When it comes to jetting off to sunnier climates, it’s little wonder that South Africa is becoming an increasingly popular choice. As far removed from the winter dreariness of the UK as possible, South Africa offers something for everyone: great weather, fantastic beaches, lots to see and do, and buckets of history to boot. However, most people tend to make a beeline for Cape Town, the nation’s most well-known tourist destination, despite Johannesburg being an equally attractive choice. With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at five reasons to choose Johannesburg as your next holiday destination in 2018.
The culture and history
Johannesburg is home to a huge array of heritage attractions, making it the perfect destination for any culture and history buffs. One of the main tourist hotspots is the Mandela House and Museum in Soweto, southwest of the city centre. Home to Nelson Mandela and his family from 1946 until the 1990s, this visitor attraction allows you to explore the history of South Africa and the man himself in the very heart of what was once a hotbed of segregation. Another great attraction is Maropeng, the visitor center for The Cradle of Humankind, which explores the history of human life in the place in which it is believed to have originated. Alternatively, a wander around the streets of Maboneng, Joburg’s creative quarter, gives rise to a whole host of culture at which to marvel. The walls are adorned with art, where graffiti is not only legal, but encouraged, whilst the creative hub of Arts on Main showcases the district’s best artisans.
Joburg also provides the perfect basis from which to explore the surrounding savannah, making it extremely easy to make a day trip to see the Big 5. Pilanesberg National Park is located just a few hours drive from the center of Johannesburg and is home to lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, buffalo, hippos, giraffes and more, with safaris setting off in the early morning to give you the best chance to spot the animals. You also have the opportunity to stay in the game reserve accommodation, should you wish to spend more time with the Big 5.
Joburg is also well known for its wide array of shopping choices for those wanting to indulge in a bit retail therapy whilst on holiday. From designer, haute couture boutiques to local flea markets and craft stalls, you’re almost guaranteed to find something to suit your tastes. Some of the most popular options include the Sandton City shopping mall, Rosebank shopping mall, and Neighbourgoods Market. For more information, check out this shopping guide by Lonely Planet.
Johannesburg really comes alive after dark and has no struggle in rivaling its Cape Town counterpart in terms of nightlife. From historic pubs and drinking districts to modern cocktail bars and clubs, you’ll find something to suit whatever vibe you’re after and you won’t be short of somewhere to dance the night away. This guide by In Your Pocket has some great options but just beware- the nightlife areas tend to spread across the whole breadth of the city!
Finally, Johannesburg is a great option for Brits due to its accessibility from the UK. Numerous airlines offer direct flights from major cities, such as Manchester and London, and agents such as Globehunters offer great deals on what was once an expensive destination.