a class="sml_txt" href="http://www.joburg.org.za">Johannesburg (in spoken language also referred to as Joburg, ''Egoli'' or ''Jozi'' ) is South Africa's largest city.
Johannesburg has a population of 3.2 million people (South African 2001 census), half of which live in Soweto and adjacent suburbs. The majority of the population is formed by South Africa's black residents who mostly live in Soweto, while white residents amount to 500,000 (although the number is likely to be higher). There are also around 300,000 residents of other descent. Unlike other South African cities, no language group dominates, although English is the established lingua franca.
The city is the economic hub of South Africa, and increasingly for the rest of Africa. Although estimates vary, about 10% of sub-Saharan Africa's GDP is generated in Johannesburg. Yet the city's wealth is unequally distributed among its inhabitants causing the city to have, within its own borders, living conditions varying from first world standards to third world conditions. The contrast between rich and poor has led to one of the highest crime rates in the world. The more affluent tend to live in houses with a high level of security by western standards, whilst the less affluent live in less desirable housing conditions. Don't avoid Johannesburg because of its crime however, since it is perfectly possible to have a safe and enjoyable stay if precautions are taken. Many South Africans choose to live here over other, safer parts of the country.
There are many things that are unique to Johannesburg. It features a distinct street entrepreneurship, and motorists can buy things from vendors selling goods at traffic lights, as in many other developing-world cities. This includes food, umbrellas, soccer balls, cellular phone accessories and many other goods. Barber shops consisting of nothing but a chair and an enthusiastic barber can be found on the sides of roads, although they tend to specialize in African rather than Caucasian hair. Mine dumps can also been seen throughout the city and are a reminder of the city's legacy of gold mining. These dumps are fast disappearing as new gold extraction techniques have made it profitable for mining companies to reprocess these dumps.
With around 6 million trees, Johannesburg is most likely the world's largest man-made urban forest. The city is certainly one of the greenest in the world, considering that the natural landscape is savannah.
The weather is generally regarded as excellent; temperatures reach the mid-30s Celsius (95°F) in the summer months (Dec-Feb) with little to no wind and with occasional, spectacular afternoon thunderstorms. Temperatures in winter can drop into single digits but snow is extremely rare.
By far the easiest way to find your bearings in Johannesburg is by finding the two telecommunication towers on the horizon. The Hillbrow tower is located near the city center while the Brixton tower (also called the Sentech tower) is located out to the west of the city. Since they are both tall towers located on high ground and easily distinguishable from other structures and each other, they make excellent landmarks. If the Hillbrow tower is to the left of the Brixton tower, then you are in the north
If the Hillbrow tower is closer than the Brixton tower, then you are in the east
If the Brixton tower is to the left of the Hillbrow tower, then you are in the south
If the Brixton tower is closer than the Hillbrow tower, then you are in the west
Depending on your location, you may also see a cylindrical building (Ponte City Apartments) located close to the Hillbrow tower.
There is a ''ring road'' system of freeways, with the city center located at the center of the ring. The ring is formed by the N1 on the north and west, the N3 on the east and the N12 on the south. The ring is dissected north/south by the M1 freeway and partially dissected east/west by the M2 freeway.
O.R. Tambo International Airport, See Online , formerly called Johannesburg International and before that as Jan Smuts Airport, these old names are still commonly used. tel,+27 11 921-6911, is the main airport for Johannesburg. Located 21 km (13 mi) from the city center, it is the busiest airport in Africa and the connecting hub for flights to other cities in Southern Africa. There are many flights to Johannesburg from international hubs, notably London, Paris and Frankfurt. Most flights from Europe are overnight and arrive in the early morning. If you arrive on one of these flights be prepared for very long waits at immigration. Remember your yellow fever certificate.
Terminal A is for international flights, and B domestic. When flying out some international flights may have their check-in in Terminal B, but will still leave from Terminal A. The two terminals are adjacent to each other and a 5 minute indoor walk between the two.
Getting from the airport
By rail: Gautrain, a rapid suburban rail network, has a line from the airport to Sandton, where you can change to another Gautrain service to get to Johannesburg. Total travel time is approx. 25 minutes and the cost R136. A much cheaper alternative is taking a taxi or walking to Isando, 1.5 km from the airport, and take a MetroRail suburban train to Johannesburg. MetroRail stops more often than Gautrain but also much cheaper, costing only R6 and taking approx. 45 minutes from Isando to Johannesburg.
By taxi: If you are taking a taxi, keep walking straight until you exit the building and then turn left until you see a long line of taxis (mainly Mercedes) with yellow TAXI signs on their roof. These are licensed taxis with meters ( tell the driver the address and insist on using the meter before you get in the car). Do NOT go with anyone who approaches you offering a taxi while you are inside the airport building, these are unlicensed touts, and you'll end up paying more.
For getting money try to avoid the many banks and money changers on the left of the arrivals door: They display the exchange rates but don't indicate their excessive "commissions" that can reduce what you actually get by 10% or more - this is the case at all banks and bureaux de change in South Africa. Better to use the ATM machines to withdraw cash (South African ATMs do not charge fees for withdrawals). The ATM machines are located one floor higher up in the airport, in the retail mall where there are many shops and restaurants.
Lanseria AirportSee Online , is Johannesburg's other airport that caters for passengers on commercial airlines. It is privately owned unlike O.R. Tambo which is run by the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). Situated north west outside of Johannesburg, it is reachable from the Sandton, Pretoria, Westrand and Midrand regions, but can be traffic hell to get there. Fewer airlines fly to this airport and it is mostly used for regional, corporate and diplomatic passage. There are however regular flights from Lanseria on some of the budget airlines such as Mango and 1Time.
For South African travel and discounted fares you can search for : Discount airlines in Africa and Air travel in South Africa airlines like Mango, Kulula and 1 Time.