Known as the gateway to Africa, Johannesburg is a city literally built on gold. Established in 1886 when gold was struck, the city has been rebuilt four times in the past century – it started as a tent town, worked up to a tin-shack settlement, a four-storey Edwardian settlement and finally graduated as a modern city of glass and concrete skyscrapers. It’s one of the youngest major cities in the world and is a mÃ©lange of African cultures, and is quite possibly the most cosmopolitan city on the continent.
Situated high on the escarpment at just over 2000m, Johannesburg is a vibrant, energetic and bustling metropolis offering something for everyone. As South Africa’s largest city and economic hub it’s home to 3,2 million people, including the residents of Soweto. It’s the City of Gold and a city that never sleeps. The young and energetic can dance the night away at one of a myriad of nightclubs – from jazz to kwaito. Cigar lounges, sophisticated eateries and world-class theatre productions are also on offer, or a more authentic South African experience can be enjoyed in the shebeens of Soweto and Alexandra.
With massive inner-city renewal, the cultural precincts of Newtown and Constitution Hill – the birthplace of democratic South Africa – are high on visitor itineraries. Johannesburg offers over 150 heritage sites, and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is a mere 30 minutes drive from Sandton. Those opting for shopping can explore the glittering malls of Sandton City, Hyde Park, Rosebank or North-, East-, South- or Westgate. There’s also the popular weekend Rosebank Rooftop Market and MichaelMount Organic Market. Alternately, enjoy graceful Lippizaners at the only Lippizaner centre outside Austria, stargaze at the planetarium, visit the zoo or tour Soweto and see Nelson Mandela’s home. In Johannesburg, the leisure and entertainment possibilities are truly endless.
Gold Reef City – an evocative recreation of the mining era.
Soweto – on an organized tour.
Shopping in sophisticated malls.
Sterkfontein Caves – in the Cradle of Humankind.
Dining out – enjoy cuisine from around the globe.
Contributed by South Africa Tourism