Johannesburg is one of the biggest man-made forests on the planet and really is an urban jungle. When on higher ground, the city is coloured in a carpet of green and purple, as Jacaranda trees are scattered throughout. Visit the iconic Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff for indescribable views.
The inner city is undergoing major refurbishments and gentrification, and should definitely not to be skipped. Some of the hippest eateries and retail stores are found in the most unexpected places, plus it’s a great way to see how locals spend their free time.
There’s more nature in and around Johannesburg than you can image. Grab your trainers and get outside to explore the beautiful Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, Emmarentia Dam or Melville Koppies.
Johannesburg has notoriously congested traffic, so avoiding it at all costs is your best bet. Uber is a popular mode of transport and will easily get you from A to B, without the stress of navigating an unknown city’s chaotic roads.
There’s pretty much a market for every day of the week in Johannesburg. From farmer’s and organic markets to trendy industrial spaces stocking everything from food to clothing and artisanal crafts, you’ll find it in Jozi. Check out 1Fox at The Sheds, Neighbourgoods Market on Saturday mornings (get there early) and the Fourways Farmer’s Market for fresh produce.
Joburgers are friendly people, but the city is still rife with poverty. Don’t wander alone when you feel it’s unsafe to do so, especially at night. Rather stay in a group or order an Uber to take you to your next destination.
If you’d really like to experience all that this amazing city has to offer, stay for more than one day. There’s the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, tons of art galleries and museums, inner city street art tours, Soweto, and so much more to see.
Johannesburg gets warm in summer, so warm that you’d be grateful to take a dip in a cool swimming pool. If you’re staying in a hotel or B&B the venue is sure to have one but there are also a few public pools to cool off in, including the Linden Public Pool and the Olympic-size Ellis Park pool.
Johannesburg is a completely different beast at nighttime as the city comes alive with music of all genres. You’d want to enjoy at least one evening out on the town, whether you prefer conventional clubbing or the underground dance scene, just keep an eye on gig guides and chat to locals about the best places to go.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take as many photos as possible when visiting a new city. Feel free to do so, but pack electronics away when not in use and rather opt for simple jewellery as opposed to that flashy diamond. Pickpockets are alive and well in the city so keep your belongings close to your body and passports and other documents locked away in your accommodation’s safe.
Just outside of the city there’s a whole different world to explore. The Lion & Rhino Nature Reserve is great if you can’t get to the Kruger National Park but would love to get that bushveld feeling. Then there’s The Cradle of Humankind, a spot where many groundbreaking archaeological discoveries have been made.