Reasons Why You Should Visit Johannesburg Before Cape Town

Johannesburg is considered an urban jungle and has more trees than any other city in South Africa |© RyanJ / WikiMedia
Johannesburg is considered an urban jungle and has more trees than any other city in South Africa |© RyanJ / WikiMedia
Photo of Carina Claassens
22 May 2017

The City of Gold has much to offer in terms of culture, food, history, and many who have established themselves here refuse to leave. Like many other bustling cosmopolitan cities, it has a magic to it that draws in residents and visitors and keeps them here.

There seems to be a lot of tension between Cape Town and Johannesburg locals regarding which is the better city. Cape Town often trumps the argument because it has the best of both worlds, the mountain and the ocean, while Johannesburg is often considered to be a business hub with not that much on offer. But visitors soon realize that this is simply not the case.

Johannesburg Contains More Trees Than Most Cities

Cape Town’s beauty is undeniable, but the fact that Johannesburg contains more trees than most other cities world wide speaks for itself. Johannesburg is considered an urban forest and contains more than six million trees, which covers the city in a blanket of green, allowing for magnificent views.

The Weather is Amazing

Where Cape Town is notorious for its torrential winds and rain, Johannesburg has sunshine and late afternoon thunderstorms. Nothing compares to Johannesburg’s amazing weather; imagine rainy summer afternoons and mild, dry winter months with plenty of sunshine.

A Johannesburg thunder storm | © Clinton Naik / Unsplash

Urban Renewal Projects Are Bringing the Inner City Back to Life

The urban renewal projects taking place in precincts like Maboneng and Newtown are revitalizing specific parts of the city. These areas now boast some of the best restaurants, art galleries, and bars in the city (if not the country). Check out Arts on Main and Pata Pata in Maboneng, Great Dane in Braamfontein, and The Market Theatre in Newtown.

The Johannesburg Skyline is Unmatched by Any Other in the Country

Johannesburg boasts one of the tallest buildings in Africa, the Carlton Centre, and many others don’t fall far behind—there’s the Ponte City Apartments and the Marble Towers. Of course, you can’t forget about the views from the Nelson Mandela Bridge, where you really get a sense of just how big this city is.

The Johannesburg skyline at night from the Nelson Mandela Bridge | ©South African Tourism

It’s the Best City For Watching Live Sports

Johannesburg has 17 sports stadiums, priding itself on the FNB stadium in Soweto, built for the 2010 Soccer FIFA World Cup, which can hold more than 90,000 fans. Other favorites are the Bidvest Wanderers Cricket Stadium and Ellis Park. The sports culture in Johannesburg is extremely lively and evident wherever you find yourself.

The FNB Soccer City Stadium | ©

It’s Easy to Meet the Locals

Many South Africans complain about the fact that it’s tricky to meet new people when relocating to Cape Town and surrounds. The locals seem to have already formed their friendships and have no need to let anyone else into their circle. Needless to say, in Johannesburg, you won’t have the same problem.

Johannesburg locals are always open to meeting new people | ©I'm Priscilla/Unsplash

Have the City to Yourself Over the Holidays

Johannesburg is pretty much deserted over holiday periods due to the fact that most of its inhabitants perform a mass exodus to a seaside town or city (like Cape Town). Cape Town is lovely as a holiday destination, but having a traffic-free Johannesburg beats all.

The Nightlife is Extremely Diverse

Cape Town has its fair share of cool hangout spots, and definitely has a range to choose from—however, Johannesburg’s nightlife seems so much more diverse. From upmarket nightclubs to grungy bars and shebeens, Johannesburg really has something on offer for everyone—whether you’re after a quiet night in a trendy bar or live jazz in downtown Jozi.

The Orbit is a popular spot for jazz enthusiasts | ©South African Tourism/Flickr

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