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Johannesburg Destination Guide

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Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts

Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Johannesburg , created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.


In the spring of 1837, after trekking for months across harsh, dry plains, the Voortrekkers arrived on the roof of Africa. At almost 6,000 feet high, the sun was hot but the air was cool and they thought they had found paradise. They spent the next five years, building homesteads, blissfully unaware they were sitting atop the world’s richest gold reef. When gold was discovered, in 1886, the Boers were overrun by all manner of nations, in search of riches and new opportunities. As fortunes were made and lost, Johannesburg rapidly grew from a small settlement into a full-fledged city and the country’s foremost centre for industry, commerce and finance.

eGoli, Jozi or Jo’burg, as its affectionately known by its citizens, is filled to the brim with super trendy bars and restaurants, paradoxically placed alongside sprawling townships, a reminder of the city’s darker days of 'whites only' privileges. Shopping is something of an addiction here and the city offers an abundance of stylish malls and art galleries selling superb contemporary African art, fashion and designs. Furthermore, the suburbs house a thriving café culture, which transforms into a super trendy bar and restaurant scene in the evening.

Johannesburg’s citizens were a pragmatic bunch, a quality which often set them against the governments of the time, and continued links to the outside world meant the city, more often than not, displayed similarities more harmonious with those of the governments in Europe, North America and Russia. Today, the city’s communities and neighbourhoods retain a vibrant, contemporary multi-cultural ethos.

General Information
LanguageEnglish, Afrikaans
Time Difference-2 hours
CurrencySouth African Rand


Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible. We highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your Doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.


Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.


During the winter, days are crisp and clear accompanied by startlingly blue skies. Warm springs give way to the hot colourful hot summers filled with psychedelic displays of pink bougainvillea and purple Jacaranda blooms and punctuated by the mighty African thunderstorms.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Johannesburg.

  Temp °C Rain mm


The Apartheid Museum
Apartheid was dismantled over decade ago but its full horror lives on in a stark white building on Gold Reef Road, Ormonde. Entry tickets − white and non-white − are issued at random and dictate which doorway you enter through. It's a simple but effective taster of what it was like to have your entire life determined by your skin colour. Documentary pieces of film, texts, sound clips and live accounts will take you on a fascinating, horrifying, humbling and ultimately inspiring journey that recounts the bewildering history of racial segregation.

Originally an acronym for "South Western Townships", a cluster of townships sprawling across a vast area, twenty kilometres south-west of Johannesburg, Soweto is today a city in its own right, complete with suburbs, malls, a football stadium and the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere. Directly involved in some of the most important events of the fight against apartheid, Soweto has been home to a number of political, sporting and social personalities, including former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, both of whom lived in the renowned Vilakazi Street area of Orlando West.

Constitution Hill
South Africa's Constitutional Court, is built on what used to be a high security prison complex, The Old Fort, originally built to house prisoners of the Anglo-Boer War, later the ‘native prison’ called Number 4 and the Women’s Jail were added and the complex became a detention centre for everyone from common criminals to political activists among them Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. Many of the surrounding buildings have been turned into museums where exhibitions detail South Africa’s path to freedom and democracy. Tours include a visit to Mandela’s cell and visitors are invited to add their comments to the “We, The People Wall” – via copper bricks which are then added to the wall.
Johannesburg Zoo

From its humble opening in 1904, when its inhabitants consisted of a male lion, a female leopard and a male baboon, the Johannesburg Zoo is now a sprawling fifty-four hectares of beautiful grounds, accommodating up to 2,070 animals, representing 365 different species.

Rosebank, Sandton  and Hyde Bank corner boast a plethora of department stores and designer boutiques. 

Gold Reef City
Just eight kilometres from the centre of Johannesburg, the uniquely South African Gold Reef City offers a host of thrilling rides, a casino, an animal farmyard, Story of Gold Heritage Tours, the Town Square showcasing up-and-coming local talents and headline bands as well as a host of restaurants. Look out for the gumboot dancing displays – conceived by black miners as an alternative to drumming, (which was restricted), it is now something of a South African art form.

World Heritage Site: Cradle of Humankind
About an hour’s drive out of the city you’ll find Maropeng the official visitor centre of the Cradle of Humankind and the Sterkfontein Caves. A World Heritage Site, the Cradle of Humanity is widely recognised as the place from which all of humankind originated – visitors learn about the history of earth’s creation on an underwater boat ride through the complex of fossil-bearing caves.

Sterkfontein Caves
Owned by the University of the Witwatersrand, the Sterkfontein Caves are credited with many of the famous discoveries including the world famous “Mrs Ples” a 2.1-million-year-old Australopithecus skull, and “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton over 3-million years old.

Getting There+

Flight Information
Emirates direct from Dubai to Johannesburg.
Qatar Airways direct from Doha to Johannesburg.

Flight Time
From Dubai to Johannesburg: 8 hours, 10 minutes.

Travel Gems+

Travel Planning
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.

Guided Tour
If it’s your first time to the 'city of gold', we recommend you hire a tour guide – it’s a quick and convenient way of getting around and seeing the top sights including the Apartheid Museum.

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Why Choose Elegant Resorts

As the foremost British pioneer of luxury travel – and boasting an ever-increasing collection of prestigious accolades that celebrates this – Elegant Resorts is a tour operator with the expertise, knowledge and reputation to deliver only the very finest tailor-made luxury holidays to our clients, honed by almost thirty years of experience in this niche travel business.

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