Fondly referred to as Jo’burg, South Africa’s biggest city doesn’t often make the cut when it comes to the country’s popular tourist circuit, but it does have its draws. Sitting in the driver’s seat of Africa’s economy, Johannesburg is yet another of the world’s destinations that has come along leaps and bounds at the hands of the great sporting event that is the World Cup – of which it was the primary host back in 2010.
Founded in 1886 and with a long, rich history, this city has survived a lot over the past 100 years. It played an important role in black resistance during the apartheid era with none other than Nelson Mandela finding his activist feet in this very city, a place that he chose to call home. But before the troubles, this was a city that was founded on gold. And it’s here that you’ll find the richest square mile on the whole continent. Yes, Sandtown, Johannesburg’s main business hub, is the most affluent spot in the whole of Africa.
That said, with its stark wealth divide and obvious afflictions from the apartheid era still apparent, it does have a long way to go as far as tourism is concerned. In fact, it struggles to be advertised as anything other than high crime rates, but as an ever-changing city, things could certainly be on the up for this metropolis. And already it’s evolving. There’s a growing nightlife scene, with hipster bars, cafes and clubs making their trendy mark and its mishmash of cultures is making Johannesburg increasingly cosmopolitan.
Home to a number of fantastically insightful museums, even just a whistle-stop tour of Jozi – as the locals refer to it – will leave you more enriched. It may not be a particularly walkable city, but a hop-on-hop off bus tour will always be on hand to help you get the most out of a short stay here.
Johannesburg appears as an overnight stop in a number of our itineraries. If you happen to be staying in Johannesburg due to a flight connection, make sure to head out and check it out!
It’s time to pack up those preconceptions because although Johannesburg may not be top of your list, it’s well worth a day of your time. Have a read of our blogs to find out more.
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