Vibrant, ever-changing, multi-faceted Johannesburg flings contrasts at you from every angle. Trees line streets where houses hide their manicured gardens and pristine blue swimming pools behind high white walls, miles of shacks tell of the effects of the apartheid years – still to be overcome. The air of Africa’s most dynamic city vibrates with music and buzzes with business while its stylish restaurants, elegant shops, art galleries and theatres delight the international visitor.
Cosmopolitan Johannesburg (also known as Jo’burg or Jozi) sprawls for miles, sprouting upper-income suburbs like satellite towns – one of them, sophisticated Sandton, is the business and economic capital of South Africa. Soweto, home to most of Johannesburg’s black population, lies to the southwest, a 20 square km conglomeration of townships with homes that range from millionaire mansions and neat middle-income housing to the tin shacks of squatter camps.
The city built on gold has seen its landmark yellow mine dumps recycled and replaced by skyrise buildings and glitzy shopping malls, and its recent apartheid history remembered in superb new museums. Soaring chrome and glass buildings, housing opulent international hotels and corporate giants, pepper the leafy streets of a string of exclusive northern suburbs – among them, rich Rosebank, elite Sandhurst, bohemian Melrose Village and foody Greenside. Across a canopy of green, the horizon is spiked by the outline of downtown Johannesburg, slowly stirring from its no-go dilapidation. Six-lane highways and swirling freeways indicate the importance of the car.Read More