Johannesburg is a city with so much to offer: there are wonderful restaurants, relaxed sidewalk cafes, laughter-filled shebeens, glitzy shopping malls, tranquil parks, unique emotive museums and monuments, thrilling casinos, busy townships, stunning galleries, funky nightclubs, and more.
There are approximately 10 million trees in Johannesburg − the world's biggest urban forest Johannesburg's entertainment and leisure options are vast and varied, so make sure your energy levels are high.
This dynamic city has a range of restaurants – from pub 'n grub bars, pizza take-outs and African-inspired eateries to delightful delis serving everything from a great cup of coffee to healthy meals.
There are restaurants for virtually every type of cuisine, cocktail bars, cigar bars, and fine dining. You've simply got to hang out at one of the many eateries in Soweto (along the famous Vilakazi Street), or soak up the sun in the Soho-type villages of Norwood, Parkhurst and Greenside.
Johannesburg is known for its incredible nightlife. From the funky clubs and pubs of Soweto to the laid-back jazzy groove of Newtown and the stylish venues of the northern suburbs, Jozi (as locals refer to the city) caters for all tastes.
What you'll love about the place is the multi-cultural cosmopolitan vibe and an attitude that says 'let's party'. If you're looking for a comedy club, a jazz lounge or a venue that plays live music – from rock to pop to kwaito to house – it's here.
Johannesburg’s Central Business District continues to evolve, with an ongoing urban renewal and cultural regeneration programme breathing new life into the city.
Must-do activities include the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill to find out more about South Africa's turbulent past; sundowners at The Westcliff hotel overlooking the green belt of Johannesburg while listening to the lions roar from the nearby Johannesburg Zoo.
Shopping up a storm at any of the many designer malls such as Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square, Rosebank Mall and Soweto's Maponya Mall; and, as a fitting end to all the fun, a visit to one of many health and beauty spas, or a walk in one of the many parks.
|Languages spoken||Xosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, English|
|Currency used||South African Rand (ZAR)|
|Area (km2)||1,645 km²|
|Country name||South Africa|
Sandton City Area is known for its very sophisticated, opulent, expensive ambiance. This part of Johannesburg has many beautiful locations, mostly within walking distance and close to the Gautrain station. There is plenty of safe underground parking available, including Nelson Mandela Square and Sandton City.
Sophisticated nightclub experience for a mature and trendy crowd in the 25-45 age group. Tastefully decorated, smart and sexy atmosphere, nice selection of music genres throughout the weekend.
Located in the heart of Sandton’s bustling business district, the intimate VIP Room encompasses an intimate, luxurious informality with a sensual combination of deep jewel tones and opulent finishes. Adding to the intimate luxury is a wide selection of unique cocktails and premium brands served by a perfectly polished team of beautiful hostesses. The focus at The VIP Room was on creating the most exclusive venue in the city, offering chic glamour and progressive entertainment, thereby ensuring that The VIP Room becomes a new social haven for the cities most beautiful and high profile movers and shakers.
With a subtle marriage of Urban chic and a sensational integration of chilled ultra lounge aesthetics, Sandton introduces a new champagne, cocktail cigar bar in its metropolitan hub. Natural yet elegant nodes of wooden cladding, mirror mosaic, hand-picked leather seating pods as well as an al fresco deck area, Cocoon is just the place for Johannesburg’s young, influential elite to meet for after work gatherings, private celebrations or corporate meetings - with a scenic view of the Sandton skyline. This is definitely a place to look your best and to be seen. Open from 09h00 till late, Wednesday to Saturday.
San Bar Sandton Sun
Sandton’s new premier drinking destination is the San Bar at the Sandton Sun. It has separate restaurant and bar sections. The outdoor deck section is amazing – there are groupings of chairs and couches as well as tables. There are also huge fire-pits which some of the seats are grouped around. On Friday and Saturday nights there is live music on the deck and the ambience is awesome. There’s also a full swimming pool with deck chairs. This bar is best for sundowners as the sun sets behind an exquisite view of Sandton.
The Sands is a luxurious venue with the look and feel of a classic Las Vegas hotel bar, attracting Jozi’s glamorous crowd. This central location is the place for the ultra hip to sip champagne while listening and dancing to the finest hip hop, house and afro pop. Sit out on the pool deck in summer or enjoy the indoor space which offers the lights and mirror ball club experience.
Situated in the heart Sandton, Taboo is a world class venue that offers patrons a glamorous and utterly unique, upmarket, chilled experience. Taboo caters to an esteemed and worldly clientele with a visionary cocktail of superlative musical acts, cutting edge lighting and audiovisual equipment and contemporary interiors complimented by breathtaking skyline views of Sandton. Party to house music upstairs and R&B downstairs.
After an exciting day in Johannesburg, settle in and sip a cool cocktail or enjoy a steaming cup of gourmet coffee with friends at the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel’s sophisticated Central One Bar. This relaxing retreat boasts warm woods and modern styling, along with gorgeous views and an extensive drinks menu. The bar offers an ideal spot to relax with friends or unwind after a busy day.
Skye Bar at the Holiday Inn
This bar has a fantastic location, with an excellent view of the Sandton skyline, which is even more impressive at night. The modern décor of plush upholstery is offset by chandeliers and timeless classicism showing incredible attention to detail and luxury that characterizes the hotel. The bar is well stocked and busy, especially at the weekend. There is a deck for smoking and a huge room which is available for functions.
Southern Sun Hyde Park
The Southern Sun Hyde Park is the new hotel on top of Hyde Park shopping centre and is home to the Island Bar. Sporting a huge inside space with a dining area and a beautiful outside deck with plunge pool. The deck is the place to sip cocktails while you lounge in inviting couches and watch the sunset over leafy Hyde Park and Craighall. The Whisky & Cigar Bar allows you to relax and enjoy your selection of the refined combination of fine Whiskey or Cognac and a select Cigar. Explore what is arguably one of the best selections of whiskey in Johannesburg.
Culture and history info
Settlement of Johannesburg began in 1886, when gold was discovered in the Witwatersrand by an Australian prospector named George Harrison. The discovery spurred a feverish gold rush as fortune hunters from all over the world descended on the area. Blacks from all parts of southern Africa came to work the gold fields either permanently or temporarily as contract laborers. The government of the Transvaal, then a Boer republic, established a city at the site, and in the space of three years it became the largest settlement in South Africa. By the 1890s, several large mining companies had taken control of the area's gold mines, creating huge fortunes for their owners. Tensions between the mine barons, the English-speaking newcomers to the area, and the Transvaal's Boer government—fed by British colonial aspirations in the region—led to the Anglo-Boer War of 1899–1901. By its end, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State were under British control.
At the start of the twentieth century, the population of Johannesburg had reached 100,000. Early in the century, the British colonial government began forcibly relocating blacks from the central city to areas on its outskirts, inaugurating the principle of racial separation that became entrenched in the administration of the city and eventually led to the system known as apartheid. The substandard conditions in which most of the city's black majority lived led to protests and strikes, including a 1920 strike by 70,000 black mine workers. There was agitation among Johannesburg's white miners as well, culminating in the general strike and "Rand Revolt" of 1922, in which over 200 people died.
The growth of manufacturing in the 1930s and 1940s brought an even greater influx of blacks into the city, especially during World War II (1939–45), when many white workers were serving in the military. The city's black population doubled, with many of the new arrivals crowded into squatters' camps. The beginnings of a black nationalist consciousness that arose during this period led to a white backlash in the 1950s when the conservative National Party came to power and implemented the policy of apartheid, banning all black opposition movements. Beginning in the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of blacks were relocated from Johannesburg to remote "homelands," and their movements were regulated by strict enforcement of pass laws.
The milestone event in the black resistance movement that eventually overthrew apartheid and white dominance came on June 16, 1976, when South African police opened fire on a student protest in the black township of Soweto. The shooting sparked a months-long popular uprising that spread to dozens of other cities in South Africa, and unrest continued through the 1980s, with massive violence erupting in Johannesburg's black townships again in 1984. Black militancy, combined with the effects of international sanctions, finally toppled the apartheid system in the early 1990s and led to South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994.
With the removal of discriminatory laws, Johannesburg's black townships have slowly been integrated into the city's municipal government, and blacks have moved into formerly white districts in the central city and inner suburbs. The city still faces many challenges, including a serious crime problem and de facto segregation as many whites retreat to the northern suburbs.