Foreign visitors traveling to Johannesburg —affectionately nicknamed Jo’burg or Jozi by its friendly locals— often wonder what sites to see during their stay.
Read our roundup of best places to visit, specially curated for their historical or cultural interest as well as a selection of locations for wildlife and nature lovers.
You will also learn the best time of year to visit, what entry documents you need to visit Johannesburg as well as some expert travel recommendations.
Worthwhile Tourist Attractions in Johannesburg
Since it hosted the World Cup in 2010, many parts of the city have been modernized and repurposed.
Johannesburg is swiftly emerging from its previous reputation as a mere safari stopover into a vibrant city brimming with arts and culture, worth visiting in and of itself.
The public transport system has also been improved, so you can use the new Gautrain trains to get around.
Depending on your preferences, you are sure to enjoy several of these different points of interest in Johannesburg:
Johannesburg Spots for Nature and Wildlife Lovers
Travelers seeking to enjoy the great South African landscapes in and around Joburg should dedicate at least a day of their stay to the following:
- Lion & Safari Park Day Trip
- Pilanesberg National Park Day Trip
- Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens
If you are staying in Johannesburg for several days, make sure to visit Kruger National Park to experience South Africa’s wildlife.
Historical and Cultural Sites in Johannesburg
If you are wondering what to visit in Johannesburg or what it’s best known for, these are the spots you will not want to miss during your stay. Visiting them will give you a great perspective on Johannesburg people, their culture, and their past:
- Constitution Hill
- Gold Reef City
- Market Theatre
- South African National Museum of Military History
- Soweto & the Mandela Museum
- The Apartheid Museum
- The Cradle of Humankind Day Trip
- The Lindfield Victorian House Museum
- Wits Art Museum
Entertainment and Shopping Points of Interest
If you are hungry for entertainment and feel like shopping during your stay, make sure to check out:
- Arts on Main
- Market on Main
- Revolution House
- The Maboneng Precinct
Johannesburg Travel Advice
Keep the following recommendations in mind when to ensure a pleasant stay:
- If you haven’t yet decided on your vacation dates, check out our best time to visit South Africa guide. The best time of year to visit Johannesburg, though, is between May and August
- If you are traveling with minors, you will find out Traveling to South Africa with Children article particularly useful
- Go over the entry and customs regulations for South Africa to avoid hassles at the airport
- Keep in mind that overstaying your South Africa visa has consequences, so make the necessary travel arrangements accordingly
- Stay alert to your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings as you would in any other large city around the world, you will likely find our safety tips for South Africa and travel advice helpful
Johannesburg Entry Documents
Foreign nationals visiting Johannesburg, Cape Town, or other South African cities by air, or land will need to have certain requirements at hand in order to enter the country.
A valid passport is a must for any international traveler visiting Johannesburg. Additionally, you may be asked to present a letter certifying you have received certain vaccinations to enter South Africa.
Whether you are required to apply for a visa to visit South Africa depends on your nationality, the purpose of your travels and the length of your stay.
There are several types of South Africa visas, so make sure to apply for the one that best suits your situation.
Right now, all South Africa visas require a visit to an embassy or consulate in order to be applied for, processed, and granted. However, the South Africa online visa will soon be available. This simplified online system will make it much easier for travelers around the world to visit the nation.
Tourists from Kenya are advised to bookmark our page on the pilot launch of South Africa eVisa for Kenyan citizens and check it regularly. That way, you can be one of the first travelers to apply online through this modern system and avoid the hassle of visiting an embassy or consulate.
Travelers from other countries planning a trip to Johannesburg can keep an eye on the South Africa visa website and check back often for updated information.