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
I really enjoyed the full day Pilanesberg safari. The pick-up at the hotel is very convenient and the drive at the park is full of great fun facts that our driver/guide provided. Lunch is also included with the fee; there were different great options from a grilled cheese sandwich to burgers - both with fries and a soft drink. I booked last minute and it all worked out well, no problems or confusions. I would really recommend it for anyone with short time in Joburg.
Unfortunately Afrika Tours (or a name almost like that...) that operates this tour cut us, for economics...the visits to the hienas and the leopards, buying tickets cheapers for a mini-safari; besides this, the guide was lost in the timeline and let us to Leisedi after the show, that took 2 hours, had begun (something around 20/25 minutes)...
5 stars because he drive was polite and arrived on time. He took care of everything and drove safely. The experience was unforgettable. Petting a baby lion and a giraffe is amazing. The Safari was fabulous. The staff was very knowledgeable and made sure to give is a fabulous experience! What more could you ask for?
I can recommend this tour to everyone! The bikes are not in great shape but that only adds to the experience! :-) We made many stops and talked to many people on the streets. My guide Tumi was a great guy and pretty well known in the area.
We had a few days in Joburg so wanted to experience a safari and have time for other activities. This was perfect! Started at 9 and was done by just after midday. Saw lions, lion cubs, wild Dogs, giraffe. Highly recommended!