Johannesburg is a sprawling city and the lack of convenient and safe public transport is often an obstacle to visitors. City transport consists of an unreliable bus network and a series of minibus taxi routes, neither of which operate much after dark. The main bus terminus is at Gandhi Square in the city centre, where there are timetables and route maps, but times are rarely accurate. The Gautrain train and bus service is safe and reliable but only stops around Sandton and surrounding suburbs, though it is very useful for getting to and from the airport. The quickest and cheapest way to get around is on a minibus 'taxi', an informal bus service that goes everywhere but has no schedule or formal stops and can be hailed anywhere along its route. However, dangerous driving and overcrowding deter many from using them as a means of transport. If necessary use them for short hops only and never with baggage. Metered taxis are safer but far more expensive. The best way to get around is by private car and there is an excellent network of highways and well-maintained roads. Drivers should keep their windows up and doors locked at all times, never leave anything visible in a parked car, and never stop for hitchhikers.
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round, three-pin plugs are standard.
South Africa's currency is the Rand (ZAR), which is divided into 100 cents. Money can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and the larger hotels. ATMs are widely available (there is a daily limit for cash withdrawals) and major international credit cards are widely accepted. Visitors should be vigilant when drawing cash from ATMs, as con artists are known to operate there. All commercial banks will exchange foreign currency.
The international access code for South Africa is +27. GSM mobile phone networks providing 900 and 1800 frequencies serve the country, and there are roaming agreements with most international mobile operators. Mobile service providers offer very cheap 'pay-as-you-go' SIM cards, which are a good option for visitors staying for some time. Internet cafes are available. Card and coin operated pay phones are also widespread.
Emergencies: 10111 (Police); 10177 (Ambulance)
|New Year’s Day||1 Jan||1 Jan|
|Human Rights Day||21 Mar||21 Mar|
|Good Friday||3 Apr||25 Mar|
|Easter Monday||6 Apr||28 Mar|
|Freedom Day||27 Apr||27 Apr|
|Worker’s Day||1 May||1 May|
|Youth Day||16 Jun||16 Jun|
|Women’s Day||9 Aug||9 Aug|
|Heritage Day||24 Sep||24 Sep|
|Day of Reconciliation||16 Dec||16 Dec|
|Christmas Day||25 Dec||25 Dec|
|Day of Goodwill||26 Dec||26 Dec|
Situated on the Highveld plateau, Johannesburg has a subtropical highland climate with generally mild weather and plenty of sunshine. Between October and April (late spring, summer, and early autumn) it is hot with frequent thunderstorms in the afternoon. Between May and September (late autumn, winter and early spring) it is dry and sunny with cold nights. The sunny winter weather takes the edge off the cold, but after dark it can be freezing. Snow is almost unheard of. The average temperatures in summer, between December and February, range between 58°F (14°C) and 78°F (25°C), and in winter, between June and August, the average temperatures range between 39°F (4°C) and 62°F (16°C). Johannesburg is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit the city is over December and January, when it is hot and sunny and the afternoon storms ensure the city is at its most lush and attractive.
The Gautrain provides fast and easy access to the Johannesburg city centre from the airport, with regular express trains to Sandton. An airport bus departs regularly to the city centre. Authorised shuttle buses and taxis are available; these display the ACSA logo on their vehicles. Hotel shuttle buses depart every 15 minutes from the bus terminal.
Car rental companies represented at the airport include Avis, Budget, Tempest and Europcar.
A metered taxi will take 30-40 minutes to the city centre. Taxis wait opposite the international arrivals terminal (Terminal A). Only official metered taxis with a yellow taxi light should be taken. The cost for a ride to the city centre should cost roughly ZAR 420, but prices do vary.
The terminals are all connected.
Facilities at the airport include bureaux de change, banks, a post office, shops, restaurants and bars, mobile phone rental, viewing decks, a medical clinic and a prayer room.
Short-term parking charges at OR Tambo Airport range from ZAR 20 for the first two hours in Parkade 1, to ZAR 15 for the first hour or ZAR 20 for two hours in Parkade 2. Long-term parking is available in shaded lots and costs either ZAR 65 or ZAR 80 per day. Official long-term parking lots cost just ZAR 45 per day and are connected to the airport via shuttle bus.
Wifi is available throughout the airport via MWEB.