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!
- Afrikaans and English
- South African Rand (ZAR)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+02:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- Warm 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
Nick, our guide for the day, was knowledgeable, caring, approachable and very flexible. He was one of the key reasons why we really enjoyed the tour. The beginning was a bit disjointed, in that we did not know that an Uber driver would pick us up from the hotel to take us to Constitution Hill, where we would be met by our guide (whose name, at the time, we didn't know either) and fellow passengers. As neither the guide nor the van was "branded", we didn't know who or what we were looking for. After some confusion, Nick appeared (as did the remaining passengers) and all was good. I strongly recommend this experience. Bear in mind that when you wander around the market near Mandela's house, vendors will approach you all the time. I don't like this, particularly when it is so intense. It instantly puts me off. If you decide that you want to buy something despite the hassling, negotiate hard. Never pay more than 50% of the initial asking price.
I can't recommend this trip enough. My young daughter was so excited to see an entire pride of lions cross the road just a few feet in front of us. As well as that, we were literally a metre away from an elephant. We saw whilte and black rhino, giraffes and an elusive cheetah! It was an unfoegettable trip. I lived in Africa years ago and took friens and family on many safaris, but never managed to see all of these in one day. Incredible. The tour guide was terrific, as was the driver to the park. The lunch was also fabulous. Definitely worth every penny. We may have been incredibly lucky, but we have amazing videos to keep. Thank you!
Tour guide was excellent, timely and very knowledgeable about the cities, its people and culture. I would strongly recommend this tour. I would encourage tourists to cease taking advantage of the people when they purchase goods and services. The South African people are human beings and should be treated with respect and dignity. I pray the government and people who own so much wealth will be moved to do better by the people that serve them everyday. May God Bless the People of South Africa everywhere. May we all show more gratitude for the blessings we enjoy everyday. Amen!
My wife and I had a wonderful day on this safari! We saw a lot of animals close up which was a magical experience. Our guide Alex Freire (from Unique Safaris) did his utmost best to show us as much as possible. He made us feel safe and comfortable and was very friendly and informative. He really gave us a lot of insight on the animals and the nature. We highly recommend him as a tour guide.
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!