City Guide: Johannesburg

Johannesburg is located in South Africa and is a city I do not wish to return ever. To make it short, I detested this ugly, dirty city. All I wanted was to hide in the hotel and not leave it despite for the airport. But step by step, here’s why I hated Johannesburg.

First of all, all major business seems to take place in Sandton, kind of a separate city in the North of Johannesburg. Per se, this is nothing bad – it seems a bit safer, all good hotels are there and it does not look dirty there. On the other side, the earned money never seems to leave Sandton.

Arriving by Gautrain

Gautrain is a new metro project of Johannesburg. From our hotel, it took us a bit to arrive at Johannesburg Park Station.

Gautrain Park Station Johannesburg

Gautrain Park Station Johannesburg

Gautrain Park Station Johannesburg

The stations itself are secured by guards. However, as soon as we left the underground, we were begged for food or money at least three times on our way to the bus station.

Hop On – Hop Off in Joburg

The only company offering this service is CitySightseeing. We took the bus because we weren’t too sure about strolling around with the camera and it was not recommended to use public transportation as a tourist.

Gandhi Square Johannesburg

Mahatma Gandhi is a name everyone knows. But did you know that Gandhi spent some time in his 20s in South Africa?

Gandhi Square Johannesburg

Gandhi Square Johannesburg

As he was even there a political activist and pacifist, a square in the business district got named after him.

Carlton Centre Johannesburg

When the Carlton Centre was built in 1973, it was the highest building in the Southern hemisphere.

Carlton Hotel Johannesburg

The Carlton Hotel nearby was once one of the best and most famous hotels in the city. Nowadays, both are run down.

James Hall Transport Museum

The James Hall Transport Museum is the biggest transport museum in South Africa. In particular, it shows 400 years of development in South Africa regarding the transport and system.

Turffontein Race Course

When exploring Johannesburg with CitySightseeing Johannesburg, you will drive by Turffontein Racecourse.

Turffontein Race Course Johannesburg

This is nothing too special, but I figured it just interesting to catch a look at.

Gold Reef City Casino & Theme Park

Gold Reef City Casino & Theme Park is a huge shiny world itself in Johannesburg.

Casino Hotel Johannesburg

Next to the theme park, there is a hotel where you can stay.

Apartheid Museum Johannesburg

“Apartheid is exactly where it belongs – in a museum” That’s what can be found on the flyers of the Apartheid Museum.

Apartheid Museum Johannesburg

To be honest, this was the only thing I liked about Johannesburg. The museum itself is very interesting and illuminates different aspects and developments of South Africa’s past, including Nelson Mandela, for sure.

Skyline and a hell lot of damn ugly buildings

When driving back as the Apartheid museum is a bit outside the city, you can see the skyline of Johannesburg.

Skyline Johannesburg

Which is impressive as a whole, but when driving through the city itself, I didn’t find a single corner I enjoyed except for Braamfontein.

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Johannesburg is dirty was a quote from a lady who lives there but doesn’t really want to. Which is totally true.

Braamfontein Johannesburg

When seeing Braamfontein, I felt like this was the only colorful and lively spot in the whole city of Johannesburg.

Braamfontein Johannesburg

However, this is not a hip youth center, but more a business district as it turned out the past few years. Whether it is that colorful from the inside as well?

Constitution Hill Johannesburg

Last stop was the Constitution Hill Johannesburg, which is the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Constitution Hill Johannesburg 2

Moreover, it reminds of a moving past of a righteous constitution. The flame of democracy is a good example for that and really something you shouldn’t miss.

Flame of Democracy Johannesburg

Moreover, the Old Fort is worth seeing, but apart from that, there is nothing with which you could spend your time.

Having that said, Johannesburg was a real shock of a city to me. Ugly, dirty buildings and the very obvious poorness of the inhabitants shocked me to the utmost. I mean we don’t speak about a small suburb, but about a city with about a million inhabitants! Due to the Constitution Hill and the Apartheid Museum, it wasn’t all bad, but I don’t wish to return to the city at all.


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5 Comments on “City Guide: Johannesburg”

  1. I live just outside Johannesburg, near the airport to be exact. I dont think i have ever taken a “tour” of the city, whenever we drive through, we even feel uncomfortable. South Africa has beautiful places to offer, but Joburg city is not one of them.

  2. Pingback: Looking Back | travelux

  3. I’ve been to Jo’burg in 2005; I had an impression of a dirty and poverty stricken city. I didn’t feel safe there; I was advised to remove all jewellery before going out.

    • When hearing that, I guess nothing has changed in a positive way till today. We were out with the DSLR, but just took the sightseeing bus and tried to avoid getting out of it…

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