Visiting Johannesburg – The Best Travel Tips

Johannesburg is the biggest South African city with an estimated population of 3.2 million. Black residents living in Soweto compose the majority of the population followed by whites and others. English is the primary language.

Even though, the city is South Africa’s economic center, the living conditions show great contrast between the affluent and the poor making the city notorious for its high crime rates. With safety precautions and cheap airfares, however, it can be a safe and economical visit to the city.

Climate

The city enjoys excellent climate throughout the year with moderate temperatures in summer and a comfortably cold winter. There can be afternoon thunderstorms and an occasional snowfall. So any time is a good time to get cheap tickets to Johannesburg.

Tips for Traveling to and around the city

O.R. Tambo International Airport, previously called Johannesburg International is the busiest in the city connecting to all other cities in South Africa. Flights to Johannesburg like Air France from international hubs are numerous, especially London. However, most are overnight flights and may cause long waits at the immigration. Discounted airline prices are offered by airlines like Kulula, Mango and 1 Time.

It is best to avoid the banks or money changers at the arrivals door as they are prone to charge excessive commissions. It is better to using an ATM as there are no charges for cash withdrawals.

Renting a car is one of the best options to move around the city with a good road map handy, as the roads in the city are somewhat inadequately signposted.

Park Station is the main center for trains and buses; however, public transport is still quite underdeveloped. The speed train called The Gautrain is pretty clean and safe. Although there are buses and minicabs, there is a general lack of designated stops. So besides being a bit unsafe, flagging-down of buses is quite a common sight. Taxis can be used for short distances, but it is best to use a metered or fixed-rate taxi and avoid a shared minibus taxi.

Places to visit

Cheap flights to Johannesburg are many and so are the different, interesting places to visit. The city center is considered the heart of the city and has some fantastic specimens of colonial architecture. A visit to the small township of Soweto is also worthwhile as it was once home to Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The Apartheid Museum is the place for a fascinating glimpse into the apartheid movement with video footage and audio accounts of the upsetting experiences of people.

Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens and Montecasino Bird Gardens are a treat for bird lovers. There are many birds, including the endangered Black Eagle and a 2500 year old tree. Lion Park gives you an opportunity to watch lions at a close distance, touch lion cubs and feed giraffes.

Shopping

Wonderful beadwork and wire work crafted by local craftsmen and women can be bought off the streets of the city. Rosebank flea market and Rosebank mall are famous shopping places for craftworks. There are shopping malls like Oriental Plaza at Fordsburg, Sandton City in Sandton, and the Cresta Mall which is much popular among the middle-class people.