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Johannesburg

Introduction

Johannesburg is more commonly refered to as Jo'burg and is the largest city in South Africa and the economic powerhouse of the region if not the whole of Africa. The city is not normally considered to be on the tourist trail and has acquired an unfortunate reputation. This does the city a great disservice as there is much to see and it can be done cheaply and safely. Jo'burg is also a great base to explore the northern parts of South Africa. There is much to surprise the tourist in this fascinating city.





Getting there

Air: Oliver Tambo Interational Airport (JNB) is a major regional hub and is serviced by many international airlines including BA and Virgin from the UK. The airport is around 25kms from the CBD. Try and arrange collection at the airport from your tour company as this is the easiest way to get to your onwards destination.

There are other airports in the Jo'Burg area but you are unlikely to have much contact with these with the possible exception of Lanseria which has regular flights to Cape Town.

For flights to Jo'Burg click Expedia.co.uk for great flight deals.

Rail: It is possible to arrive in Jo'Burg by train from many cities across suth Africa including Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban. The main station is Park Station and is in the CBD.

Accommodation

Jo'Burg has a range of accommodation to suit all budgets. These days much of the western hotels are located in the northern suburbs such as Sandton. Check out Expedia.co.uk or alternatively look at hotels.com

What to See and Do

There are numerous attractions in Johannesburg and the surrounding regions. Car hire is the best bet to make the most of your time as public transport is not really geared towards tourists. Check out great car hire offers with easyCar.

Soweto: This is a must see destination for any visitor to Johannesburg. Many tour companies organise trips and it is perfectly safe on these excursions. Soweto is a massive township and is home to a vast number of people who live in everthing from tin shacks to respectable middle class homes. On any tour you will visit an old house of Nelson Mandela and the moving Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum. You will probably also be taken to an informal settlement to see how the poorest live. It my feel akward but the tourist brings in much needed currency to these Soweto inhabitants. Have some change ready to make a donation.

Apartheid Museum: A very informative museum which details the dark past of white rule. Do not miss this museum as it is vital to understand the past if you are to understand the South Africa of today.

Pilanesberg National Park: This National Park is a few minutes from the tackiness of Sun City but don't let that put you off. On a drive round the park you have a good chance of seeing at least some of the "Big 5" (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo). There are camps in the park where you can stay overnight.

Getting Around

Car: Car is the best way to get around as many of the sights are along the numerous freeways. Driving is usually safe but be careful at junctions after dark and keep your doors locked and windows closed.

Taxis: Taxis is South Africa usually refer to minibus taxis which is the main mode of transport for the workforce to and from the townships. In some areas such as Sandton there may be a limited number of traditional taxis.

Train / Bus: It is possible to reach certain destinations by train or bus but this is not really recommended for the tourist.