Johannesburg is finally having its moment.
For many years, travelers (and let’s be honest, even many locals) thought of the city as South Africa’s ugly duckling compared to beautiful Cape Town or tropical Durban. But now the city is showing the swan it can be, with downtown revival projects taking hold, a thriving art scene, and a cosmopolitan flair that the rest of the country can’t match.
You’re still, unfortunately, bound to contend with an array of horror stories that paint the city as a bullet-ridden gangland. Yes, street smarts are an asset, as in any big city. But I’ve had neighbours gasp in horror at the thought of visiting the city’s beautifully restored library or walking through Braamfontein, where the main dangers are hipster overload.
Braai: BBQ. Just now: Soon-ish. Robot: Traffic lights. Lekker: Awesome.
The local currency is the rand that comes in old notes that have an animal image and the new notes that have the Madiba’s face, both of them still have equal value.
Getting in Touch
Country code: +27. Area code: 011. To get a local SIM card, bring your passport.
Gautrain from the airport or to Pretoria or Rosebank, it also goes all the way to the the johannesburg CBD. There are plenty of ways to get around minibus taxis and the Rea Vaya bus service that can also take you to most places. Uber is also available to everywhere else.
Getting in Trouble
Use your street smarts, but Joburg is no Gangster’s Paradise. Call police at 10111.