The City that Gold built
Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa is the Provincial Capital of Gauteng. This unique city is often referred to as Jozi, Jo’burg, Egoli or City of Gold as it is home to some of the worlds’ richest gold fields.
Johannesburg is also the wealthiest city and economic powerhouse in Africa. It is for this reason that many visitors come to Jozi as it is seen as a multi-cultural mix of people in a booming, happening and trendy city. Sandton has become the new hub of the city, after businesses transferred from the city centre, and it is here in this leafy green suburb you will find the famous malls and social gatherings.
The cultural district of Newtown on the outskirts of the city centre is livelier than ever with theatres, art galleries, museums and jazz clubs and well worth a night out. Jo’burg is a friendly city, unstuffy and the locals are happy to meet tourists, but do be aware of the crime in the popular tourist areas.
A city with much to see, plus the work famous Sun City is just around the corner for an extended stay while visiting the country.
Things to do and see:
Tourists can find every type of accommodation, from luxury internationally renowned hotels to backpackers and camping, in the city and surrounding suburbs.
Johannesburg experiences its rainfall in the summer months, with December and January seeing the highest levels.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 12˚C and 26˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 3˚C and 19˚C.
There are Domestic and International flights into Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and Lanseria International Airport on a daily basis. Bus services, the Gautrain, taxis and car rental companies are available for easy access around the area.
February – Jozi Film Festival: Showcasing the latest films made by International and South African Film Makers.
August – Good Food & Wine Show: an event for foodies, including celebrity chefs.
September – Jo'burg Art Fair: The best in contemporary African Art and design.
September –Joy of Jazz Festival: Over 50 international and local jazz artists on display.
September – Taste of Joburg: Joburg’s top restaurants join together to serve their signature dishes.
October – Jo'burg’s Motor Show: Southern Africa’s largest international automotive event.
More festivals can be attended in the surrounding areas of Johannesburg, including Pretoria.
Johannesburg history goes back 1000 years when it was inhabited by hunter-gather type people, but most only find it interesting from 1886, the discovery of gold.
Gold was discovered in Johannesburg in 1886 and the town moved from a tent and iron shack town to a brick and mortar city within a decade or two.
A lot of history has happened in the area, interesting and complex so a convenient point at which to begin an exploration of Johannesburg is the George Harrison Park, 5 km west of the city. This is the spot where, on an unrecorded day in March 1886, a prospector named George Harrison casually panned a sample of strange-looking rock. He left no description of his emotions as he washed away the mud and revealed the most fabulous tail of gold ever seen in any prospector's pan. He had stumbled across the only surface outcrop of the main gold-bearing reef of the Witwatersrand.
Harrison pegged the first claim on the reef, later sold it for 10 British Pounds and vanished without trace - nothing is known of what became of him. But his report to the government on his discovery led to the greatest rush of fortune-seekers the world has ever known.
The mighty gold-mining industry of the Witwatersrand and the complex city of Johannesburg mushroomed around the site of this first discovery, but Harrison is commemorated only by this park and one street named after him. The city itself is named after two civil service officials who happened to be called Johannes.
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