Ever since the great gold rush of 1886 in the
Witwatersrand, Gauteng has been South Africa's foremost industrial
centre. Gauteng houses one of the world's great cities - energetic,
inventive, endlessly creative, sybaritic, vibrant Johannesburg.
Jo'burg, Jozi, Egoli - call it what you will - it's vibrant
and dynamic with a throbbing pulse and an awesome sense of rhythm.
It's the place to go for a real urban buzz. Everyone is on the
move - doing business, making money, making music, jogging,
"gymming", cycling, partying till late, eating out,
watching shows, movies and exhibitions - and shopping, shopping,
There are interesting nightlife venues in the
centre of Johannesburg, which offer restaurants, theatres, museums,
craft markets and much more.
The northern suburbs radiate a sense of opulence and prosperity.
The many shopping malls carry a vast range of high quality consumer
goods, including many luxuries, and the hundreds of restaurants
and coffee shops offer a wide range of fashionable cuisines.
Click on a Johannsburg
suburb below, to find accommodation in Johannesburg:
Johannesburg is located in the eastern plateau area of South
Africa, known as the Highveld, at an elevation of 1753 metres.
The city is located on a small ridge called the Witwatersrand
(White Water's Ridge: Afrikaans) and the city's northern and
western suburbs have undulating hills, while the eastern metro
area is generally flat.
Johannesburg enjoys a dry, sunny climate with the exception
of occasional late afternoon downpours in the summer months
of October to April. Temperatures in Johannesburg are usually
fairly mild thanks to the city's high altitude, with the average
maximum daytime temperature in January of 26ºC, dropping
to an average maximum of around 16°C in June. During the
winter, the temperature occasionally drops to below freezing
at nigh time, causing frost. Snow is a rare occurrence, although
the city experienced snowfall in August 2006). The annual
average rainfall is 713mm, which is mostly concentrated in
the summer months.
Despite the relatively dry climate, Johannesburg contains
about six million trees, and it is often claimed that the
city has the largest man-made forest in the world. Many trees
were originally planted in the northern areas of the city
at the end of the 19th century, to provide wood for the mining
industry. The areas were developed by a German immigrant,
who called the forest estates Sachsenwald. The name was changed
to Saxonwold, now the name of a suburb, during World War I.
White residents who moved into the areas, now generally referred
to as the Northern Suburbs, retained many of the original
trees and planted new ones, with the encouragement of successive
city councils. In recent years, however, a considerable number
of trees have been felled, to make way for the Johannesburg’s
Northern Suburbs' speedy residential and commercial redevelopment.
Johannesburg is therefore at risk of losing its forest coverage
within a few decades.
Johannesburg is the economic and financial hub of South
Africa, producing 16 % of South Africa's gross domestic product,
and accounts for 40 % of Gauteng's economic activity. Mining
is the foundation of the Witwatersrand's economy, but its
importance is gradually declining. While gold mining no longer
takes place within the city limits, most mining companies
have their headquarters in Johannesburg. The city has a great
variety of manufacturing industries, including steel and cement
plants. Many banking and commercial companies are also located
in Johannesburg. Johannesburg has Africa's largest stock exchange,
the JSE Securities Exchange. Due to its commercial importance,
Johannesburg is the site of a number of government branch
offices, as well as consular offices and other institutions
that are usually found only in capital cities. There is also
a very large informal economy consisting of cash-only street
traders and vendors which are largely missed in official statistics.
The Witwatersrand urban complex is a major consumer of water
in a dry region. It is continued economic and population growth
has depended on schemes to divert water from other regions
of South Africa and from the highlands of Lesotho, but additional
sources will be needed early in the 21st century.
The container terminal at City Deep is purported to be the
largest "dry port" in the world, with some 60 %
of cargo that arrives through the port of Durban arriving
in Johannesburg. The City Deep area has been declared an IDZ
(industrial development zone) by the Gauteng government, as
part of the Blue IQ Project.
Johannesburg's largest and most prestigious shopping centres
are Sandton City and Hyde Park respectively. Other centers
include Rosebank, Eastgate, Westgate, Northgate, Southgate,
and Cresta. There are also plans to build an extremely large
shopping centre, known as the Zonk'Izizwe Shopping Resort,
in Midrand. "Zonk'Izizwe" means "All Nations"
in isiZulu, indicating that the centre will cater to the city's
diverse mix of peoples and races.