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  • Cityscape Towers and townships
  • City Life Two worlds together

This 'City of Gold' has suffered from a tarnished image in recent years but Johannesburg, built on the fabulous mineral wealth beneath the veld, is beginning to recapture its glitter.

Once the city at the heart of the apartheid regime, the chaotic sprawl of Soweto and Alexandra, and the manicured suburbs of Sandton and Dunkeld, are rich with the history, contrasts and contradictions of modern South Africa. It's the place where Europe and Africa meet, if not entirely mix. Since its frantic birth in the gold rush of the 1880s, Johannesburg has been subject to relentless change and friction, producing a highly-charged energy and excitement than can be felt as much in the city’s stylish clubs and bars as in the dusty streets of the townships.

Do go/Don’t go

October is when the city’s purple jacaranda trees are in full bloom. The Southern Hemisphere summer from November to February is hot, with late afternoon thunderstorms. Autumn, from late February till April is pleasantly warm and a good time to see the city. June, July and August are winter months with dry, cool weather. Temperatures can fall below freezing at night.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Virgin | South African Airlines and BA have direct daily flights from London. Another option is to fly to Cape Town and catch an internal flight. The airport is located 12 miles east of the city. Have your hotel arrange for a taxi to pick you up from the airport | or catch an authorised shuttle bus.
  • Automobiles Although hire cars are very reasonably priced | it is unwise to head out on your own without decent local knowledge.
  • Taxis It’s wise to be safety conscious: always use a taxi ordered by your hotel; don’t just pick them up in the street. Get the taxi driver’s phone number and have him pick you up at an agreed time and place.