Johannesburg is the pulsating city that never sleeps. Known as ‘Joburg’ or ‘Jozi’ to the locals, the city was established during the gold rush of the 1800’s and that entrepreneurial, enterprising spirit and energy has remained ever since. The business capital of Africa, Johannesburg is also the gateway to the continent with hundreds of regional and international flights in and out of the City of Gold every day.
Gradually shrugging off its reputation as a dangerous location, Johannesburg is enjoying somewhat of a cultural renaissance thanks to the inner-city rejuvenation project currently underway. Newtown, the hub of inner-city Joburg, is now home to trendy restaurants and pubs, art galleries, museums and markets frequented by a diverse and cosmopolitan crowd. Known as the largest man-made forest in the world, Johannesburg’s beautiful leafy suburbs are bursting with trendy roadside cafes and some of the finest dining in Africa.
For the shopaholics, Johannesburg has without doubt the best shopping in South Africa. Sandton City is home to world famous luxury brands, the Rosebank Rooftop market caters to the eclectic set, and the Oriental Plaza provides and authentic taste of the East. There are malls and markets for every taste. It’s not all shopping though – Johannesburg is also home to South Africa’s ballet company and some of its oldest theatres. South Africa’s Highest Court – the Constitutional Court – is situated in Johannesburg and is adjacent to the Apartheid Museum, a stark reminder of South Africa’s fragmented history. The bustling township of Soweto can be experienced by guided tour, offering a firsthand look into one of South Africa’s most important areas.
Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, is just a 15min train ride away on the new high speed overland Gautrain – which also connects the inner city with financial hub Sandton, and the international OR Tambo airport. For those seeking a little respite from the frenetic energy of the big city, the lush green hills of Magalieburg are only an hour outside of Johannesburg and are home to the Cradle of Mankind Heritage Site and an Elephant Sanctuary.
With easy access to all of South Africa’s top attractions, Johannesburg has often simply been a layover city. However, with Joburg enjoying a cultural resurgence alongside dramatically decreasing crime levels, the city is well worth a visit in it’s own right.