Johannesburg is located in the province of Gauteng (originally the Transvaal) in South Africa. There are four provinces: originally the Transvaal, Natal, the Cape and the Orange Free State. Johannesburg is an inland city, South Africa’s monetary capital and six hundred kilometres from Durban (capital of Natal) and 1,000 kilometres from Cape Town (Parliamentary capital and that of the Cape). It sits on a plateau of land higher above sea level and with no surrounding mountains which affords it the dry and warm climate that is considered so ideal.
The first thought that comes to people’s minds when they consider visiting Johannesburg is the ongoing ‘crime zone’ reputation that looms over this diverse and captivating city. The crime is certainly an issue and no traveller should visit unprepared but it is those people who behave like victims that become the victim. If one is lax about their whereabouts, what they wear, the paraphernalia they carry or the car they drive and the way they hold themselves in public then they will certainly fall prey to muggings or hijackings, a common occurrence in the South African capital.
Being a large city, you will hardly find the wildlife that South Africa boasts nearby. However, in surrounding suburbs (sometimes only half an hour drive from the city), travellers can find rhinoceros and lion parks where most African wildlife can be spotted and one can experience being close to some of these animals, even touching them. Wildlife is a massive appeal in the tourism industry for South Africa because nowhere else in the world (outside of the African continent) can many of these wonderful animals be seen. The Rand is their unit of currency and on the notes will be seen the Big Five. The Big Five consists of the Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros, Elephant and Cape Buffalo. The term Big 5 was coined by hunters, mainly because of the ferocity of these five animals and the difficulty involved in hunting them but it has now been used by tour operators and safari guides as a marketing phrase.
The city of Johannesburg, however, has a wide range of very high quality beautiful hotels and restaurants which make the night life a pleasure. During the day there are many golf courses, sports clubs, malls, spas, markets and activity centres to visit to experience a truly relaxing holiday that will make you feel utterly spoilt.
Johannesburg is home to Nelson Mandela and a myriad of history surrounding the days of apartheid and uprising.
Perhaps the most appealing thing about Johannesburg (and South Africa as a whole) is the people’s friendliness and attitude to strangers. In a city so riddled with sad stories, almost everybody extends a welcoming hand and open heart to his fellow Johannesburger or, likewise, travellers. One of your most prominent memories of this beautiful land will be the toothy grins that greet you around every corner and the comical attitude and laughter that is ever-present. It is not your fortune that shapes you but how you deal with it.