Johannesburg is more lovingly known as Jozi or Jo’burg and it is a city that embraces rapid change right in the heart of South Africa.
Jo’burg truly is at the cutting edge of the country’s development and the city continues to flourish as the center smartens up and new high rise offices and loft apartments are constructed at a hasty pace.
When introducing Johannesburg it has to be mentioned that the city does still bear scars of past oppression but scars take time to heal. There is noticeable divide between classes here and it’s interesting to note that the affluent suburbs of Sandton and Rosebank along with their swanky shopping malls and top-class eateries can be found almost next door to the destitute townships like Alexandra.
If you’re a first time visitor to Jo’burg, the city can come across as an intimidating sprawl and it’s a good idea to be on your guard owing to the fairly high crime rate. But do keep in mind that the more serious crimes tend to happen far from the popular tourist haunts.
Having said that, Johannesburg is a friendly, bustling city with plenty to see and experience like the Apartheid Museum, the artsy streets of Melville and the buzz of the revamped city center and now cultural district of Newtown as well as the country’s largest township, Soweto.
As tourists continue to flood in from all corners of the globe, Johannesburg’s identity is becoming ever more cosmopolitan and its renewed confidence resonates with the many infrastructure and tourism investments.
See and Do
Liliesleaf Farm was the secret headquarters of the country’ leading party, the African National Congress, during the 1960s. In 2008 the venue opened as a museum and it now depicts the story of the country’s liberation struggle through interactive and high-tech exhibits.
Turbine Hall in Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newton lies next to the SAB World of Beer and is a breathtaking building. The structure is headquarters to AngloGold Ashanti on the one side. The south boiler side is empty but is often used for events. While you’re there pop next door to the SAB World of Beer for an interesting tour of the history of South African beer and a few refreshing tasters.
A trip to Jozi is incomplete without a visit to Soweto and the Hector Pieterson Memorial. The memorial is in honor of the 13 year old boy who was shot dead during the 1976 Soweto uprisings. A day tour of Soweto will take you to places like Nelson Mandela’s home, Regina Mundi church and a delightful lunch of local gastronomy in a traditional African eatery.
Montecasino in the north of the city is Jozi’s answer to Las Vegas. The venue is a shopping, eating and entertainment center based around a massive casino. The building includes a recreated Tuscan village complete with cobbled pavements, artificial evening sky and hilltop flats. There is also a theater and cinema on sight and a bird garden.
The city has recently had the pleasure of introducing hop-on-hop-off bus tours of the southern areas. A round trip includes visits to sights such as Santarama mini-land, the infamous Carlton Centre and some of Johannesburg’s finest architecture. The trip is not only a great way for introducing Johannesburg but makes for brilliant photo opportunities too.