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There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Johannesburg each year.
The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

March 21: Human Rights Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the fight against racial segregation and in particular the Sharpeville massacre on this day in 1960, when policemen opened fire on a group of peaceful protesters demonstrating against the regime's “pass laws”, which restricted black South Africans from entering certain areas, killing 69 people and wounding 179 more.

April 27: Freedom Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the day in 1994 that millions of black South Africans were allowed to vote in an election, which chose Nelson Mandela, a former political prisoner, as president.

May 1: Workers' Day (national holiday)

The equivalent of Labour Day elsewhere in the world, this day has been a public holiday in South Africa only since 1994, celebrating in particular the role played by trade unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against the country's apartheid system.

June 16: Youth Day (national holiday)

Honours the memory of the black South African high school students in Soweto township killed by police during protests beginning on this day in 1976.

August 9: National Women's Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the demonstration by some 20,000 black South African women in Pretoria on this day in 1956, to protest the extension of the pass laws to women. Highlights include official ceremonies and parades through the streets of Johannesburg.

September: Arts Alive International Festival (local event)

Held during the month of September each year, this festival offers a wide-ranging programme of performances, lectures, symposia, workshops and exhibitions, featuring both local and international artists and writers. Theatre, poetry, music (jazz, afrobeat, hip hip, reggae and traditional rhythms), dance, film and the visual arts are among the disciplines represented. Most events take place in the Newtown district, home to many museums, galleries, restaurants, theatres, clubs and cafés.

September 24: Heritage Day (national holiday)

On this day, South Africans recognize and celebrate the cultural wealth of their nation, with ceremonies and events remembering the living heritage of the many cultures that make up the population of South Africa. Aspects of living heritage include cultural traditions, oral history, performance, ritual, popular memory, skills and techniques, indigenous knowledge systems and the holistic approach to nature, society and social relationships.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

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Johannesburg has a tropical climate, with temperatures moderated by its high altitude of 1,735 metres (5,751 feet). Summers are warm and temperatures rarely dip below freezing in the winter. Although temperatures are always very comfortable during the day, they can drop significantly after sunset.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 15/59 26/79 125/4.9 Not the best period to go
February 14/57 25/77 90/3.5 Not the best period to go
March 13/55 24/75 91/3.6 Good period to go Good period to go
April 10/50 21/70 54/2.1 Good period to go Good period to go
May 7/45 19/66 13/0.5 Not the best period to go
June 4/39 16/61 9/0.4 Not the best period to go
July 4/39 17/63 4/0.2 Not the best period to go
August 6/43 19/66 6/0.2 Not the best period to go
September 9/48 23/73 23/73 Good period to go Good period to go
October 13/55 24/75 72/4.6 Good period to go Good period to go
November 13/55 24/75 117/4.6 Not the best period to go
December 14/57 25/77 105/4.1 Not the best period to go
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Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport

Johannesburg's O. R. Tambo International Airport is located about 23 kilometres (14 miles) north-east of the city centre.

  • Two terminals:
    • Terminal A (Air France)
    • Terminal B

Getting from the airport to Johannesburg and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via the R24.
    • There are nine main parking areas: two pick-up and drop-off zones (P7 and P8, free for the first 20 minutes, then ZAR 30 per hour); three short-term parking facilities (P1 near Terminal A, P2 and P3 near Terminal B, ZAR 20 for 1 hour and ZAR 30 for 2 hours); and four long-term parking areas (P4, P5, P6 and P9, with rates ranging from ZAR 50 to ZAR 85 for 24 hours).
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the car rental centre in parking area P2.
  • By rail
    • The Gautrain rapid rail link connects the airport with central Johannesburg and other destinations. Trains run daily about every 12 minutes from 5:15 a.m. to 10 p.m. and take less than half an hour to reach all points in Johannesburg. Gautrain's Airport Service line runs to Marlboro and Sandton stations, where passengers can transfer to the North/South line to reach the Rosebank or Park stations. The fare is ZAR 142 to Marlboro or Sandton and ZAR 153 to Rosebank or Park, plus ZAR 14 to purchase the Gautrain Gold Card, the system's rechargeable fare card.
  • By bus
    • The passenger loading area for buses and coaches is opposite the terminals, behind P2 and the Intercontinental Hotel, but buses to the city centre do not run very frequently.
  • By shuttle bus
    • Many hotels run their own shuttle bus services picking up and dropping off guests at the airport, with departures about every 15 minutes. All other accredited shuttle buses are required to display the logo of the airport operator (ACSA, for Airports Company South Africa) on their vehicles. Shuttle buses pick up passengers outside the arrivals area.
  • By taxi
    • Official taxis approved by ACSA are available at the ranks outside the arrivals hall of Terminal A. The trip to the city centre takes about 30 to 40 minutes and costs around ZAR 420.

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Johannesburg covers a very large area and public transport options may often seem ill suited to the needs of tourists. The route of the Gautrain rapid rail system is limited to a handful of stations, so it cannot be used to reach all points of interest. However, the city's bus options include the municipal Metrobus system, the Gautrain feeder buses, and the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Minibus taxis also operate throughout Johannesburg.

By bus

Buses are the most convenient way to discover Johannesburg. The Metrobus system, operated by the city, has a fleet consisting of some 550 single- and double-decker buses, plying 84 different routes across Johannesburg. Most of these routes start and end at the main terminus in Gandhi Square, off Eloff Street in the city centre. Timetables may be obtained at this main terminus, but it should be noted that buses do not always adhere to them. A single ticket costs between ZAR 9.60 and ZAR 24.00, depending on the number of zones crossed.

The Rea Vaya BRT system is a fast way to get from Johannesburg's central business district to Soweto. Its buses use dedicated roads and lanes and only stop at specially designed enclosed and guarded bus shelters. Among the system's inner-city circular routes, C3 is particularly of interest to tourists as it links the Johannesburg Art Gallery with the Old Fort on Constitution Hill, the Origins Centre in Braamfontein, Park Station, Newtown and the Carlton Centre. A single ticket costs between ZAR 5.80 and ZAR 13.30, depending on the distance travelled.

The Gautrain feeder buses also offer a number of useful routes within the city centre. A single ticket costs ZAR 7 if you are using a bus and a train within 1 hour of one another, and ZAR 20 if you are using a bus and not using a train within 1 hour.

By minibus taxi

Many minibus taxis operate in Johannesburg. They can be picked up at ranks or hailed in the street, and will drop you off wherever you wish along their routes. Most of the city's minibus taxis terminate at Park Central Taxi Terminus, where you can find ranks for various numbered routes. This is the most popular mode of transport for locals and is certainly the least expensive. Most minibus taxis have between 14 and 16 seats. Fares start at about ZAR 5 for short rides.

By taxi

There are only a few official taxi ranks in the city, although they also wait outside the large hotels and the main Gautrain stations. It it therefore preferable to book taxis in advance. Expect to pay about ZAR 8 per kilometre travelled.

By car

Renting a car is by far the best way to get around Johannesburg and is particularly useful for reaching destinations not served by the main bus routes. Rental cars are a relatively inexpensive solution. Rates start at about ZAR 200 per day, but remember that petrol costs about ZAR 10 per litre.


  • For security reasons, keep the windows closed and the doors locked at all times.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Johannesburg, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Johannesburg Tourism

Offers sightseeing recommendations, tourist information and brochures.

  • Address: Sandton Library Offices, 4th Floor, Nelson Mandela Square, West Street, Johannesburg
  • Telephone: +27 (0)11 703 5327
  • Website:

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Medical information

Most medical facilities in South Africa offer a good quality of care, but costs are high. Even under emergency circumstances, you may be refused medical care if you are unable to provide a guarantee of payment. It is therefore recommended that you obtain insurance covering health care expenses as well as medical evacuation or repatriation before you leave home.


There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to France.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:


Tap water is safe to drink in Johannesburg.

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Administrative formalities

As a general rule, foreign nationals must be in possession of a visa to enter South Africa. However, South Africa has entered into visa exemption agreements with a number of countries.

To find out if you will need a visa for travel to South Africa, visit the website of the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Zulu phrases that may be useful during your stay in Johannesburg:

Hello / Good morning / Good evening: Sawubona (one person) / Sanibona (several people).

Goodbye: Sala kahle (one person) / Salani kahle (several people).

Yes: Yebo

No: Cha

No, thank you: Ngabonga

Thank you very much: Ngiyabonga kakhulu

I don't understand: Angizwa

Could you repeat that: Phinda futhi?

Please: Ngicela

What time is it: Sikhathi sini?

Excuse me: Uxolo

Airport: Isikhumulo sezindiza

Train station: Isiteshi sezitimela

Taxi: Itekisi

Hotel: Ihhotela

Hospital: Isibhedlela

Bank: Ibhange

Telephone: Ucingo

I'm (…): Ngiyi (…).

I'm looking for (…): Ngifuna (…).

How much is (…): Imalini (…)?

Do you have (…): Unawo (…)?

Where can I find (…): Ngingatholakuphi i (…)?

Where can I buy (…): Ngingathengaphi i (…)?

I'd like (…): Ngithanda i (…).

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Good to know

intl. access code + 27
+ phone number without the 0 (calls to Johannesburg)
-1 : 00
of time difference with


Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Government offices

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
In Johannesburg and throughout South Africa, tipping is not necessarily required, although always appreciated if you are satisfied with the service. It is customary to tip between 10 and 15 percent of the bill in restaurants, bars and cafés. Parking facilities are usually monitored by attendants. The latter often ask if you would like them to keep an eye on your car. If you accept, be sure to leave a few rand as a tip, depending on how long your vehicle has been parked.