Johannesburg is one of the most modern, largest and prosperous cities in South Africa. Located at the heart of Gauteng Province, Johannesburg has an economy rooted in the gold industry. Johannesburg was produces one-third of the world's gold. It's a city built on dreams of great wealth literally built on gold and you can even see gold mines on the outskirts. There are also many beautiful examples of architecture and fascinating insight into the country's social history. Johannesburg's city centre is filled with skyscrapers and shopping malls attracting large number of tourists. And while the gold mines are now on the outskirts of the city itself.
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|Population||:||The total population is 3,888,180.|
|Languages||:||Nguni, Sotho and English.|
Climate and Geography
Johannesburg enjoys a very favourable climate, dry and sunny all year round. Between October and April the city experiences heavy afternoon thunderstorms with downpours of rain that disappear as quickly as they arrive. Winter days are only slightly cooler than the pleasant summer average temperatures, but it can become frosty on winter nights The climate of Johannesburg might be described as perfect, with warm, sunny days all year round. Rain occurs only in summer, during the late afternoons, in the form of thunderstorms, providing short downpours to water the lush greenery of the city suburbs. Winters are dry and mild, the days sunny and warm, but it can become freezing at night, resulting in clear, bright frosty mornings.
Johannesburg is a sprawling city and the lack of convenient and safe public transport is often an obstacle to visitors. City transport consists of an unreliable bus network and a series of minibus taxi routes, neither of which operate much after dark. The main bus terminus is at Ghandi Square in the city centre where there are timetables and route maps, but times are rarely accurate; alternatively a City Slicker sightseeing bus provides hop-on hop-off tours around the city in open-topped buses. The quickest and cheapest way to get around is on a minibus 'taxi', an informal bus service that goes everywhere but has no schedule or formal stops and can be picked up at taxi ranks or hailed anywhere along its route. However, dangerous driving, overcrowding and high crime rates at taxi ranks have deterred many from using them as a means of transport. If necessary use them for short hops only and never with baggage. Safer but far more expensive are metered taxis, which need to be booked in advance. The best way to get around is by private car and there is an excellent network of highways and well-maintained roads. There are a number of car rental agencies that require drivers to be over 23 years old and hold a full driving license. A passport and credit card are also necessary. Drivers should keep their windows up and doors locked at all times, never leave anything visible in a parked car, and never stop for hitchhikers. Be aware that there is a risk of car hijacking so remain alert, especially when leaving or returning to the car, and seek out secure parking.
Shopping & Entertainment
When one thinks of a shopping spree in Johannesburg, the term ‘shopper’s paradise’ springs to mind. From designer boutiques and world-class specialist shops in the prestigious Sandton City to local curios and bargain buys at local markets, Johannesburg has something for just about every kind of shopper. The northern suburbs are the place to start a day of shopping in this bustling city and Mandela Square provides a wonderful location at Sandton City for shoppers to take a load off and eat at one of the many restaurants surrounding this square. The Rosebank Rooftop Market, which is held on Sundays and public holidays on the roof of the Rosebank Mall is an absolute must and just about anything can be scooped up here. There are also wonderful food stalls where shoppers can rest their legs and brace themselves for round two. Popular shopping malls include Eastgate Mall, Northgate and Fourways Mall. The Bruma Flea Market specialises in African souvenirs and crafts such as wooden sculptures, paintings and beaded masks and jewellery, and is highly recommended to those looking for something authentically African. Shopping hours in Johannesburg are generally from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Smaller stores usually close on Sunday afternoons. VAT is 14% and is levied on all goods sold, excluding flea market purchases, and visitors can reclaim this when departing at airports or land borders provided they produce all the necessary receipts.
The city has several art museums, such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery which has South African and European landscape and figurative paintings. There is another Museum Africa that gives insights into its past.