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Johannesburg Metropole

Johannesburg CBD

The Johannesburg Metropole consists of the Johannesburg CBD, the outer urban and business centres of Sandton, Midrand, Randburg and Roodepoort, and the townships of Soweto and Alexandra.

The economic engine of South Africa, the city of Johannesburg was built atop some of the world’s largest mineral reserves, including 30% of the world’s gold. Also called ‘Egoli’ or ‘Place of Gold’ in Zulu, Johannesburg is the largest city in Sub-Saharan Africa, covering over 200 square miles.

Founded in 1886 after the discovery of gold, ‘Joburg’ is one of the highest cities in the world at 1750m above sea level, and is situated on a watershed called the ‘Witwatersrand’ (White Waters Ridge). The word for ‘Ridge’ – ‘Rand’ has consequently been adopted as the moniker for South Africa’s currency – appropriately so, as it was the gold deposits beneath JHB that have contributed historically to the lion’s share of SA’s wealth. Though the gold deposits have dwindled (or at least those that can be reached at this time – more lies deeper), Johannesburg remains the economic powerhouse of South Africa and is growing all the time…

Sandton CBD

Much of the economic activity has moved out of the Johannesburg CBD to the Sandton and Midrand areas due to the period in which the city centre fell into urban decay in the 70’s and 80’s. However, from the 1990’s huge amounts of money has been invested in the CBD, restoring the once beautiful buildings to their former glory.

Jacaranda Trees in Rosebank JohannesburgJHB is today a massive urban and business metropolis with sprawling suburbs and some of South Africa’s largest townships. Somewhat at odds with this, ‘Jozi’ as it is affectionately known, is also the ‘Greenest’ city in the world with over 10 million trees lining streets and parks. JHB has been called ‘the largest man-made forest in the world’. Many of these trees are jacaranda trees, and the masses of violet blossoms these trees in JHB and neighbouring Pretoria produce can give satellite images of the Gauteng area a purple hue in summer.

Take a cultural tour of the huge and blossoming township of Soweto, shop for the best in Sandton, or for the same in the CBD at much lower prices, swing at the nightclubs or enjoy the many diverse attractions outside the city limits.

There are many of the country’s top golf courses in the Johannesburg Metropole, offering beautiful parkland courses.  Being an inland  city, Jozi has facilities for almost every sport, and socialising is high on the list of activities.

Summer months in the region are known for spectacular thunder and lightning storms after 14h00 on many days, so plan activities for the hot, dry and still morning hours as far as possible. Winter is dry with clear, cool days and colder nights.

People from Johannesburg and Gauteng are nicknamed ‘Vaalies’, after the pre 1994 Provincial name of Transvaal, and are known for their friendliness. Johannesburg is an excellent springboard for visiting the Kruger National Park, and the beauty of Mpumalanga, close to the Kruger.

As in any big city, vigilance is needed and it is best not to walk around at night in areas you do not know.


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