Johannesburg is one of today's premier travel destinations for both tourists and business visitors alike. It was once a place synonymous with politics that often reverberated across the international stage, but nowadays Johannesburg is renowned for its culture, sport, business and visitor attractions.
The city is buzzing with energy, creativity and fresh hope. For visitors there are plenty of attractions to pack into a holiday, including the zoo, Botanical Gardens, shopping at Rosebank and Sandton, museums such as the Apartheid Museum and Johannesburg Art Gallery and nearby Kruger Park, with its world-class safari attractions.
Most visitors arrive on flights to Johannesburg, which has a major international (and domestic) airport, Johannesburg International (JIA), also known as Tambo International. All regular Johannesburg flights to both national and regional destinations can be booked via the SAA. The flight from the UK will take about eleven hours, although many travellers will add in a stop en route.
The airport is located around fourteen miles to the east of the city centre and close to Alberton, Germiston, Brakpan and Kempton Park. Transfers from the airport to the downtown areas or tourist resorts are easy to organise and you have plenty of options. There is a wide range of private bus companies going directly into Johannesburg city centre, which takes around 40 minutes in normal traffic conditions. There are also plenty of taxis and car hire options. The majority of holiday travellers have airport pick-ups organised with their hotel or resort and there is a pick-up spot right outside the passenger terminals.
Once you're in Johannesburg, you'll find a wealth of sights and visitor attractions to pack into your schedule. Jo'burg - as it's commonly known by the locals - is the largest city in South Africa and has a real mix of architecture. There are modern skyscrapers and posh suburbs, along with smart colonial-style buildings from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. These sit alongside shanty towns such as Soweto and the contrast is often surprising to tourists. However, it's all part of the city's unique appeal and must be experienced. You'll find for that in Soweto there is plenty of atmosphere, great drinking spots and food emporiums to enjoy.
Once you're in Jo'burg, visit the Apartheid Museum and City Gallery, which both have a number of important paintings and sculptures on show from an international array of leading names. The Botanical Gardens are famous and a perfect way to relax and cool off on a hot afternoon. The zoo is also a huge draw. Younger visitors and families will love the Golf Reef City Theme Park and Lesedi Cultural Village is ideal for those with a passion for culture and history.
If shopping is your passion, then the Rosebank and Sandton districts provide luxury boutiques and big designer names. Lovers of luxury also tend to head to Sun City entertainment resort centre and nearby Pretoria, which is the administrative capital of the area and also hosted the 2010 World Cup final.
Don't forget the safaris, of course. Kruger Park is amongst the best places to go and many visitors will fly into Jo'burg simply to experience a safari or travel on to the incredible surrounding countryside, including the wine regions and excellent resorts. The contrast between city and wild countryside is one of the true joys of this intriguing part of the world.
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