Johannesburg Travel Guide

City Overview of Johannesburg

The former gold mining town Johannesburg today is a dynamic city that is not only the largest metropolis in Africa, but also the economic engine for the entire Africa south of the Sahara.

Johannesburg spans rugged quartz crests, beneath which a real honeycomb structure emerged from tunnels during the century of gold mining. The sand from the tunnels may have benefited the technology, but millions of trees have grown in the sprawling suburbs, making Johannesburg look like a rainforest on satellite images. This is an unexpected backdrop for the large number of examples of Victorian and Edward VII architecture, as well as the concrete, chrome and glass skyscrapers and the maze of highways.

The government is constantly promoting the construction of new apartments, but in the remote Soweto (short for township in the southwest) and in other townships on the outskirts of Johannesburg, the makeshift huts made of waste clearly show the gap between the incredibly rich and the poor. that still divides the city.

Although Johannesburg is now synonymous with crime for many, the situation continues to improve thanks to the new police force, the Metro Police. The ubiquitous security cameras, which are now part of every street corner, also play their part. In the future it will be much safer to visit the city.

The authorities are also committed to making the city center cleaner and more beautiful. Street names were changed in Newtown and renamed to contemporary South African musicians and singers. The names of the supporters of apartheid disappeared from the cityscape. Mary Fitzgerald Square has been paved and some streets have been converted into pedestrian zones to make it more attractive.

Important facts

Area code: (South Africa); 011 (Johannesburg)

Population: 3.2 million

Latitude: -26.201452

Longitude: 28.045488

Weather in Johannesburg

Johannesburg is the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the largest inland cities in the world. The city is 550 km from the nearest port, on a huge highland area at 1,700 m. Nevertheless, the climate in the city is much drier and milder than the high location would suggest. In January (summer) the temperature rises to an average of 20 ° C, and in July (winter) there is still a pleasant 10 ° C. The annual rainfall is 720 mm.

City History of Johannesburg

‘A train is coming from Namibia and Malawi. A train is coming from Zambia and Zimbabwe. A train is coming from Angola and Mozambique – from Lesotho, from Botswana, from Swaziland. ‘ These stanzas come from Hugh Masekela’s hymn Stimela (steam engine), which profoundly captures the nature of millions of foreign workers who have mined the gold in the mines that formed the cornerstone since October 4, 1886 (when the first claims of ownership were made) the economy of Johannesburg and South Africa.

Johannesburg is the capital of South Africa’s Gauteng Province, which in Sesotho means ‘gold place’, while in the isiZulu language Johannesburg is known as ‘Egoli’, which is a word for ‘gold’.

Although the city was built on the richest gold discovery in the world (40% of the world’s gold was extracted here), these attributes no longer fit today because gold resources in the last mines of Johannesburg were exhausted in the 1970s. The high, yellow rubble heaps of the mines, which were a characteristic feature of the city, are gradually being dismantled in order to create space for the development of new commercial, business and industrial areas. However, a few will be preserved as a reminder of the city’s history.

Since the end of apartheid and the abolition of the laws that uphold apartheid – in 1980 – Jozi, Jo’burg or Joeys – as Johannesburg is called by the locals – has undergone a fundamental change. Blacks, who were previously banned from living outside townships like Soweto (by law) have moved to the inner city districts. The center of Johannesburg again has an African atmosphere with a loud street life. Meanwhile, the formerly privileged (white) citizens have moved further into the northern suburbs due to the increased crime rate and misery.

Downtown Johannesburg