A Few Compelling Reasons to Visit Johannesburg

If you’re an experienced traveler, then you understand the thrill of visiting new countries and experiencing different cultures. When that wanderlust strikes, you get the irresistible urge pack your bags and wander wherever the wind takes you. One destination that might pique your interest is Johannesburg, South Africa, where there is no shortage of culture and scenery.

Colloquially referred to by South Africans as “Jo’burg” or “Jozi,” this is a city with a rich history, and anthropologists have even discovered prehistoric sites here. Today, this South African city has many modern suburbs and business districts, with many areas completely revamped with improved public transportation and infrastructure after South Africa was selected to host the 2010 World Cup. Ranked the third largest city in Africa, this bustling city derives much of its prosperity from gold and diamond mining. Although English is most widely spoken, the country has 11 national languages, including Afrikaans, Zulu, and Xhosa.

Johannesburg has good weather all year long, averaging about 78 degrees, because of its high elevation. However, it’s better to go in winter, May through August, then summer, October through March. Winter has an abundance of sunshine in winter, with mild weather during the day, although it does get cold at nights. Summer is less favorable because it’s the rainy season. Frequent afternoon rainstorms will limit your chances of enjoying a safari or roaming around the streets sightseeing.
Johannesburg’s Attractions

Here is a short list of things to do and places to see::

  1. Things to do.

There are many recreational things to do, from restaurants to theaters, and from museums to safaris. When it comes to shopping for traditional crafts, you may want to visit Market on Main on Sunday, which is only open from 10 am to 3 pm. It’s a creative space for local makers to trade with visitors over the weekend.

If you happen to be an avid golfer, you’ll definitely want to play a few rounds of golf. South Africa has some of the most beautiful courses in the world. For instance, if you have a handicap that’s between 10 and 18, then you’ll be up for the challenge at the Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate, located in the heart of Gauteng. Designed by the legendary South African golfer, Ernie Els, this upmarket golf estate offers a curiously long and difficult course. Another famous course is Blair Atholl, which has the longest golf course in the world. You can find out more about the various golf clubs available in Jo’burg by visiting:

  1. Places to see.

While there are numerous places of cultural or historical interest, the UNESCO-listed paleoanthropological site Cradle of Humankind should top your list. It’s an extensive area in the Gauteng province, only about 31 miles northwest of Johannesburg. You have a variety of options when you get there: go on a safari tour through Lion Park, a nature preserve; hike through the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, which has a garden, waterfall, and wildlife; explore the fossil-filled subterranean caves of Sterkfontein; or visit Lesedi, a cultural village.

Other must-see places to visit in Johannesburg are Gold Reef City, which has shows, rides, and mining history displays; and the Apartheid Museum, which is a solemn apartheid exhibit. If you have the time and energy, here are some more places to add to your list: The Magaliesberg, the northern and southern suburbs, Soweto, MuseuMAfricA, National Cultural History Museum, Origins Center, Constitution Hill, and the National Zoological Gardens.

  1. Places to Dine

Finally, no visit to a new city is complete without exploring its cuisine. Lonely Planet lists some of the top choices in terms of food and beverage. If you’re looking for international cuisines, the Great Eastern Food Bar, located on the roof of the Bamboo Centre, offers Asian Food, while Eat Your Heart Out, in Maboneng, offers an Israeli breakfast. If you like steaks, then the Grillhouse, inside The Firs, provide New York-style steaks, and if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, then you’ll love Fresh Earth, located on Komatie Street in Emmarentia. When it comes to beverages, the Mad Giant, part of Jozi’s inner city, brews craft beers on site.For a traditional sorghum beer, visit the SAB World of Beer, which is a museum designed to look like an African village.

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