Johannesburg Holidays

Despite lacking the glamour and beauty of Cape Town, Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city and offers an interesting insight into the country’s history and culture.

Johannesburg and surrounds

Most visitors tend to use Johannesburg simply as a stopover on their way in or out of the country, but for those who want to gain an all-encompassing view of South Africa, a night here should not be seen as an inconvenience. A vast regeneration project has been undertaken in recent years, initially in preparation for hosting the 2010 Football World Cup, but the work has continued since. Nowhere is this renaissance more prominent than in the buzzy Melrose Arch area, which is home to a plethora of sophisticated hotels, bars, and restaurants. For artistic wares from local designers and delightful foodie treats, head to the Neighbourgoods Market held in Braamfontein, which has transformed from a dilapidated district to a cutting-edge creative hub.

We highly recommend making time to visit the Apartheid Museum, which offers a visionary exploration of South Africa’s troubled past, displayed in one of the most engaging ways possible. Thought-provoking personal accounts, film footage, and numerous artefacts all help tell the story of the country’s gruelling historical regime. A day spent in the township of Soweto is also very interesting and a great way to immerse yourself in local culture – nowhere highlights more explicitly the transformation from apartheid-era atrocities to modern-day South African entrepreneurialism.

If you have a little longer, it’s worth making the journey to Pretoria, which is only a short distance from Johannesburg, but with its genteel feel, it couldn’t be further from its brasher neighbour. The city is at its best in the spring months, when its streets are wrapped in a mauve blanket as thousands of jacaranda trees blossom. For many, the main reason to visit Pretoria is that the city’s station welcomes both the Blue Train and Rovos Rail.

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Fly from London to Johannesburg with Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic run a daily flight from London Heathrow to Johannesburg. Find out more about Virgin Atlantic.

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