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

Much of the city’s new public-transport infrastructure, such as the Gautrain rapid-rail and Rea Vaya bus service, is safe, efficient and relatively 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.

More adventurous visitors will find they can get almost anywhere if they are willing to brave the infamous minibus taxi network, although it helps to swot up on the confusing taxi hand signals beforehand. Metered taxis and tuk tuks provide additional transport options for those without their own wheels.

Metered Taxis

Metered taxis in Johannesburg are expensive but essential if you plan a wild night out. Except for outside hotels, there are very few places where you can hail a taxi in the street. It is best to call and book in advance. Many taxis do not use meters, so arrange a price at the start of your trip. From Sandton City to Parkhurst or Greenside, expect to pay around R150.

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

Regarding religion, 53 percent belong to mainstream Christian churches, 24 percent are not affiliated with any organized religion, 14 percent are members of African Independent Churches, three percent are Muslim, one percent are Jewish and one percent are Hindu

Language

There are 11 official languages in South Africa, all of which are spoken in Johannesburg. By far the most widely spread languages, however, are English and Afrikaans, and English is understood just about anywhere.

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) are available which have a set daily limit for cash withdrawals. A 24-hour emergency telephone number is displayed at all ATM's. Precautions should be taken when using the ATM's. These include avoiding making cash withdrawals alone or after hours especially at deserted ATM's, and do not accept unsolicited offers of assistance.

All commercial banks will exchange traveller's cheques and major foreign currencies.  Most Hotels and shops accept travellers cheques and some foreign currency. For this facility a commission is chargeable which can vary. Foreign Exchange Bureau's are also available in the Johannesburg International Airport.  

International Credit Cards are widely accepted by most businesses 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 issued by most banks.

Electricity

Tourists to South Africa should be aware that: The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 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 shown on the bill. Many restaurants will add a 10% service charge to a bill if the number of guests exceeds six. This amount is VATable. Any service charge included in a hotel or restaurant bill which is levied by the accommodation establishment itself, will attract VAT at the standard rate in the normal manner, regardless of whether any amount is later passed on to the establishment’s employees or not.

Dress Code

During summer, take light, summer clothes (shorts, dresses, light trousers, T shirts and sandals) and an umbrella for summer thunder showers. The evenings can be cooler so bring a sweater or light jacket along.

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