Johannesburg Facts & Info

South Africa's Golden City

Johannesburg is the business capital of South Africa, and the economic powerhouse of Africa. It produces a large proportion of the country's GDP and attracts investment and skills from all over the world. It is also one of Africa’s main travel hubs and an inevitable access point to many Southern African destinations.

It’s a cosmopolitan city with people from all over the continent and the rest of the world. With a population of about 8 million in the greater metropolis (including Soweto), the city has expanded and now connects to Pretoria, South Africa's administrative capital. It is the only real global city in sub-Saharan Africa and the capital of Gauteng, South Africa's wealthiest province.

The city was formed in the 1880s after gold and diamonds were discovered on the Witwatersrand. This gold rush led to numerous people flocking to the area in search of riches and labour and the settlement quickly expanded to become the largest in the country. The locals refer to it as Egoli - City of Gold in the Zulu language. Mining is still a major part of the industry around ‘Joburg/Jozi’ but business and information technology are now leading the way.

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Time: GMT/UTC + 2

Population: 8 million

The Land: The altitude in Johannesburg is 2,000m above sea level. 40% of the world's gold has been found in the region. Johannesburg has an average of 12 hours of sunlight a day. There are 7,519km of roads, of which only 905km are not tarred. The average travel time for commuters is 48 minutes. There are 1,569ha of nature reserves and 12 river systems which run through the city. 40% of all the world's human ancestor fossils have been found in areas adjoining the city.

Cuisine: Johannesburg is a cosmopolitan city with some of the country’s best restaurants – you’ll find any type of cuisine you are looking for. For those looking to try some authentic township cuisine, there are a number of restaurants in Soweto - Wandie’s Place is a must.

Seasons and Weather: The summer months run from October – March which is also the rainy season. Known as the ‘highveld’ due to its high altitude above sea level, Johannesburg typically has late afternoon thunder showers in the summer which last for an hour or two. Summer temperatures range from about 25 degrees centigrade up to a max of about 38.

Winters are temperate and dry with no rainfall and crisp, clear days. The winter runs from May – August. Evenings and early mornings can get quite cold with temperatures ranging from 0 degrees centigrade up to a max of around 22. Daytime temperatures average at around 15 degrees centigrade.

Language: English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa are the predominant languages.

Flora and Fauna: There are over 10 million trees in Johannesburg (2.5 million in parks and along pavements, and 7.5 million in private homes). When the jacarandas bloom it is quite something to behold creating a perfumed scent across the city.

There are 4,443ha of open fields (veld), 1,616 parks, 24,6ha of bird sanctuaries, 107km of nature trails & 80ha of botanical gardens. Johannesburg has about 150 heritage sites, half of which are national monuments.

Johannesburg houses the only two polar bears in Africa, at the Johannesburg Zoo. It is surrounded by game reserves which are accessible by car or by plane, including the Kruger National Park (approx 6 hours drive),  Madikwe Game Reserve (approx 5 hours drive) and Pilanesberg Game Reserve (approx 3 hours drive).

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