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JohannesburgSouth Africa

Urban renewal is underway in the nation's capital; this is a city that is growing to embody the spirit of modern South Africa. 

Johannesburg is a place set to surprise even the most experienced travellers. Despite a troubled past, the city has some excellent cultural attractions, amazing sites and a diverse population. Although you will still need to be careful when visiting, there are many places where it is quite safe.

To get straight into the action, visit the slowly rejuvenating central business district. Certain parts should still be avoided, but others offer a good glimpse of life in the metropolis. For great views of the city, check out the Carlton Centre’s Top of Africa viewing area.

Take a guided tour of Soweto to see how many poorer locals live. It’s a series of townships comprised of cheap or make-shift housing and infrastructure. The area might be shocking for some, but most visitors are pleasantly surprised by the lively atmosphere and fascinating culture. It can be rough in places, so don't venture there on your own. Experience Vilakazi Street's unique atmosphere or visit the house where Nelson Mandela once lived. See other important sites such as the Hector Pieterson Memorial and the Regina Mundi Church.

For a look at some of the older districts in the city, check out Parktown and Newtown. You’ll find historic buildings, a diverse crowd and sidewalks lined with cafés, restaurants and shops. Make your way out to the northern suburbs to see where many of the city’s wealthier residents live. There are upmarket boutiques, bars and restaurants.

History buffs will definitely want to visit a selection of Johannesburg’s museums. Explore the Apartheid Museum and learn about South Africa’s turbulent history. Take a tour of Constitution Hill to see more evidence of the capital's troubled history at the prison museums. Those with more of an eye for art should visit the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) for a great selection of local and international art.

To escape the hustle and bustle of the city, stroll through the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden. If you would like to go a bit further, go for a hike in the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve or organise a trip to Lion Park to see Africa’s most famous wild animal.

Where to stay in Johannesburg

Downtown Johannesburg showing heritage architecture and outdoor art

Downtown Johannesburg

3.5/5Good!(32 area reviews)

Well-liked for its museums and architecture, Downtown Johannesburg is worth a visit. Check out the variety of things to see and do like Ellis Park Stadium and Arts on Main, and jump on the metro at Ellis Park Station to get around the city.

Downtown Johannesburg
Johannesburg - Gauteng as well as a large group of people

Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area

4.5/5Wonderful!(314 area reviews)

While you're in Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area, take in top sights like Nelson Mandela Square and jump on the metro at Ellis Park Station to see more of the city.

Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area
Pretoria Central Business District which includes signage and heritage elements

Pretoria Central Business District

3/5(4 area reviews)

Pretoria Central Business District is noteworthy for its bars, and you can make a stop at top attractions like Church Square and Pretoria City Hall.

Pretoria Central Business District
Looking up, the ceiling kinda looks like the the belly of an insect

O.R. Tambo

4/5Very Good!(135 area reviews)

O.R. Tambo might not have many top sights, but International Terminal Duty Free Mall and Wild Waters - Boksburg are two attractions nearby that you can check out.

O.R. Tambo
I wonder if construction takes as long in South Africa as it does in the states?

Muckleneuk

4.5/5Wonderful!(3 area reviews)

Muckleneuk is noteworthy for its restaurants, and you can plan an outing to Breytenbach Theatre and Loftus Versfeld Stadium while you're in town.

Muckleneuk

Top Hotels in Johannesburg

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
City Lodge Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport
City Lodge Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport
3 out of 5
Above Multi-Storey Parkade 2, Level 5, OR Tambo International Airport, Kempton Park, Gauteng
Free Cancellation
¥10,431
per night
Apr 13 - Apr 14

Located in O.R. Tambo, this hotel is 0.6 mi (1 km) from International Terminal Duty Free Mall and within 3 mi (5 km) of Kempton Park Golf Club and Festival Mall. ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,693 reviews)

"Proximity to the airport was the prime attraction for us however, the staff and service was excellent."…"

Reviewed on Mar 31, 2020

City Lodge Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport
Southern Sun O.R. Tambo International Airport
Southern Sun O.R. Tambo International Airport
4 out of 5
Jones Road, Kempton Park, Gauteng
¥8,653
per night
May 1 - May 2

Located in O.R. Tambo, this hotel is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) from International Terminal Duty Free Mall and within 3 mi (5 km) of Kempton Park Golf Club and Festival ...

4/5Very Good! (1,036 reviews)

"Staff was excellent, but overall hotel needs some TLC"…"

Reviewed on Mar 9, 2020

Southern Sun O.R. Tambo International Airport
The Aviator Hotel OR Tambo International Airport
The Aviator Hotel OR Tambo International Airport
3 out of 5
Corner of Bosch Street and Kempton Road, Kempton Park, Gauteng
¥5,887
per night
Apr 17 - Apr 18

This family-friendly Kempton Park hotel is located near the airport, within 2 mi (3 km) of Kempton Park Golf Club and Festival Mall. International Terminal Duty ...

3.9/5Very Good! (1,090 reviews)

"very good restaurant. Grateful for the ATM and safe."…"

Reviewed on Mar 9, 2020

The Aviator Hotel OR Tambo International Airport

Popular things to do in Johannesburg

Montecasino
Image for Montecasino

Montecasino

4.5/5(96 reviews)

With shops, theaters and a bird park among the attractions, there’s fun for all the family during the day and night at this Tuscan-themed entertainment center. 

Nelson Mandela Square
Image for Nelson Mandela Square

Nelson Mandela Square

4.5/5(186 reviews)

Indulge in some retail therapy, dine in an open-air piazza and browse the stalls of an antique fair at this commercial and entertainment center.  

Gold Reef City
Image for Gold Reef City

Gold Reef City

4/5(67 reviews)

Thrilling roller coasters, a 19th-century gold mine, cultural shows and a petting zoo provide entertainment for all ages at this popular theme park.

Apartheid Museum
Image for Apartheid Museum

Apartheid Museum

4.5/5(139 reviews)

Reflect on the impact and legacy of apartheid and learn about the contribution of Nelson Mandela and others to South Africa's new constitution.

Lion Park
Image for Lion Park

Lion Park

4.5/5(51 reviews)

Experience the adventure of getting up close with Africa’s world-famous wildlife. Observe a pride of lions, walk with cheetahs and feed a giraffe.

Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
Image for Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden

Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden

4.5/5(5 reviews)

Landscaped lawns set against a waterfall backdrop, colorful wildlife and cultural events make this one of Johannesburg’s  favorite public parks.

Top activities in Johannesburg

Soweto Township Tour with Mandela Museum
Image for Soweto Township Tour with Mandela Museum

Soweto Township Tour with Mandela Museum

88% of travellers recommend
¥6,104
Per adult
Half-Day Lion & Safari Park Tour
Image for Half-Day Lion & Safari Park Tour

Half-Day Lion & Safari Park Tour

100% of travellers recommend
¥14,671
Per adult
Full-Day Cradle of Humankind Tour
Image for Full-Day Cradle of Humankind Tour

Full-Day Cradle of Humankind Tour

100% of travellers recommend
¥16,106
Per adult
Ultimate Pilanesberg Open Vehicle Day Tour
Image for Ultimate Pilanesberg Open Vehicle Day Tour

Ultimate Pilanesberg Open Vehicle Day Tour

80% of travellers recommend
¥14,639
Per adult
Soweto Apartheid Museum and Lunch Tour
Image for Soweto Apartheid Museum and Lunch Tour

Soweto Apartheid Museum and Lunch Tour

90% of travellers recommend
¥7,654
Per adult
Half-Day Johannesburg City Tour
Image for Half-Day Johannesburg City Tour

Half-Day Johannesburg City Tour

90% of travellers recommend
¥5,498
Per adult

Reviews of Johannesburg

4.1

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
45
5 - Excellent 36.58536585365854%
4 - Good
51
4 - Good 41.46341463414634%
3 - Okay
22
3 - Okay 17.88617886178862%
2 - Disappointing
3
2 - Disappointing 2.4390243902439024%
1 - Terrible
2
1 - Terrible 1.6260162601626016%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 13, 2020

Overall experince is just awesome....

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 28, 2020

I loved the city & glad that I was able to uber around town.

4/5 - Good

Pat

Feb 20, 2020

Lively nightlife. Excellent dining options

4/5 - Good

N.Willis

Dec 8, 2019

Was just scared of the crime rate

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Oct 8, 2019

Lots of history and things to see.

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveler

Sep 26, 2019

It wasn’t safe to move around the city after 3 clock

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