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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Johannesburg

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Johannesburg each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

March 21: Human Rights Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the fight against racial segregation and in particular the Sharpeville massacre on this day in 1960, when policemen opened fire on a group of peaceful protesters demonstrating against the regime's “pass laws”, which restricted black South Africans from entering certain areas.

April 27: Freedom Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the day in 1994 that millions of black South Africans were allowed to vote in an election and the Constitution that followed thereafter.

May 1: Workers' Day (national holiday)

The equivalent of Labour Day elsewhere in the world, this day has been a public holiday in South Africa only since 1994, celebrating in particular the role played by trade unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against the country's apartheid system.

June 16: Youth Day (national holiday)

Honours the memory of the black South African high school students in Soweto township killed by police during protests beginning on this day in 1976.

August 9: National Women's Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the demonstration by some 20,000 black South African women in Pretoria on this day in 1956, to protest the extension of the pass laws to women. Highlights include official ceremonies and parades through the streets of Johannesburg.

September 1-25: Arts Alive International Festival (local event)

Held during the month of September each year, this festival offers a wide-ranging programme of theatre, poetry, music (jazz, afrobeat, hip hip, reggae and traditional rhythms), dance, film and the visual arts are among the disciplines represented. Most events take place in the Newtown district, home to many museums, galleries, restaurants, theatres, clubs and cafés.

September 24: Heritage Day (national holiday)

On this day, South Africans recognize and celebrate the cultural wealth of their nation, with ceremonies and events remembering the living heritage of the many cultures that make up the population of South Africa. Aspects of living heritage include singing, dancing and concerts.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Johannesburg

Johannesburg has a tropical climate, with temperatures moderated by its high altitude of 1,735 metres (5,751 feet). Summers are warm and temperatures rarely dip below freezing in the winter. Although temperatures are always very comfortable during the day, they can drop significantly after sunset.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 15/59 26/79 125/4.9 Not the best period to go
February 14/57 25/77 90/3.5 Not the best period to go
March 13/55 24/75 91/3.6 Good period to go Good period to go
April 10/50 21/70 54/2.1 Good period to go Good period to go
May 7/45 19/66 13/0.5 Not the best period to go
June 4/39 16/61 9/0.4 Not the best period to go
July 4/39 17/63 4/0.2 Not the best period to go
August 6/43 19/66 6/0.2 Not the best period to go
September 9/48 23/73 23/73 Good period to go Good period to go
October 13/55 24/75 72/4.6 Good period to go Good period to go
November 13/55 24/75 117/4.6 Not the best period to go
December 14/57 25/77 105/4.1 Not the best period to go
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Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport

The Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport is located about 23 kilometres (14 miles) north-east of the city centre.

  • Two terminals:
    • Terminal A (Air France)
    • Terminal B

Getting from the airport to Johannesburg and back:
  • By car
    • Accessible via the R24.
    • There are nine main parking areas:
      two pick-up and drop-off zones (free for the first 20 minutes, then ZAR 30 per hour);
      three short-term parking facilities (ZAR 10 for 1 hour); four long-term parking areas (rates starting from ZAR 50 for 24 hours).
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the car rental centre located in Terminal B.
  • By bus
    • A bus line connects the airport to the city centre. The fare costs ZAR 100
  • By rail
    • The Gautrain rapid rail link connects the airport with central Johannesburg and other destinations. The fare is ZAR 151 to 174, depending on the stop
  • By shuttle bus
    • ACSA (Airports Company South Africa) shuttles leave every 15 minutes from the train station, located next to the airport. ZAR 100 for a one-way ticket.
  • By taxi
    • Official taxis approved by ACSA are available at the ranks outside the arrivals hall of Terminal A. The trip to the city centre takes about 30 to 40 minutes and costs around ZAR 420.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, free Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: +27 (0)11 921 6911
  • Website: http://www.johannesburg-airport.com

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GETTING AROUND Johannesburg

Johannesburg covers a very large area and public transport options may often seem ill suited to the needs of tourists. The main options consist in a bus and mini-bus network. Renting a car is recommended to discover the area.

By bus

Buses are the most convenient way to discover Johannesburg. The Metrobus system, operated by the city, has a fleet consisting of some 550 buses, plying more than a hundred different routes across Johannesburg. Most of these routes start and end at the main terminus in Gandhi Square in the city centre. Timetables may be obtained at this main terminus, but it should be noted that buses do not always adhere to them. A single ticket costs between ZAR 10.00 and ZAR 25.00, depending on the number of zones crossed.

By minibus taxi

Many minibus taxis operate in Johannesburg. They can be picked up at ranks or hailed in the street, and will drop you off wherever you wish along their routes, but rarely are on time. This remains the most popular mode of transport for locals and is certainly the least expensive. Most minibus taxis have between 14 and 16 seats. Fares start at about ZAR 5 for short rides.

By taxi

There are only a few official taxi ranks in the city. It it therefore preferable to book taxis in advance. Expect to pay about ZAR 8 per kilometre travelled and ZAR 22 for pick-up.

By car

Renting a car is by far the best way to get around Johannesburg and is particularly useful for reaching destinations not served by the main bus routes. Rental cars are a relatively inexpensive solution. Rates start at about ZAR 200 per day, but remember that petrol costs about ZAR 10 per litre.

Important:

  • For security reasons, keep the windows closed and the doors locked at all times.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Johannesburg, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Johannesburg Tourism Company Head Office

Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

  • Address: 66 Jorissen Street - Jorissen Place - Braamfontein 2001
  • Telephone: +27 (0)11 703 5327
  • Website: www.joburgtourism.com

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in South Africa is the Rand (ZAR).

1 EUR = 17,06 ZAR

1 ZAR = 0,06 EUR

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel. It is recommended that you obtain insurance covering health care expenses as well as medical evacuation or repatriation before you leave home. Johannesburg counts several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to South Africa. However, the following vaccines are recommended:

  • booster doses for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio
  • typhoid, hepatitis A and B, rabies (depending on the length of your stay)
  • Address: 38, Quai de Jemmapes 75010 Paris
  • Website: www.vaccinations-airfrance.fr
  • Telephone: +33 (0)1 43 17 22 00
  • To make a vaccination appointment:
    • online (click here)
    • call the centre at +33 (0)1 43 17 22 00

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Johannesburg.

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Administrative formalities

As a general rule, foreign nationals must be in possession of a visa to enter South Africa. However, South Africa has entered into visa exemption agreements with a number of countries.

To find out if you will need a visa for travel to South Africa, visit the website of the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.dfa.gov.za/consular/current_issues.html

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Useful addresses

To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in Johannesburg, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Zulu phrases that may be useful during your stay in Johannesburg:

Hello / Good morning / Good evening: Sawubona (one person) / Sanibona (several people).

Goodbye: Sala kahle (one person) / Salani kahle (several people).

Yes: Yebo

No: Cha

No, thank you: Ngabonga

Thank you very much: Ngiyabonga kakhulu

I don't understand: Angizwa

Could you repeat that?: Phinda futhi?

Please: Ngicela

What time is it?: Sikhathi sini?

Excuse me: Uxolo

Airport: Isikhumulo sezindiza

Train station: Isiteshi sezitimela

Taxi: Itekisi

Hotel: Ihhotela

Hospital: Isibhedlela

Bank: Ibhange

Telephone: Ucingo

I'm (…): Ngiyi (…).

I'm looking for (…): Ngifuna (…).

How much is (…)?: Imalini (…)?

Do you have (…)?: Unawo (…)?

Where can I find (…)?: Ngingatholakuphi i (…)?

Where can I buy (…)?: Ngingathengaphi i (…)?

I'd like (…): Ngithanda i (…).

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Good to know

00 27
+ phone number without the 0
-1 : 00
of time difference with
Sofia
No daylight savings time in South Africa.

BANKS
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
GOVERNMENT oOFFICES
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

Tipping
In Johannesburg and throughout South Africa, tipping is not necessarily required, although always appreciated if you are satisfied with the service. It is customary to tip between 10 and 15% of the bill in restaurants, bars and cafés. Parking facilities are usually monitored by attendants. The latter often ask if you would like them to keep an eye on your car. If you accept, be sure to leave a few rands as a tip, depending on how long your vehicle has been parked.

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