Johannesburg (also known as Jozi, Joburg and Egoli) is the largest city in South Africa and is one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. It is the provincial capital and largest city in Gauteng, which is the wealthiest province in South Africa. While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa's three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court. The city is located in the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills and is the centre of large-scale gold and diamond trade.
In 2011, the population of the city of Johannesburg was 4,434,827, making it the largest city in South Africa. The city was established in 1886 following the discovery of gold on what had been a farm.
A separate city from the late 1970s until the 1990s, Soweto is now part of Johannesburg. Originally an acronym for "South-Western Townships", Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg, populated mostly by native African workers from the gold mining industry. Soweto, although eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, had been separated as a residential area for blacks, who were not permitted to live in Johannesburg proper. Lenasia is predominantly populated by English-speaking South Africans of Indian descent. These areas were designated as non-white areas in accordance with the segregationist policies of the South African government known as apartheid.
Good to Know
- Language: Afrikaans and English
- Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)
- Time Zone: UTC (+02:00)
- Country Code: +27
Planning Your Johannesburg Visit
When to go?
In terms of the weather there is not really a best time to visit Johannesburg. Daytime temperatures are fairly warm all year round, with the high altitude keeping summers from getting too hot. The South African winter is between May and August, and if you plan to take safari then the lack of foliage at this time makes it considerably easier to spot lions!
How safe is it?
Johannesburg is not as dangerous as you might think. Crime is nowhere near the level it once was and you'll immediately notice cars stopping at red lights all over the place without being stolen! Like any city, crime is still an issue but tends to be particularly high around certain areas. Avoid Yeoville, Berea, Hillbrow, and Alexandra if you can, and opt for taxis over public transport, which is quite chaotic.