Johannesburg has been stepping out of Cape Town’s shadow in recent years, buoyed by its thriving creative scene and irrepressible energy. Despite its population density, it’s one of the greenest cities in the world, with an urban forest of millions of trees situated right in the middle of South Africa’s largest city.

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The subtropical climate here means that travelers can expect plenty of sunshine all year long. During the summer, from November to March, the city receives about 80 percent of its annual rainfall, while the rest of the year from April to October tends to be dry and slightly cooler.


Visas: Travelers from the United States do not need a visa to enter South Africa for up to 90 days. Be sure to bring a passport with at least six months validity.
Money: The South African rand is the currency here and ATMs are reasonably accessible. Note that pickpockets are a problem, especially in crowded areas, and it’s advisable to carry only the minimum amount of cash necessary at any given moment.
Travel Health: Check with the South African Ministry of Tourism for the latest health and safety information, including travel protocols and requirements like negative COVID-19 tests, quarantines, mask mandates, and more in connection with COVID-19. Before traveling, research and prepare for what to do if you get sick while away.


Getting Here: Most airlines fly directly into O.R. Tambo International Airport, while Lanseria Airport caters mostly to budget and regional airlines.
Getting Around: After landing, the Gautrain is a modern, efficient suburban rail transit system. Many travelers opt to rent cars, but if you choose to use taxis, look for the official yellow “TAXI” signs on top to ensure that you’re stepping into a licensed, metered cab. Uber and other ridesharing services have been building up a presence here, but safety is sometimes an issue, especially if ordering a car near the airport, Park Station, or other touristic areas.


Local Lingo: Although English is widely spoken and the accepted lingua franca here, South Africa actually has 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, Zulu, and Xhosa. A few words you may hear a lot are “lekker,” which is the Afrikaans equivalent of “awesome” and can be used in a million and one ways.
Must-Have Apps: Flapp Travel AppVoiceMapGautrain
Insider Tip: Jo-burg is covered in eye-popping street art, but nowhere has a higher concentration of incredible murals than Maboneng Precinct, a former warehouse district transformed into a living gallery.