admission you'll be assigned a racial category to help you understand the gravity of the exhibits. It's hard to see it all in one visit though.
The allure of the safari too often distracts from this brilliantly landscaped zoo. It's now a world-beater but you can still visit a few old enclosures to see how far it's come!
In terms of the weather there is not really a best time to visit Johannesburg. Daytime temperatures are fairly warm all year round, with the high altitude keeping summers from getting too hot. The South African winter is between May and August, and if you plan to take safari then the lack of foliage at this time makes it considerably easier to spot lions!
Johannesburg is not as dangerous as you might think. Crime is nowhere near the level it once was and you'll immediately notice cars stopping at red lights all over the place without being stolen! Like any city, crime is still an issue but tends to be particularly high around certain areas. Avoid Yeoville, Berea, Hillbrow, and Alexandra if you can, and opt for taxis over public transport, which is quite chaotic.
Johannesburg is a city of suburbs, so don't expect a hotel in the center to be your best bet. Consider booking a guesthouse in Melville, Sandton, or Rosebank. For contrast, Soweto is the city's largest township. Although it's still quite poor, it's one of the friendliest, liveliest parts of the city. The downside to that is it can be hard to get any sleep!
- LanguageAfrikaans and English
- CurrencySouth African Rand (ZAR)
- Time ZoneUTC (+02:00)
- Country Code+27
- Best time to visitWarm temperatures can be enjoyed all year round, but if you are visiting for safari, plan to come between May and August when foliage is at a minimum and big game sightings are easier!
Things to Do in Johannesburg
Top Attractions in Johannesburg
Cities in South Africa
Other Sightseeing Options in Johannesburg
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What people are saying about Johannesburg
Amazing experience! We saw everything we wanted, the guide was experienced and lunch was great. I totally recommend this tour.
Recommend 2 days if you have time. Much to see and this will give you needed time. We still were not able to do all we wanted along the route.
Everything was well organized and pick up from the hotel was on time. Joe was a very enthusiastic Ranger and we could really feel her passion for her job! We saw almost all of the Big Five, only the leopard didn't want to show up!
You will see the big contrast between neighborhoods/areas and it’s an easy way to move around the city while feeling safe.
A full day tour to visit various historical and current apartheid sites and museums. Guide was flexible enough to let us visit other areas of interest not listed. Also heard about marriage and dating customs. Be sure to allow 2 hrs for Apartheid Museum (2.5 hrs would have been better). Lunch choice great but cost not included.