Johannesburg Travel Guide
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The discovery of gold in what is now known as the city of Johannesburg sparked one of the fastest South African urban developments. Johannesburg or the 'city of gold' as it is fondly referred to, is one of the most diverse areas in South Africa. It is South Africa’s premier business destination and is as rich as the cultures and heritages made up by its five million inhabitants.
As the largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng and has two main districts - Soweto and Sandton - with Soweto being the most popular travel destination for tourists (the name is an abbreviation of Southwestern Townships).
English and Afrikaans are the most widely spoken languages in Johannesburg. The city’s large population means, however, that there are varied lifestyles and landscapes to be discovered. Its colourful urban mosaic offers world class restaurants, nightclubs, shopping malls, inspiring galleries, bustling townships and informal markets.
Weather in Johannesburg
The weather in Johannesburg is generally pleasant all year round making it an excellent tourist destination. Temperatures during summer between December and February reach the mid 30°C. During this time there is little to no wind and with occasional thunderstorms. Snow in Johannesburg is extremely rare, however in winter the temperatures can drop below 10°C.
Johannesburg International Airport
O.R Tambo International Airport is the main airport in Johannesburg for international and domestic arrivals and departures. The busiest airport in Africa, it is the connecting hub for flights to other countries in Africa. The airport is located just 24 kilometres from Johannesburg with easy access to hotel shuttle buses, hire cars or taxi services from the arrivals area.
Johannesburg Lion Park
The Lion Park in Johannesburg is a truly unique experience where you can experience live encounters with lion cubs and get the chance to touch one. There is also a self-drive viewing option where visitors can drive through the lion camps and get close to other African animals including antelopes, zebras and giraffes. The Lion Park can be very busy over weekends and public holidays, so it's advisable to visit during the week to avoid large crowds.
Shopping in Johannesburg
There are many shopping malls around Johannesburg. Whether it's a large or small shopping complex, each centre in Johannesburg has its own attractions from smaller independent retailers, chain stores, local products, food, cinemas and upscale retail stores. There is sure to be something to entice the shopper in any visitor to Johannesburg.
The Carlton Centre is a skyscraper and shopping centre located in downtown Johannesburg, with over 180 shops as well as an ice skating rink, all set below an above ground public plaza.
At 223 metres (730 ft), it is the tallest building in Africa and was the tallest building in the southern hemisphere when originally completed. The Carlton Centre has 50 floors and is about 3 metres short of featuring in the world's top 100 skyscrapers. A viewing deck on the 50th floor offers spectacular panoramic views of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Johannesburg Art Gallery
A great free attraction not to be missed when visiting Johannesburg is the Johannesburg Art Gallery in Joubert Park, housing the largest collection of international and local work in Africa.
Lesedi Cultural Village Johannesburg
Lesedi Cultural Village showcases some of the traditional cultures of well-known African tribes. A stay at the Lesedi Cultural Village gives visitors a better understanding of people native to the area now known as South Africa, their rich cultural background and traditional way of life.
Gold Reef City
Gold Reef City is a large and very popular entertainment complex made up of a theme park and casino facilities (open 24 hours), located on an old gold mine.
Themed around the gold rush on the Witwatersrand Gold reef City is a combination of fun, fantasy and historical facts. Its buildings are designed to mimic the same period and park staff dressed in period costumes from the 1880s.
Attractions include water rides, roller coasters, live shows from South African Idols and a museum dedicated to gold mining, where it’s possible to see a gold-containing ore vein and see how real gold is poured into barrels.
Apartheid Museum Johannesburg
The Apartheid Museum, located at Gold Reef City holds a large collection of video, pictures and many artefacts to give a very clear and informative understanding into the turbulent past of South Africa. Considered a must see by many visitors to Johannesburg, the critically acclaimed Apartheid Museum documents history from 1948 to the release of Nelson Mandela. You should allow at least a half day to see everything on show.
South African National Museum of Military History
The South African National Museum of Military History is located next to the Johannesburg Zoo. This small but comprehensive museum offers a good collection of military hardware, including rare ME 262 jet fighters used in World War II. Also on show is the South African built G6 howitzer, one of the most powerful self propelled guns ever built. The Military Museum is open daily to visitors.
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