Fast Facts

About Johannesburg

Johannesburg, South Africa's biggest city and capital of Gauteng province, began as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement. Its sprawling Soweto township was once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Mandela’s former residence is now the Mandela House museum. Other Soweto museums that recount the struggle to end segregation include the somber Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, a former prison complex.

Climate

In Johannesburg, the summers are long, warm, and partly cloudy and the winters are short, cold, dry, and clear. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 2.22°C to 25.56°C and is rarely below -1.11°C or above 29.44°C.

During the week of the QS SSS seminar, below is the weather forecast.

Visa Requirements
For more information on visa issues, please CLICK HERE.
Custom Clearance

Passengers are only permitted to bring certain items, such as liquids, gels, pastes, lotions, creams and drinks past the security checkpoint if they are in containers with a capacity of 100ml or less. All the containers must be carried in a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag. Exemptions are made for medications, baby food and special dietary requirements. Other items considered dangerous, such as aerosols, potential weapons and flammable materials, are also not permitted past this point. You should check the customs regulations of your destination country before departure too.

Public Transport

The city’s new public-transport infrastructure, such as the Gautrain rapid-rail and Rea Vaya bus service, are relatively safe, efficient and easy to navigate. The Gautrain is most useful for getting between Sandton, Rosebank and Park Station and its network of feeder buses puts some of the suburbs, and particularly Monetcasino, within easier reach for non-motorists. The other great selling point of the Gautrain is its quick link to O.R.Tambo airport - just 15 minutes flat from Sandton station. The Rea Vaya bus is a steadily developing network of buses which links the inner-city with Soweto and western suburbs such as Aukland Park. With a circular route through the city it is a particularly useful mode of transport for those who want to explore the City Centre without a car.

For visitors who are more adventurous can brave the infamous minibus taxi network. However, it is still recommended to look up the confusing taxi hand signals beforehand. Metered taxis and tuktuks provide additional transport options for those without their own wheels.

Metered Taxis

Metered taxis in Johannesburg are expensive but essential if you are planning to stay out late. As it is inconvenient to hail for a taxi along the streets, we would highly recommend for you to call and book for a taxi in advance.

For taxis that do not have meters, visitors are advised to negotiate and agree on a price before hopping onto your ride. Expect to pay approximately R150 for a ride from Sandton City to Parkhurst or Greenside.

Visitors who are keen on securing your rides in advance can either drop a call to the following taxi services or visit their websites for more information:

For metered taxis try:
ORANGE CABS: Tel. 0861 700 222; www.orangecab.co.za 
QUICK CAB: Tel. 0861 665 566; www.myquickcab.co.za
ZEBRA CABS: Tel. 0861 105 105;  www.zebracabs.co.za

Religion

In Johannesburg, 53 percent of the population are affiliated with mainstream Christians churches while 14 percent are members of the African Independent Churches, and 24 percent are not affiliated with any religious parties. The remaining 5 percent of the population belongs to the Muslim, Jewish and Hindu community.

Language

There is a total of are 11 official languages in South Africa. However, English and Afrikaans are still the more commonly used languages within the city of Johannesburg.

Fun Fact: Afrikaans is similar to Dutch and Flemish.
Time
Johannesburg local time is GMT + 2 hours.
Currency & Credit Cards

The South African currency is RANDS and is issued in notes and coins.

One hundred cents (c) = One Rand (R)

Banking Hours are:
9am to 3:30pm (Monday – Friday)
9am to 11am (Saturday)
Closed on Sunday and Public Holidays

ATM's (Automatic Bank Teller's) with a set daily limit for cash withdrawals are available in the city of Johannesburg. In the case of an emergency, a 24-hour emergency telephone number is also displayed at all ATM's. Precautions should be taken when using the ATM's. Visitors are advised to avoid making cash withdrawals alone or during the wee hours especially at deserted ATM's and not to accept unsolicited offers of assistance.

In addition, visitors can visit any commercial bank within the city for the exchange of traveller's cheques and major foreign currencies. Most hotels and shops accept traveller’s cheques and major foreign currencies. However, do expect surcharge payments for the mentioned services. Foreign Exchange Bureau are also available at the Johannesburg International Airport.  

International Credit Cards are widely accepted and are electronically validated. Credit cards accepted include American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. In most instances, informal traders do not accept credit cards and they cannot be used to purchase petrol (gasoline) or oil. A separate petrol card is typically issued by most banks.

Electricity

Tourists visiting South Africa should note that the electrical supply within the country is between 220 and 230 volts (50 Hz). Also, most electrical plugs are of 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins.

Tax and Tipping

Tipping in restaurants is practiced mainly in the larger towns and is customarily kept at 10% of the total bill. Many restaurants will add a 10% service charge to the bill if there are more than six guests. This amount is VATable. A VAT will still be included at a standard rate on top of any service charge that is included in a hotel or restaurant bill, levied by the accommodation establishment.

Dress Code

Travellers visiting the country during the summer season are recommended to pack light (shorts, dresses, light trousers, T shirts and sandals) and to prepare an umbrella for summer thunder showers. You may experience a fall in temperature in the evening, hence visitors are advised to bring along a sweater or light jacket as well.

Healthcare

Hospitals often expect to receive immediate payment through cash or credit cards. Visitors are advised to consult a reputable insurance provider to inquire about suitable international health insurance.

There are numerous public hospitals in Johannesburg, which are usually reasonably equipped and staffed, but often crowded and medical standards are not as good as most private hospitals. For private healthcare, the biggest private health provider is Netcare and Medi-clinic while Netcare Sunninghill Hospital and Millpark Hospital are some of the private hospitals with a 24-hour accident and emergency services.

Visiting a general practitioner can cost approximately R300 and medical insurance can cost approximately R1,000 monthly (USD$130).

Security and Emergency Numbers
  • Dial the telephone number 10111 from anywhere in South Africa. A call centre operator will answer the incoming call, take all necessary particulars and assign the complaint to a Flying Squad patrol vehicle, or the local police station, to attend the incident.

  • 011 37 55 911 - City of Johannesburg Emergency Connect

  •  A 24-hour emergency services relating to all-life threatening situations, including ambulances, fire engines and metro police.

WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY

  • Contact the emergency number
  • Try to remain calm
  • Identify the emergency: motor accident, building fire, heart attack and so on
  • Give your name and contact details
  • State the nature of the incident
  • Indicate the number of people or vehicles involved
  • Give the physical address and nearest corner or landmark
  • Remain on the line as long as possible to answer the operator's questions