Cheap Flights to Johannesburg

Johannesburg photo

Johannesburg overview

Travellers taking cheap flights to Johannesburg may not know that an Australian prospector called George Harrison struck gold here in the 1880s. Harrison may not have appreciated the significance of his find as he sold his stake for paltry sum, but the majority of visitors last year  knew exactly how valuable and sought after the gold FIFA World Cup Trophy is. 

Johannesburg is South Africa's largest city and economic hub, and it has an exciting, pioneer-type vibe. Its more recent past is laid out for all to digest. The landmarks of Apartheid Tourism in Johannesburg are sobering, but also uplifting, as they demonstrate that South Africa is facing up to its past and working towards a future for all.

Synonymous with apartheid is Soweto, the resilient and colourful township to the south-west of Johannesburg. It was at the centre of political campaigns aimed at the overthrow of the apartheid state. Today, Soweto is being redeveloped and township tours are popular with tourists, stopping off at Vilakazi Street, where Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, two Nobel Peace Prize winners, both lived, the memorial to Hector Peterson, the 12-year-old boy shot dead during the riots in 1976 and Soccer City, the 94,000-seat stadium where several of the games will be played this summer.

Africa's greatest draw, perhaps, is its wildlife, and there are several reserves within easy reach of Johannesburg, including the Krugersdorp, Magaliesberg, Plumari and Rhenostersprutt. The Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site consisting of more than 200 caves containing the fossilised remains of human ancestors and animals, is a 45-minute drive away. Of these, the best known is Sterkfontein Caves, open year-round.

Johannesburg climate

Johannesburg has a fantastic climate. The sun shines year-round - average temperatures are about 26 degrees in January, 16 degrees in June - and humidity is not a factor. The winters are mild and short and snow is very rare.

When to fly to Johannesburg

Peak Season: 

November to January (summer) is high season. Easter is another peak time; schools are out and families take holidays. Many Joburgers take their holidays in December. 

Off Season: 

April to September (winter) is the low season.

Shoulder Season: 

September-November and April-June are shoulder season months.

Getting around Johannesburg

Johannesburg's layout lends itself best to driving. There are several car-rental companies with desks at the airport. There are city buses and informal minibus services. The Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System offers cheap, reliable transport. Buses run in dedicated lanes and smaller, feeder buses bring people from the outer areas to the stations on the trunk routes. There's also Metrobus, which offers scheduled bus services around the city. Minibuses are probably best avoided unless you are with a local. Routes can be confusing. There are plenty of taxis, but try to settle on a fare before you set off to avoid arguments with the driver when you arrive at your destination.

Johannesburg insider information

  • Johannesburg can be a dangerous city. Try not to draw attention to yourself. Keep your camera and other belongings out of sight. Dress discreetly. Don't leave doors or luggage unlocked. And don't walk around unprotected at night. 
  • For the World Cup this summer, matches will shown free on big screens at venues including Ster-Kinekor cinemas at Maponya Mall, Eastgate, Key West, Sandton City, Fourways, The Zone and East Rand Mall. Tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis five days before each soccer game. The maximum number of tickets per person per game is four. 
  • Johannesburg Art Gallery is a wonderful gallery with works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and South African artists such as Gerald Sekoto, Maud Sumner and Ezrom Legae. 
  • The Apartheid Museum is beside Gold Reef City, a theme park complete with thrilling rides such as the Tower of Terror (fear factor 10), The Anaconda (fear factor 9) and Dr Doolittle's Farmyard, where the residents include tortoises, monkeys, alpacas and emus. 
  • Rosebank Rooftop Market is held every Sunday (9am-5pm). There are more than 600 stalls selling arts and crafts, clothes and foodstuffs from all over Africa. The market is located on Cradock Avenue at the Mall of Rosebank. 
  • The Apartheid Museum should be a stop on every visitor's itinerary. Upon entering the museum, visitors are classified as black or white and they then enter a "non-whites" or "whites" entrance. The museum tells its story via video and photography, text and artefacts. 
  • Constitution Hill is the site of the Old Fort Prison Complex, where many political activists were jailed, including Mahatma Gandhi, Joe Slovo and Nelson Mandela.

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Airports for Johannesburg

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How much do things cost in Johannesburg?

Clothing & Shoes
Pair of jeans
$ 83.67
Pair of Nike shoes
$ 119.99
1 km taxi journey
$ 1.40
One-way ticket (local transport)
$ 1.75
Petrol (1 litre)
$ 1.61
1 hour taxi waiting fee
$ 12.86
Large bottle of water
$ 1.83
Pack of Marlboro cigarettes
$ 4.68
3 course meal for 2
$ 58.48
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre)
$ 1.50
Small bottle of water (0.33 litre)
$ 1.17
How much does a beer cost in Johannesburg?
Local draught beer (0.5 litre)
$ 3
Imported beer (0.33 litre)
$ 4
Bottle of local beer (0.5 litre)
$ 2
Bottle of beer (imported beer)
$ 3

International departures to Johannesburg