All about Johannesburg

Johannesburg, South Africa's biggest city and capital of Gauteng province, began as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement after gold was found on a farm in 1884. Its sprawling Soweto township was once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Mandela’s former residence is now the Mandela House museum. Other Soweto museums that recount the struggle to end segregation include the somber Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, a former prison complex.

Johannesburg, in 2007, boasted a population of 4.435 Million residents.
Johannesburg sits at an elevation of 1753m (5751 ft)

Johannesburg is a malaria-free area, but there are a few malaria areas in the far northern and north eastern and far eastern parts of South Africa. If you are travelling please check the areas you are travelling too, and ensure that you take preventative medicine and frequently apply mosquito repellent.


Johannesburg is situated on the high plateau, and has a subtropical climate. The city enjoys a sunny climate, with the summer months (October to April) characterised by hot days followed by afternoon thundershowers and cool evenings, and the winter months (May to September) by dry, sunny days followed by cold nights.

Temperatures range in May from average midday highs of 19˚C (66˚F) to 7˚C (45˚F) in the evenings, with on average, less than 3 days rain in May and an average humidity of 56%.

It would be suitable to wear light clothing during the day with a sweater in the morning and evening.

Things you need to know

Like many other places and cities, when traveling in South Africa please remember to always be vigilant and don’t let your guard down. There may be criminal elements who will take any opportunity to commit a crime on unsuspecting soft targets.

  • Do not walk around showing off expensive jewellery (especially expensive watches, e.g. Rolex’s) and electronic equipment. It is suspected that there are ‘lookouts’ at the airports who may follow you to target later.
  • Be mindful when using your credit cards for purchases or withdrawals at ATM machines (including OR Tambo Airport). Do not accept assistance from strangers as you may be scammed. Please don’t draw large amounts of forex at the airport. Rather do draw little bits of cash in and around Sandton or ask your hotel to assist.
  • If driving in a rental car or taxi, do not let your windows down at intersections and stop signs, especially where you see street vendors.
  • After sunset, and unless it’s a short and safe walk, try not to walk around alone in dark roads, instead walk in a group or use a hotel shuttle, Uber taxi, meter taxi etc.
  • If you are planning to travel around on your own before or after the conference plan your trip and ask the LOC members if you are uncertain about the safety of travel routes.
  • The area of Sandton has launched a campaign to keep people safe and their security officers are dressed in red uniforms

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