Affectionately known as ‘The City of Gold’, at first glance this sprawling city may seem utterly impenetrable to a visitor. But just beneath its busy façade, lies a fashionable and electric city teeming with sights, and is no longer the ‘safari stop-over’ it was once known for.
After almost 20 years of decline, Johannesburg (known by locals as Jo’burg or Jozi) is now undergoing an incredible renaissance. The centre of town is the place to come for the best shopping; sleek malls are bursting with designer clothes and glossy shops, and bustling local markets sell all sorts of curios, ornaments and trinkets. The upmarket Sandton City, a highly regarded shopping mall situated in Sandton, has in only 40 years established itself as home to the most exclusive restaurants and retail shops in Johannesburg. Adjoining the shopping centre is Nelson Mandela Square, where the world famous 6-meter bronze statue of Nelson Mandela can be found, and the mall and square combined, form one of the largest retail complexes on the continent.
Johannesburg is a cultural hub in South Africa, with a vibrant art and culture scene. The city is awash with superb museums and art galleries, and by wandering around the many modern art galleries of cultural Newtown and Braamfontein, you can see how emerging artists connect with the city's thought provoking past. If you're interested in discovering more about Jo’burg's rich history and troubled past, the poignant Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, are a must. Other historical attractions include Mandela House Museum, Hector Pietersen Museum and the hipster-friendly neighbourhood Maboneng Precinct.
In the evening, the city nightlife comes alive; trendy bars, booming clubs and buzzy restaurants draw in the vibrant crowds. Join the throngs to experience the buzz of Jozi by night, and we recommend seeking out the newest live jazz talent that Johannesburg is famed for nurturing.
Just outside of the city is The Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's richest fossil sites. Here archaeological excavations have unearthed the skull of a humanoid, estimated to be around two million years old, and scientists have also discovered a skeleton which dates back 3.5 million years ago. There are also the world-renowned stalactite caves at Sterkfontein. The caves were accidentally uncovered in the 1890s by gold miners, but today, they are one of the richest and most productive palaeo-anthropological sites in the world.
A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.
- Leslie Siben, India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Anonymous, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka