Johannesburg has a reputation for being dangerous, but there’s an edgy pulse, openness and energy that sets it apart from other South African cities. Locals are fiercely proud of their home town and are very often welcoming, and quick to make friends. This huge, sprawling metropolis can be intimidating, and one should definitely take precautions when visiting, but if you want to experience a truly African city at full pace, then Johannesburg is the place to be.
Don’t miss a visit to the Apartheid Museum for a fascinating and disturbing portrayal of South Africa’s recent history. Take an inner-city walking tour, and visit the vibrant downtown Maboneng Precinct, for its art galleries, local designer stores, restaurants, and bars. There are excellent bars and restaurants all over Johannesburg, with a wide variety of authentic cuisine brought in by immigrants from all over Africa and the world. To the west of the city centre, Soweto’s Hector Pieterson Museum and Nelson Mandela’s House are both excellent, and from there you can have a braai with the locals on the famous Vilakazi Street. Despite being somewhat touristy, there’s a friendly atmosphere and you’ll find some good deals on souvenirs, African fabrics, and clothing.
Spend a few days in Johannesburg and remember to take precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times and avoid carrying or leaving expensive items in the open. Don’t walk anywhere at night and be generally vigilant, but also don’t be too put off – Johannesburg is not a war zone. Remember that millions of people conduct their normal daily lives here, but that there is also widespread poverty and a very real problem with crime. We have compiled a South Africa safety guide with tips for staying safe in major South African cities. If you would like to inquire about our car rental options, one of our consultants will readily assist with any questions you may have.