Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa. It is theprovincial capital of Gauteng, which is the wealthiest province in South Africa.
The city is one of the 50 largest urban agglomerations in the world. The city was named and established in 1886 following the discovery of gold on what had been a farm. The city is commonly interpreted as the modern day El Dorado due to the extremely large gold deposit found along the Witwatersrand. The name is attributed to one or all of three men involved in the establishment of the city. In ten years, the population was 100,000 inhabitants. While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa's three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court, which has the final word on interpretation ofSouth Africa's constitution as well as with issues in connection with constitutional matters. The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills.
In 2011, the population of the city of Johannesburg was 4,434,827, making it the largest city in South Africa. In the same year, the population ofGreater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area was 7,860,781.Some view the area surrounding the city of Johannesburg yet more broadly than the metropolitan area, addingEkurhuleni, West Rand and Lenasia; that larger area had a population of 10,267,700 in 2007. The land area of the municipal city 1,645 km2(635 sq mi) is large in comparison with those of other major cities, resulting in a moderate population density of 2,364/km2 (6,120/sq mi).
A separate city from the late 1970s until the 1990s, Soweto is now part of Johannesburg. Originally an acronym for "South-Western Townships", Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg, populated mostly by native African workers from the gold mining industry. Soweto, although eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, had been separated as a residential area for blacks, who were not permitted to live in Johannesburg proper. Lenasia is predominantly populated by English-speaking South Africans of Indian descent.
|POPULATION :||City 957,441 / Metro 4,434,827|
|TIME ZONE :||SAST (UTC+2)|
|LANGUAGE :||• English 31.1%|
• Zulu 19.6%
• Afrikaans 12.1%
• Xhosa 5.2%
• Other 31.9%
|RELIGION :||53% belong to mainstream Christian churches, 24% are not affiliated with any organised religion, 14% are members of African Independent Churches, 3% are Muslim, 1% are Jewish and 1% are Hindu.|
|AREA :||• City 334.81 km2 (129.27 sq mi)|
• Metro 1,644.96 km2 (635.12 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||1,753 m (5,751 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||26°12′16″S 28°2′44″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.84|
• Female: 50.16
|ETHNIC :||• Black African 64.2%|
• Coloured 13.9%
• Indian/Asian 6.7%
• White 13.9%
• Other 1.3%
|AREA CODE :||011|
|POSTAL CODE :||2001|
|DIALING CODE :||+27 11|
Johannesburg has not traditionally been known as a tourist destination, but the city is a transit point for connecting flights to Cape Town, Durban, and the Kruger National Park. Consequently, most international visitors to South Africa pass through Johannesburg at least once, which has led to the development of several attractions for tourists. Recent additions have centred on history museums, such as the Apartheid Museum (with related visits to Constitution Hill) and the Hector Pieterson Museum. There is also a large industry around visiting former townships, such as Soweto and Alexandra. Most visitors to Soweto see the Mandela Museum, which is located in the former home ofNelson Mandela.Day Tours to this former South African icon's home is one of the most recommended activities for international visitors.
Visitors can get a feeling for the layout of the city by visiting the Carlton Centre, in the south-eastern area of the CBD, which has an observation deck on the 50th floor. At 223 metres (731 ft), it is the highest office building in Africa and affords sweeping vistas of the city and surrounds. The nearby Museum Africa covers the history of the city of Johannesburg, as well as housing a large collection of rock art. Also a large draw for tourists is Gold Reef City, a theme park which offers a depiction of mining life at the turn of the nineteenth century, including an underground mine tour; other attractions include a large amusement park and a popular Tribal Dancing show.
On the culture front, the city has several art museums, such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, which featured South African and European landscape and figurative paintings. The Market Theatre complex attained notoriety in the 1970s and 1980s by staging anti-apartheid plays, and has now become a centre for modern South African playwriting. The Joburg Theatre is South Africa's foremost "receiving house" of live entertainment—presenting world class theatre, both local and international. The suburbs of Melville, Newtown, Parkhurst, Norwood, Rosebank and Greenside are popular for their bohemian atmosphere, street life, and many restaurants and bars.
Shopping is often popular with tourists, as the city offers a range of venues and experiences, from numerous upmarket shopping malls such as Sandton City andNelson Mandela Square, to various markets and flea markets, such as the Oriental Plaza and the Rosebank Flea Market; the latter are popular for souvenirs and African Art. See above. (Cultural) tourists also visit the "Mai Mai Market" ("Ezinyangeni" – the place of healers; located on the eastern wing of the city centre) dedicated to traditional herbs and traditional healers.
The Cradle of Humankind a UNESCO World Heritage Site is 25 kilometres (16 mi) to the northwest of the city. The Sterkfontein fossil site is famous for being the world's richest hominid site and produced the first adult Australopithecus africanus and the first near-complete skeleton of an early Australopithecine. Other attractions in this area include the Lesedi Cultural Village, while Magaliesburg and the Hartbeespoort Damare popular weekend (and holiday) destinations for Johannesburg residents. The Origins Centre Museum, see below, covers the origins of humankind in Africa, and houses an extensive collection of rock art.
Johannesburg and environs offer various options to visitors wishing to view wildlife. The Johannesburg Zoo is one of the largest in South Africa. The Lion Park nature reserve, near Lanseria, is home to over 80 lions and various other game, while theKrugersdorp Nature Reserve, a 1500 ha game reserve, is a forty-minute drive from the city centre. The De Wildt Cheetah Centre in the Magaliesberg runs a successful breeding program for cheetah, wild dog and other endangered species. The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, situated in the "Cradle of Humankind" on 1200 ha of "the typical highveld of Gauteng" also runs a breeding programme for endangered species including Bengal tigers, Siberian tigers and the extremely rare white lion.To the south, 11 km from the city centre, is the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve home to large mammals and hiking trails.
Johannesburg is situated on the highveld plateau, and has a subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb). The city enjoys a sunny climate, with the summer months (October to April) characterised by hot days followed by afternoon thundershowers and cool evenings, and the winter months (May to September) by dry, sunny days followed by cold nights.
Temperatures in Johannesburg are usually fairly mild due to the city's high elevation, with an average maximum daytime temperature in January of 25.6 °C (78.1 °F), dropping to an average maximum of around 16 °C (61 °F) in June. The UV index for Johannesburg in summers is extreme, often reaching 14-16 due to the high elevation and proximity to the equator.
Winter is the sunniest time of the year, with mild days and cool nights, dropping to 4.1 °C (39.4 °F) in June and July. The temperature occasionally drops to below freezing at night, causing frost. Snow is a rare occurrence, with snowfall having been experienced in the twentieth century during May 1956, August 1962, June 1964 and September 1981. In the 21st century, there has been light sleet in 2006, as well as snow proper on 27 June 2007 (accumulating up to 10 centimetres (4 in) in the southern suburbs) and 7 August 2012.
Regular cold fronts pass over in winter bringing very cold southerly winds but usually clear skies. The annual average rainfall is 713 millimetres (28.1 in), which is mostly concentrated in the summer months. Infrequent showers occur through the course of the winter months. The lowest nighttime minimum temperature ever recorded in Johannesburg is −8.2 °C (17.2 °F), on 13 June 1979. The lowest daytime maximum temperature recorded is 1.5 °C (34.7 °F), on 19 June 1964.
Climate data for Johannesburg
|Record high °C (°F)||41.4|
|Average high °C (°F)||25.6|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||19.5|
|Average low °C (°F)||14.7|
|Record low °C (°F)||7.2|
Johannesburg is located in the eastern plateau area of South Africa known as the Highveld, at an elevation of 1,753 metres (5,751 ft). The former CBD is located on the south side of the prominent ridge called the Witwatersrand (Afrikaans: White Water's Ridge) and the terrain falls to the north and south. By and large the Witwatersrand marks the watershed between the Limpopo and Vaal rivers as the northern part of the city is drained by the Jukskei River while the southern part of the city, including most of the CBD, is drained by the Klip River. The north and west of the city has undulating hills while the eastern parts are flatter.
Johannesburg may not be built on a river or harbour, but its streams contribute to two of southern Africa's mightiest rivers – the Limpopo and the Orange. Most of the springs from which many of these streams emanate are now covered in concrete and canalised, accounting for the fact that the names of early farms in the area often end with "fontein", meaning "spring" in Afrikaans. Braamfontein, Rietfontein, Zevenfontein, Doornfontein, Zandfontein and Randjesfontein are some examples. When the first white settlers reached the area that is now Johannesburg, they noticed the glistening rocks on the ridges, running with trickles of water, fed by the streams – giving the area its name, the Witwatersrand, "the ridge of white waters". Another explanation is that the whiteness comes from the quartzite rock, which has a particular sheen to it after rain.
Johannesburg is one of the world's leading financial centres and it is the economic and financial hub of South Africa, producing 16% of South Africa's gross domestic product, and accounts for 40% of Gauteng's economic activity. In a 2008 survey conducted by MasterCard, Johannesburg ranked 47 out of 50 top cities in the world as a worldwide centre of commerce (the only city in Africa).
Mining was the foundation of the Witwatersrand's economy, but its importance is gradually declining due to dwindling reserves and service and manufacturing industries have become more significant to the city's economy. While gold mining no longer takes place within the city limits, most mining companies still have their headquarters in Johannesburg. The city's manufacturing industries extend across a range of areas and there is still a reliance on heavy industries including steel and cement plants. The service and other industries include banking, IT, real estate, transport, broadcast and print media, private health care, transport and a vibrant leisure and consumer retail market. Johannesburg has Africa's largest stock exchange, the JSE although it has moved out of the central business district. Due to its commercial role, the city is the seat of the provincial government and the site of a number of government branch offices, as well as consular offices and other institutions.
There is also a significant informal economy consisting of cash-only street traders and vendors. The level of this economic activity is difficult to track in official statistics and it supports a sector of the population including immigrants who are not in formal employment. This informal industry is arguably the largest in the world, perhaps only second to the informal sector of Beijing.
The Witwatersrand urban complex is a major consumer of water in a dry region. Its continued economic and population growth has depended on schemes to divert water from other regions of South Africa and from the highlands of Lesotho, the biggest of which is the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, but additional sources will be needed early in the 21st century.
The container terminal at City Deep is known to be the largest "dry port" in the world, with some 50% of cargo that arrives through the ports of Durban and Cape Town arriving in Johannesburg. The City Deep area has been declared an IDZ (industrial development zone) by the Gauteng government.
Johannesburg's suburbs are the product of urban sprawl and are regionalised into north, south, east and west, and they generally have different personalities. While the Central Business District and the immediate surrounding areas were formerly desirable living areas, the spatial accommodation of the suburbs has tended to see a flight from the city and immediate surrounds. The inner city buildings have been let out to the lower income groups and illegal immigrants and as a result abandoned buildings and crime have become a feature of inner city life. The immediate city suburbs include Yeoville, a hot spot for black nightlife despite its otherwise poor reputation. The suburbs to the south of the city are mainly blue collar neighbourhoods and situated closer to some townships.
The suburbs to the west have in recent years floundered with the decline of the mining industry but have in some cases experienced some revival with properties being bought up by the native African middle class. The biggest sprawl lies to the east and north. The eastern suburbs are relatively prosperous and close to various industrial zones. The northern suburbs have been the recipient of most of the flight from the inner city and some residential areas have become commercialised particularly around the area of Sandton, stretching north towards Midrand, a half way point between Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.
Traditionally the northern and north-western suburbs have been the centre for the wealthy, containing the high-end retail shops as well as several upper-class residential areas such as Hyde Park, Sandhurst, Northcliff, Hurlingham, Bryanston and Houghton, where Nelson Mandela made his home. The north-western area in particular is vibrant and lively, with the mostly black suburb of Sophiatown once centre of political activity and the Bohemian-flavoured Melville featuring restaurants and nightlife. Auckland Parkis home to the headquarters of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, AFDA(The South African School of Motion Picture and Live Performance) and the University of Johannesburg.
To the southwest of the city centre is Soweto, a township constructed during apartheid for housing displaced black South Africans then living in areas designated for white settlement. To the south of Johannesburg is Lenasia, a predominantly Asian neighbourhood which was constructed during apartheid specifically to house Asians.
Although this list is not exhaustive, the main areas in Joburg are:
- CBD/Inner City (Which encompasses the tourist areas of Braamfontein, Maboneng, Newtown and Fordsburg)
- Old Joburg (Which encompasses Melville, Greenside, Killarney, Emmarentia, Parktown, Houghton and others)
- Sandton (The new city centre including Rivonia, Fourways and Sunninghill)
- Roodepoort (The West - Which encompasses the The Cradle of Humankind, Muldersdrift and Lanseria Airport)
- Ekurhuleni (The East - Which encompasses Modderfontein, Greenstone, Edenvale, Bedfordview, OR Tambo Airport, Benoni, Boksburg and Brakpan)
- Alberton and Germiston (The South)
Always-On, +27 (0)11 575-2505, provides prepaid WiFi access in a number of locations in and around Johannesburg. Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. Pricing starts at around R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100MB.
Coverage areas include:
- City Lodge. Most of them.
- The Baron. Bryanston and Woodmead
- Mugg&Bean. Just about all of them.
- Nand. Benmore, Chilli Lane, Douglasdale, Rivonia
- OR Tambo Airport. Most of the airport is covered as well as the City Lodge and Airport Sun InterContinental
- Protea Balalaika Hotel.
- Wimpy. Midrand, Randburg, Centurion, Aero Centre
- Highland View Executive Guesthouse. 164 Highland Road, Kensington, Johannesburg, Gauteng
FLIGHTS & HOTELS
- We have access to a global database of flights by 728 airlines and 200 flight booking agencies, which allows us to find flights in real time and compare them with each other.
- We collects prices at the 200 largest hotel reservation agencies and official websites of hotels. Get all prices in just one place.
- We use TrustYou™, the smart semantic analysis system, to gather reviews from many booking services (including Booking.com, Agoda, Hotel.com and others), and calculate ratings based on all the reviews available online.