Johannesburg is the capital of the Gauteng Province in South Africa, and despite the fact that it is not one of the executive, legislative or judicial capitals of the country it is undoubtedly South Africa's economic powerhouse.
Sitting on a plateau in the north-eastern part of the country, Johannesburg is unusual for major African cities in that it does not have access to a shoreline or a river. Johannesburg has the biggest population of any South African city, and one of the largest metropolitan perimeters of any city in the world, incorporating districts like Soweto and West Rand.
African settlers moving south were the earliest inhabitants to lay claim to the Johannesburg area, and later on the Dutch merchants and the Gold Rush would give the city newfound economic importance, resulting in conflicts like the Boer War.
Due to Johannesburg's economic importance, the city has high rise and modern architecture. Hillbrow has a particular concentration of skyscrapers and towers. The Sentech Tower and the Hillbrow Tower dominate the skyline. Johannesburg is very well connected, in big part due to Africa's first high speed railway service, Gautrain.
Nelson Mandela Square is both a tribute to Mandela and one of the most affluent parts of the city, with a shopping mall, restaurants and bars scattered around the square. Johannesburg_Nelson Mandela Bridge This area of town is known as Sandton, and it is here that you will find places like the Montecasino which incorporates a mall, a hotel and a casino. Sandton Convention Centre illustrates Johannesburg's importance as a major economic zone.
Soweto or the South Western Townships are a marked contrast from the high-rise glass fronted buildings of the city centre, and it is here that you will find the likes of Lion Park.Johannesburg is a popular base for anyone wishing to take part in a safari. Travelling into the wider Gauteng area and Pretoria in particular, places like the Rietvlei Nature Reserve showcase aspects of the incredible wildlife that South Africa is renowned for.
Johannesburg is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse cities in the world with IsiZulu, Afrikaans and English representing the major languages amongst an array of others.
Last updated: 14 March 2014