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Why fly to Johannesberg?
It is a city built on golden dreams, and any place with dreams so high is bound to have its trials and tribulations. Johannesburg is beautiful and complex, its lands produce rich minerals and succulent fruits, yet its people have experienced a tumultuous history.
Today the city stands strong despite its apartheid past, and tourism is seeing an increase as the space and place becomes a thriving economic hub and cultural center. Although South Africa has three capital cities, Johannesburg is not one of them but it is the capital of Gauteng province. The city is wealthy due to gold and diamond production which has led to the opening up numerous multinational offices in the city.
The city is home to numerous art galleries and museums that are very specific on topic including the 19th century AECI Dynamite Factory museum which exhibits the history of explosives in the country in their relation to mining or the Apartheid Museum and the James Hall Transport Museum.
One of the most important places you will visit in Johannesburg is the Cradle of Humankind, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. There are numerous animal reserves surrounding Johannesburg, and a day trip is definitely recommended. You can see lions, rhinoceros, cheetah and many other protected animals in the natural environment as well as in breeding sites.
There are a variety of shopping venues in the city that range from Western-style malls like Sandton City to more traditional markets that are held in various neighborhoods in the city. There are numerous restaurants serving up unique South African fare. Try Boerewors, which is traditional South African sausage and made up of beef and succulent spices. Pap, which is kind of like polenta and accompanies most South African meals and enjoy it with Chakalaka which is a hot veggie relish that will have you chugging down some South African beer to tame the fire.
From access to wildlife to modern and a rich history displayed not only in the museums and galleries but also in the beating of the city, a trip to Johannesburg will prove to be a rich experience of learning and adventure.
The climate in Johannesburg is lovely and warm all year long. The summer temperatures are warmer of course, with the December to February months reaching the high 20s, while the temperatures tumble into the mid teens in the winter months.
When to fly to Johannesberg
Travellers descent upon Johannesburg in the summer months escaping the cold of the northern hemisphere. December and January are busy months for travel to the season and as a result flight ticket prices are high. The July and August period is also popular as the temperatures are agreeable and it is a good time to head out to do some animal watching, so flight ticket prices are high.
You may be able to find some flight deals in the South African fall months from February through to April, this is a less popular time to travel to the city, but the temperatures are still quite lovely for getting out and enjoying the city.
Getting into Johannesberg
Your gateway into the lovely city of Johannesburg is located at OR Tambo International Airport, which sits approximately half an hour outside of the city center. Once you get into the airport you can board the fantastic Gautrain and whip right into the city center. There are also public buses available or you can use the taxi service.
Getting around Johannesberg
There are many ways to get around Johannesburg. You can use the integrated public transportation network which includes the Gauteng rail system which gets you around the city as well as into the suburbs. The public buses are fairly easy to use, but be careful as some areas are dangerous to travel through at night. The city also has rapid transit that moves people in an out of the downtown core. Additionally, you can hail a taxi at any time.
- Head to Soweto and visit the Mandela Museum, the museum is housed in Nelson Mandela's former home and gives a detailed account of the civil rights' leader's life and work.
- Visit the Johannesburg Art Gallery to get a visual glimpse into the people and art in the city's past. Exhibits features an extensive collection of South African work as well as European art, in particular Dutch. The pieces go back to the 17th century but modern work is also featured.
- Head to Gold Reef City for an interesting twist on the traditional theme park concept. The park is an ode to the city's gold mining past and includes a Victorian-era fair and town. You can learn about the gold miners' lifestyle and watch a gold pour. The venue also has a hotel complete with casino.
- Visit the Apartheid Museum to understand where you are. This museum details the country's troubled past and delves into the many rules and regulations that came along with apartheid and resulted in the anger of the country's black community. A tour through this museum should be a must and once you leave the space you will look at and understand the city in a whole new way.
- Compare flights to Johannesburg from Australia on AirfaresFlights.com.au.
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