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Book a flight to Johannesburg with Qatar Airways and you'll find yourself amongst 4.4 million people who call South Africa's largest city home. Known locally as 'Jo'burg' or ‘Jozi’, there are re-developments in the city centre and inner suburbs that ensure modern-day Johannesburg is thriving.
From the cultural hub of Newtown to the Soweto township and wildlife parks, there is plenty to recommend South Africa's commercial centre to visitors. You can fly to Johannesburg from most international departure points, and discover one of the most diverse cities in South Africa.
Take a trip to Johannesburg and you'll discover a city that has distinct zones with very different characters. Newtown is the city's cultural district, and you'll find museums, galleries and jazz clubs here. Any visit should start in Mary Fitzgerald Square, the perfect spot for people-watching at a café. Head for Soweto where you can visit the Apartheid Museum, filled with artefacts and pictures from South Africa's turbulent past. It's easy to spend half a day here browsing the fascinating collection that charts the rise and fall of Apartheid and its impact on the people of South Africa.
You'll also find Nelson Mandela's first house in Soweto, which has been turned into a museum. It's worth travelling to the northern suburbs, where the Johannesburg Planetarium and the South African National Museum of Military History can be found. Four hours outside the city is Kruger Park, one of the country’s most important sporting arenas.
Taking a guided tour remains the best way to ensure you don't miss out on any of the main sights when you travel to Johannesburg. A walking tour or hop-on, hop-off bus tour lets you see sights such as Constitution Hill and Gold Reef City Theme Park at your own pace, as well as find out more about the city's complex history.
On a hot day in the city, a visit to Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens is the perfect way to escape the city centre. There are picnic and braai (South African barbecue) spots here, as well as the opportunity to spot birds such as the endangered black eagle.
Families should head for the Lion Park, where you can visit the cubs and enjoy a self-drive trip through the game area. Watch out for giraffes, zebras, antelopes and, of course, lions. Areas such as Sandton City are increasingly popular with tourists, particularly if some serious retail therapy is the order of the day!
The range of cuisine available in Johannesburg's restaurants is as diverse as the city itself, with South African cuisine taking its influences from Indian and Malay flavours. Cuisine from many different regions can be found here and there is a trend for al fresco dining. It's possible to eat well for a reasonable price in the city, but you'll also find no shortage of fine dining establishments offering top quality cuisine that fuses both regional and international flavours.
Local dishes focus heavily on meat, but there are vegetarian options available. Outdoor braai (barbecues) serve Boerewors, spicy South African sausages. You'll also find dishes such as Bobotie, minced meat with curried spices and egg sauce, and Chakalaka, a Malay/Indian salad of cauliflower, carrots and spices. Rooibos or red bush tea is widely served and is a great, caffeine-free alternative to traditional black tea.
Craft markets are the ideal place to pick up beautifully made wire and bead jewellery or African crafts. Try the Rosebank Flea Market on Sundays and Mai Mai, the city's oldest market, for unusual souvenirs.
For arts and crafts, visit the city's malls on your trip to Johannesburg. Whilst many are filled with chain stores, there are malls which feature independent shops too; Johannesburg has more than 360 independent stores where you can haggle for the best prices. For the more high-end international chain stores, head to the Cresta Mall or Sandton City.
Flights to Johannesburg with Qatar Airways arrive at O.R. Tambo International Airport, 13 miles from the city centre.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Johannesburg please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)
Voltage: 220 / 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type M
Language: English / Zulu / Xhosa / Afrikaans
International dialing code: +27
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