Most commonly known as Jo’burg or Jozi to the locals, Johannesburg is the vibrant heart of South Africa and the economic and financial hub. The city first prospered due to its gold mining but has now become a leading manufacturing, banking, real estate and transport hub, attracting over 900,000 business travellers annually. Johannesburg is a buzzing business metropolitan and an extraordinarily friendly city, with an incredible and heart wrenching history offering an insightful look into South Africa’s troubled past.
Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport is 20km (12 ½ miles) east of the city, and is the busiest airport on the continent handling close to thirteen million passengers per year, with many airlines such as British Airways, South African Airways and Virgin Atlantic flying direct to Johannesburg from London.
Travellers can easily reach the city centre by bus, train and taxi. It’s advisable to purchase a Gautrain card when using buses and trains as they don’t accept cash. Gautrain cards can be purchased at any Gautrain station, note if using your Gautrain card on buses it must have a minimum of R27 pre-loaded onto the card. If you plan on using public transport bus stops can be found just outside the international and domestic terminals. Alternatively you can take the train which is located on the upper level between terminals A & B where you can take the direct rail link to Sandton and Pretoria.
However if this is your first time in Johannesburg taxis are an advisable option. Metered taxis are located just outside the arrivals area, with journey times to the city centre taking around 30 – 45 minutes.
Where to stay
As the largest city in Gauteng, which is South Africa’s wealthiest province, there is an array of hotels to stay in from budget to luxury. If you have the capacity to extend your trip why not explore what Johannesburg has to offer and book a few extra days.
Here for a flying visit and full of back to back meetings, then we suggest staying in the Holiday Inn Sandton. Located in the heart of the corporate, financial and shopping area, it is only a short distance from the airport and two stops on the Gautrain train away from Johannesburg Central Business District. The Holiday Inn is the perfect base to commute in for business meetings and those all-important lunches at Nelson Mandela Square.
Just north of city centre the Crown Plaza Johannesburg – The Rosebank is based in the business and commercial hub and is minutes away from the Rosebank Mall and station. Offering a free shuttle service to conventions at the nearby Sandton Centre or corporate destinations. Wonder along up 7th Avenue or Tyrwhitt Avenue for an array of restaurants from intimate Italian eateries to upmarket cafes and burger places. If you would rather unwind and relax after a busy day in the office, the Crown Plaza has an on- site spa and pool and a great bar for an evening cocktail.
Prefer to stay in a 5* star luxury hotel? Than choose the Hyatt Regency, located off Oxford Road in Rosebank, spend your downtime relaxing after a busy day of meetings in Hyatt’s roof top pool and hot tub. It’s also a stone’s throw away from Firs Shopping centre and Cinema. Book a few extra days and explore many local attractions such as the Michael Mount Organic Village Market to pick up some handmade and organic food and crafts or why not take a walk through the many parks and gardens.
Where to eat and drink
Johannesburg is a multicultural city comprising of many ethnic groups, so when it comes to finding places to eat you are spoilt for choice. If venturing out of Rosebank to Sandton for meetings enjoy lunch or dinner in Nelson Mandela Square the best place to go if you prefer a choice.
• Wangthai Sandton has long been renowned by the Thai ambassador of South Africa as the best Thai food he has ever eaten outside of Thailand. Wow clients with flavoursome dishes on the outside balcony for al fresco dining overlooking the square.
• Bukhara is a popular choice for business meetings, enjoy traditional north Indian meals in a stylish interior. Wow clients with a meal fit for a king with Bukhara’s Maharajah set menu at R699pp, which includes both meat and vegetarian dishes as well as a refreshing dessert.
If you fancy something more traditional then going to Moyo in Melrose Arch is a must. More than just a restaurant it’s a place to enjoy good food and celebrate Africa. Embodying Africa’s finest music and urban cuisine, experience the famous Moyo’s Oxtail braised with butterbeans and carrots in red wine beef jus.
Why not stay a little longer if your schedule allows for leisure, the weather is good, people are pleasant and there are numerous museums and history. Even if you only stay an extra day, then visiting the Apartheid museum is a must, just twenty minutes from Sandton and 15 minutes from the airport. You can explore the history of South Africa in a museum that illustrates the rise and fall of the apartheid through film footage, photographs and artefacts. With a series of twenty two individual exhibition areas taking you through a dramatic and emotional journey telling the story of a state authorised system based merely on racial discrimination.