Johannesburg Airport, or rather, O.R. Tambo International Airport, is South Africa’s chief airport. The airport had undergone several name changes, from Jan Smuts International to Johannesburg in 1994, and then to O.R. Tambo International in 2006, after former African National Congressman, President Oliver Tambo. Many carriers like South African Airways, Emirates, Qatar, British Airways and more serve the airport, operating routes to various destinations across the globe.
The airport is about 21 kilometres from downtown Johannesburg, and there are several ways to get there. Transport options include commuting on the rapid rail network, boarding a shuttle bus, hiring a metered taxi or renting a car to the city centre. Take the Gautrain, which takes passengers to Sandton, where they can catch another train to Johannesburg. Alternatively, utilise the hotel-provided shuttle bus services to reach the downtown area. Minibus services to certain parts of the city are also at your disposal. A comparatively more expensive way to travel is on metered taxis, but these are the quickest and most convenient way to get to your destinations. Queue for a yellow cab at the taxi ranks just outside the arrivals area, and avoid unlicensed taxis that overcharge for their services.
Within Johannesburg, travellers are advised to get around by car. Use a GPS, available when renting the car, to reach your destinations. Or else, do it the “old-school” way and grab a road map to guide you around the area. Compared to roads, the public transport system is not as developed. It is difficult to commute by public transport on weekends and public holidays, as services are limited or ceased during those periods. Another option is taxi; do keep several reliable taxi contacts to prevent getting stranded in secluded parts of the city.
What to See & Do
Understand more about Johannesburg by visiting the city’s history museums. The Apartheid Museum documents the harrowing apartheid era, where racial segregation in South Africa was enforced through legislation. Apartheid literally means “the state of being apart”. Discover more about this dark period from the educational films and detailed exhibits in the museum.
Visit Constitution Hill, another place of interest that recounts the story of South Africa’s turbulent past and its amazing transition to democracy. The landmark previously served as a prison. Take a sobering tour around the men’s jail and solitary confinement rooms, and explore the constitutional courthouse. There is a lot to learn about the country’s colourful past in Constitution Hill.
Another popular attraction in Johannesburg is the Satyagraha House. Mahatma Gandhi resided in this house about a hundred years ago. Presently, the Satyagraha House is both a museum and guesthouse, open for viewing (and for visitors to stay). Walk in Gandhi’s footsteps, and experience his great legacy and way of life. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere where he once lived – the Satyagraha House is considered a tranquil oasis in the midst of bustling Johannesburg. This unique experience is not to be missed!
Book a flight to Johannesburg today, a city steeped in history.
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