Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city with an estimated population of 3.2 million. Black residents living in Soweto make up the majority of the population, followed by whites and others. English is the primary language.
Although the city is the economic centre of South Africa, the living conditions show a great contrast between rich and poor, which makes the city known for its high crime rates. However, with safety precautions and cheap airfare, it can be a safe and economical visit to the town.
The city has an excellent climate all year round, with moderate temperatures in summer and pleasantly cold winter. There can be thunderstorms in the afternoon and the occasional snowfall. So now is an excellent time to get cheap tickets to Johannesburg.
Tips for travelling in and around the city
Tambo International Airport, formerly known as Johannesburg International, is the busiest in the city and connects all other cities in South Africa. Flights to Johannesburg such as Air France from international hubs are numerous, particularly to London. However, most are night flights and can result in long immigration waits. Discounted airline prices are offered by airlines such as Kulula, Mango and 1 Time.
It is best to avoid banks or exchange offices at the arrival gate, as they tend to charge excessive commissions. It is best to use an ATM as there are no cash withdrawals fees.
Renting a car is one of the best ways to get around the city with a good street map as the streets in the city are a little poorly marked.
Park Station is the central hub for trains and buses. However, public transport is still relatively underdeveloped. The express train called Gautrain is pretty clean and safe. Although there are buses and minicabs, there are generally no designated stops. Besides being a bit dangerous, reporting from buses is widespread. Taxis can be used for short distances, but it is best to use a metered or fixed price taxi and avoid a shared minibus taxi.
Places to visit
Cheap flights to Johannesburg are plentiful, as are the various interesting places to visit. The city centre is considered the heart of the city and offers some fantastic examples of colonial architecture. The small town of Soweto is also worth a visit, as Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu once lived here.
The Apartheid Museum is the place for a fascinating insight into the apartheid movement with video and audio images of people’s life-changing experiences.
The Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden and the Montecasino Bird Garden are a feast for bird lovers. Birds abound, including the critically endangered black eagle and a 2,500-year-old tree. At Lion Park, you have the chance to watch lions up close, touch lion cubs and feed giraffes.
On the streets of the city, beautiful beads and wires can be bought from local artisans and women. The Rosebank Flea Market and Rosebank Mall are popular arts and crafts shops. There are malls like the Oriental Plaza in Fordsburg, Sandton City in Sandton and the Cresta Mall, which is very popular with citizens.