What You Need To Know about Johannesburg

Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo’burg, eGoli, and Joeys, is the South Africa’s biggest city and capital of its inland Gauteng province, began as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement. It’s known for Soweto Township, a sprawling jumble of African workers’ houses that was once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Mandela’s former residence is now the Nelson Mandela National Museum. To the northeast, Herman Ekstein Park encompasses a boating lake and Johannesburg Zoo.

Area: 635 mi²
Country: South Africa
Population: : 752,349 (1996)


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  • Currency of Johannesburg. The currency used in South Africa is the rand (R), with 100 cents making up one rand. Notes are available in R10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 while coins come in denominations of 1, 2, and 5 rand as well as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. The best exchange rates are available from banks.
  • All major Mastercards, VISA, and American Express cards are accepted.


The city enjoys a sunny climate, with the summer months (October to April) characterised by hot days followed by afternoon thundershowers and cool evenings, and the winter months (May to September) by dry, sunny days followed by cold nights. Temperatures in Johannesburg are usually fairly mild due to the city’s high elevation, with an average maximum daytime temperature in January of 25.6 °C (78.1 °F), dropping to an average maximum of around 16 °C (61 °F) in June. The UV index for Johannesburg in summers is extreme, often reaching 14-16 due to the high elevation and proximity to the equator.


There are eleven official languages in South Africa (Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu), all of which are spoken in Johannesburg.Fewer than two percent of South Africans speak a first language other than an official one. Most South Africans can speak more than one language. Dutch and English were the first official languages of South Africa from 1910 to 1925. Afrikaans was added as a part of Dutch in 1925.

Getting around

  • If you are traveling to Johannesburg, geographically fairly centrally located, you’ll find yourself in the biggest urban metropolis and largest transport hub for local, cross-border and international travel in South Africa. More international carriers fly here than any other city in southern Africa, and there are direct flights to most major cities.
  • Gautrain is a rapid transit railway system in Gauteng which links Johannesburg, Pretoria, and OR Tambo International Airport. It was built to relieve the traffic congestion in the Johannesburg–Pretoria traffic corridor and offer commuters a viable alternative to road transport.
  • Buses offer a cheaper way to get to many destinations within South Africa and beyond. The country’s road infrastructure is excellent and the luxury bus liners are comfortable and relaxing, but keep in mind that it will take you longer to reach your destination.
  • Driving around in Johannesburg :
    – lock all valuables in the boot including your handbag
    – keep windows closed
    – When approaching crossroads if driving and the lights are red,    slow down on approach and aim to reach the lights as they turn green so you don’t have to stop.
    – If you do have to stop leave good distance between you and the car in front of you in case you need to get away quickly.
    – Never leave any valuables on the passenger seat or in the back.
    – If driving at night and you see something suspicious at a crossroad, continue through without stopping as a reasonable speed.
    – If you are on a highway e.g on way to OR Tambo Airport do not stop to pick up hitchhikers.
    – If someone is flashing you in a bid to have you pull over, continue to the nearest police station and seek assistance.
    – Do not stop to help motorists who appear to have broken down, if you feel they are in distress call the police.
    – Pay attention to objects in the road that may be placed in an attempt to get you to stop.

safety Tips

  • Johannesburg has a lot of tension between the citizens because of how the poverty and wealth levels are not shared equally. As a result, Johannesburg has a very high crime rate that takes place day and night. There are plenty of safe areas to go, however every tourist should take some precautions to avoid any problems.
  • If you are ever confronted by a robber, it’s best not to fight it. Simply hand over your valuables, do not look at the attacked and don’t try to negotiate.
  • There are a few areas that you should avoid at all costs, unless you’re with a guide or a large group. This includes Hillbrow, Yeoville and Berea. There is a lot of crime here and even many locals don’t go into these areas because of safety issues.