Johannesburg in detail

Directory

Dangers & Annoyances

Johannesburg has a larger-than-life reputation when it comes to crime, but most visits are trouble-free.

  • The city centre, once a no-go area, is fine during the day. However, large parts of it are best avoided at night – take a taxi if you go there after dark.
  • The surrounding neighbourhoods of Braamfontein, Ferreirasdorp, Newtown and Maboneng are generally busy at night and safe to visit – just be vigilant when walking back to your car.
  • It is advisable to explore Hillbrow and Yeoville with a guide – even during the day.

Driving in Jo'burg

Jo'burg is a big city and driving around it can be quite an experience – and not always one for the best. To stay safe, keep in the mind the following:

  • Be alert to possible robbery when stopped at traffic lights after dark – don't wind down windows to give change to beggars.
  • Watch out for the erratic behaviour of other drivers – you'll soon realise why there are so many car crashes on Jo'burg's roads.
  • Avoid driving along bus lanes as this can incur a fine.
  • There are many one-way streets and street signs are not always clear – check your route carefully before setting off.

Police Stations

Police The city's central police station.

Emergency & Important Numbers

Fire10111
Police10111
Ambulance011-37 55 911

LGBTIQ+ Travelers

Johannesburg Pride is held at the end of October with a joyful anyone-can-join-in march around Melrose Arch.

GALA organises both walking and bus tours that offer a fascinating insight into the role of the LGBTIQ+ community in the city’s history, taking you deep into Hillbrow and Soweto.

There are few dedicated LGBTIQ+ bars or entertainment spaces in Jo'burg – most places are welcoming to all comers. Ones that do lean more towards the LGBTIQ+ scene are Ratz Bar and the drag-show/burger bar Beefcakes.

Internet Access

Most malls and many shops offer limited free wi-fi, and some neighbourhoods, such as Braamfontin and Maboneng, are heading in the same direction. Nearly all hotels, guesthouses, cafes and restaurants will have wi-fi, too.

Money

There are banks with ATMs and exchange facilities at every commercial centre.

Opening Hours

Banks 9am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 11am Saturday

Post offices 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, 8.30am to noon Saturday

Government offices 8am to 3pm Monday to Friday, 8am to noon Saturday

Cafes 8am to 5pm

Restaurants 11.30am to 10pm (last orders); some close from 3pm to 6.30pm or 7pm

Bars 4pm to 2am

Businesses & shopping 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday; many supermarkets also 9am to noon Sunday; major shopping centres until 9pm daily

Post

Tourist Information

Guesthouses or hostels as well as tour guides are your best sources of tourist information.

Jo'burg Tourism has branches in Sandton and at Park Station.

You can also try Gauteng Tourism Authority.

Travel with Children

Provided they follow general safety rules, parents should have few fears about bringing their kids to Jo'burg. In malls there are facilities for changing babies and plenty of places to buy anything you might need for toddlers through to teens. Keep an eye on pavements though when walking – gaping potholes are not uncommon. And keep a firm hand on small kids anywhere near busy roads as drivers in this town can be crazy.

Jo'burg offers up some fun options for entertaining the kids while in town. Apart from obvious places such as Johannesburg Zoo and the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, also consider a trip to the Origins Centre, which has some great displays aimed at school-age children, or the Planetarium. You could also contact the social project Play Africa based in the old jail at Constitution Hill – it is aiming to create a dedicated children's museum in the future.

Splashing around in a swimming pool or enjoying a park, such as Zoo Lake, is a great way for the kids to burn off energy. For thrill rides as well as gentler fairground attractions there's the gold-rush themed amusement park Gold Reef City.

Teaching kids to cook and all about food is Kidchen Concepts. Weekend food markets, such as Market on Main or 1 Fox Market Shed , are sure to prove a hit, with well-cooked and affordable dishes that lay waste to regular fast food. There's also the family-focused restaurant Bambanani that has a massive, multilevelled children’s play den in its back courtyard.

Accessible Travel

If you are mobility or sight impaired, be careful on pavements as there can often by uneven flags or gaping holes to stumble over or into. Some hotels will have disability access rooms and there are usually ramps and lifts to get around buildings and public spaces such as malls. Many newer museums are well equipped to serve people with disabilities – a nice touch is the braille on the door panels at the Constitutional Court.

Embassies & Consulates