Johannesburg
South Africa
By Lauren Kmec

Johannesburg is often mistakenly assumed to be one of South Africa’s three capital cities, likely because it is the largest city in the country and is responsible for the majority of the nation’s economic development. Hence, Johannesburg, with its bustling city streets and energetic nightlife, is the true heart and soul of South Africa. When apartheid rule was still the law of the land, Johannesburg gained an unsavory reputation; however, today this city is beginning to rise from the ashes and reestablish itself on the global stage.

Thus, WhatsCheaper.com encourages you to visit Johannesburg on your next exotic vacation. Most flights will land at O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), the largest airport in the country, located ~30 minutes (by car) from most main areas of Johannesburg. Many hotels offer shuttle service to and from the airport, helping to alleviate a potential source of travel stress. Alternatively, a few flights may land at Lanseria International Airport (HLA), located on the opposite side of the city from Tambo Airport. Follow the link (https://www.whatscheaper.com/flight.php) to make your flight arrangements with WhatsCheaper.com. Additionally, WhatsCheaper.com offers a number of great rates on hotel stays; click here (https://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php) to review our top selections.

In order to fully appreciate South African’s turbulent past, WhatsCheaper.com suggests a visit to Constitution Hill, an old fort that was used as a prison from 1892 until 1983. Some important people have been imprisoned here: most notably Mahatma Gandhi in 1906 and Nelson Mandela in 1962. During the time of apartheid, Constitution Hill encompassed three prisons: the infamous Number Four, where black males were held; the Old Fort, for white male prisoners; and a women’s prison. Today, visitors can tour Number Four and the Old Fort, which have been transformed into a prison museum featuring multimedia displays and interactive exhibits where visitors can record their personal reflections after touring the prisons. This site is also home to the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the highest court in the land. It is a clear sign of progress that the very place in which humans rights were once attacked now serves to uphold these precious rights.

WhatsCheaper.com also encourages tourists to visit the Mandela Family Museum, the former home of Nelson Mandela, located in the once-oppressed district of Orlando West, Soweto, in Johannesburg. The museum comprises an interesting collection of artifacts, including family photographs and honorary university degrees received by South Africa’s most famous freedom crusader. To fully appreciate Mandela’s efforts, we recommend a stop at Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum, a groundbreaking institution that recounts the horrors and injustices of life in South Africa under the iron fist of the apartheid regime. The vast museum is one of the city’s most noteworthy attractions, and for good reason: Its powerful multimedia exhibits are historically precise extremely moving.

For something completely different, but no less amazing, WhatsCheaper.com recommends the Johannesburg Botanic Garden, a stunning oasis of greenery located in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, just 6 kilometers from the city center. The garden boasts ~25,000+ trees, 2500 succulents, a beautiful rose garden, a number of terraced ponds, and an herb garden with a collection of traditional medicinal plants, as well as herbs with culinary and cosmetic uses. The garden is an especially peaceful place and is a favorite locale for weddings and celebrations. Once you have seen the Botanic Garden, we encourage you to wander to the adjacent Emmarentia Dam (actually a series of dams) and Jan van Riebeck Park, a leisurely respite from the pulse of city life. The park is a perfect spot for a picnic or a relaxing stroll along the water, where it is common to see canoes and small boats on pleasure cruises. Try the delicious scones at the on-site tea room, or bring a blanket and settle in for a summer sunset concert.

Finally, WhatsCheaper.com suggests that art lovers pay a visit to the Johannesburg Art Gallery (aka “JAG”), found in Johannesburg’s central business district. Here, you can admire spectacular works by Dante, Picasso, Monet, Degas, and others. In addition to paintings, JAG features sculptures, antiques, prints, and an impressive collection of works by South African artists.

Johannesburg is truly a one-of-a-kind city, thanks to the unparalleled strength and courage of its native people. Let WhatsCheaper.com help you plan a trip to Johannesburg today, and prepare to fall in love with the spirit of this extraordinary place.

MUST SEE IN Johannesburg LIST:

  • 1. Nelson Mandela Square
  • 2. Gautrain
  • 3. Johannesburg Art Gallery
  • 4. Wondercave
  • 5. Apartheid Museum
  • 6. Rosebank
  • 7. Gold Reef City
  • 8. Top of Africa
  • 9. Melville
  • 10. Lion Park

Johannesburg EVENT CALENDAR:

  • 1. Joburg Carnival - January
  • 2. FNB Dance Umbrella - February
  • 3. Rand Show - March
  • 4. Extreme Auto Show - June
  • 5. Jozi Adventure Challenge Series - June
  • 6. Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival - August
  • 7. Arts Alive Festival - September
  • 8. Good Food and Wine Show - November
  • 9. Equestria - December
  • 10. Carols in the Garden - December

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