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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

Top Hotels in Johannesburg

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
The price is $59 per night from Jan 3 to Jan 4

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

4.3/5Excellent! (981 reviews)

"It's within walking distance of the airport terminals."…"

Reviewed on Nov 28, 2020

City Lodge Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport
Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel
Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel
4 out of 5
Corner Rivonia Rd. And West St., Benmore, Sandton, Gauteng
Free Cancellation
The price is $62 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7

Located in Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton Convention Centre, and Sandton City ...

4.4/5Excellent! (993 reviews)

"Early and late check in. Excellent and friendly services from staff and a superb location opposite the train station and 4 minute walk to Nelson Mandela square. Excellent."…"

Reviewed on Mar 17, 2020

Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel
Premier Hotel OR Tambo
Premier Hotel OR Tambo
4 out of 5
73 Gladiator Street, Rhodesfield, Kempton Park, Gauteng
The price is $41 per night from Dec 21 to Dec 22

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

4.4/5Excellent! (993 reviews)

"The property has a good location, free shuttle service to airport, swimming pool and a good restaurant and bar. All needed for an overnight stay after a long flight"…"

Reviewed on Apr 1, 2020

Premier Hotel OR Tambo
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Vacation Rentals in Johannesburg

Sandton Times Square Serviced Apartments
Sandton Times Square Serviced Apartments
4 out of 5
125 GRAYSTON DRIVE, Sandton, Gauteng
The price is $39 per night from Dec 5 to Dec 6

Located in Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Nelson Mandela Square, and Sandton ...

4.1/5Very Good! (73 reviews)
Good stay

"It was quite good, every was decent."…"

Reviewed on Dec 28, 2019

Sandton Times Square Serviced Apartments
Ruah Park Camping & Outdoor
Ruah Park Camping & Outdoor
1 out of 5
R573, Moloto Road, Cullinan, Gauteng
The price is $30 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7

Situated in a rural location, this campground is within 12 mi (20 km) of Dinokeng Game Reserve, Roodeplaat Dam, and Sable Hills Recreation Area. University of ...

Ruah Park Camping & Outdoor
Prestige Apartment Sandton at Westpoint
Prestige Apartment Sandton at Westpoint
4 out of 5
89 Grayston Drive, Sandton, Gauteng
The price is $54 per night from Jan 4 to Jan 5

Located in Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Morningside Mediclinic and Sandton Convention Centre. ...

3.8/5Good! (92 reviews)

"The receptionist and security guys were very helpful. But the room phones were not working."…"

Reviewed on Feb 22, 2020

Prestige Apartment Sandton at Westpoint
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Johannesburg

Top things to do in Johannesburg

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

Cities near Johannesburg