The dynamic business hub of South Africa, Johannesburg plays a steadily stronger economic role throughout Africa. One of the largest cities in Africa, Johannesburg is home to some three million people and is said to host the world's largest man-made urban forest.
If precautions are taken or a trusted tour operator is used then Johanannesburg is a sound and fascinating travel destination, well worth visiting. Egoli - The Place of Gold, as Johannesburg is known, has a turbulent history and a bad reputation as a dangerous place, but today it has much to offer and can be visited safely. A positive atmosphere of ambition and potential are gaining ground in this raw and high-energy metropolis.
Well-loved and strongly defended by residents Johannesburg is affectionately known as Jozi or Jo'burg. It's the largest city in South Africa in terms of population and boasts a vibrant nightlife, as well as unique cultural experiences.
The capital of the Gauteng Province in South Africa, Johannesburg is the major access point to Kruger National Park, South Africa's top tourist destination.
The drive from the international airport in Johannesburg to Kruger Park takes 3 to 4 hours and there are also various flight options available.
Situated at an elevation of 1 753m (5 751 ft) above sea level, Johannesburg is set on the eastern Highveld Plateau of northern South Africa.
The old city centre is located to the south of Witwatersrand, meaning White Water's Ridge in Afrikaans. The Witwatersrand Ridge rises between the Limpopo and Vaal rivers, with the terrain falling to the north and south. The northern and western areas of Johannesburg feature rolling hills and the eastern parts of the city are flatter.
Johannesburg has slowly undergone integration with black townships shifting to the city's municipal government, and formerly white districts in the central city and inner suburbs becoming multiracial.
A number of businesses and commercial enterprises have shifted out of the Central Business District of Johannesburg, moving to the affluent northern suburbs of Houghton and Parktown, as well as to the northern cities such as Sandton, Midrand and Pretoria.
Johannesburg is home to South Africa's Constitutional Court.
Johannesburg’s history goes back thousands of years, to when Bushmen inhabited the area and descendants of Venda people lived in scattered villages.
In 1886 gold was discovered in Johannesburg, sparking off the gold rush, a mass migration of fortune seekers from all over the world. The settlement of Johannesburg expanded rapidly, becoming South Africa’s most populated city within a couple of years. Black migrant workers from all parts of southern Africa came to work in the gold mines.
By the 1890s tensions between the mine barons, British colonials and the Boer government resulted in the Anglo-Boer War, ending in British rule of the Transvaal and Orange Free State.
The British colonial government started forcibly relocating black workers out of the central city area, paving the way to the racial separation that later became official in the system of apartheid. Unrest and violent struggles continued through the 1980’s from 1976, with the Soweto uprising; which spread to other South African cities.
Black resistance and international sanctions finally defeated the apartheid system in the early 1990s resulting in South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994.
Use the Google map to explore Johannesburg. Feel free to Print the Street Map when you're ready.