Book flights to Johannesburg – but you can call it Jo’burg, if you’d like. The city is informal like that, and welcomes you with open arms into its history, culture, and people. Once a center for harrowing gun crime and poverty, now when you book flights to Johannesburg, you’ll see that it has become a globally conscious hub – the city now uses the lessons learned as common ground to unify its citizens. Before your flight to Johannesburg, be sure to educate yourself on its recent history, which is rife with inequality.
The largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg drew thousands of newcomers during the 1890’s gold rush. When white people came seeking shiny fortunes, they employed the black residents to work for them. As their success mounted, the British colonial government relocated the black natives to the outskirts of the city, widening the gap of racial separation, and conceiving an era known as Apartheid. During the brutal period, blacks endured low living conditions, and rose only in protest, strikes, and to voice the ideas of the black majority. In 1920, 70,000 blacks went on strike, and although the next few years of riots made successful noise, many people sadly died in the fight. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the uprisings of black militancy finally made a crack in the ceiling of separation, and the removal of discriminatory laws took place.
Although there are still racist undertones in certain parts of the city, Johannesburg proudly presents itself to the world as a city redone. Book flights to Johannesburg to witness the dawn of a historical transition, and the opening of hearts to equality.
Johannesburg’s southern latitude sets it in a subtropical zone, with a mix of high and low temperatures, and varying precipitation. The cold Benguela current makes for moderate temperatures on the west coast, and lots of precipitation during the summer months. Before you book your flight to Johannesburg, be aware that the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are in opposition to the northern Hemisphere, so the seasons go as follows: Spring (September, October, November); Summer (December, January, February), Autumn (March, April May), Winter (June, July, August).
Plan your flight to Johannesburg during the winter months to capture the cooler climate.
Although the strong winds of August sweep the city, most people book flights to Johannesburg during the winter months of June, July, and August to experience the cooler, drier part of the year.
While it’s hard to imagine an off-season in such a beautiful place, less travelers book flights to Johannesburg during the summer months of December, January, and February, because heat and rainfall make for sticky situations. Because of the season’s unpopularity, it just means you’ll have an easier time finding cheap flights to Johannesburg.
After your flight to Johannesburg lands, hop aboard one of the airport shuttles, which are available for most hotel destinations. The rest of the city is maneuverable by taxi, by bus, or on foot. The safest way to travel is by calling a cab or hiring your own car. Johannesburg has bus routes to all corners of the city, and the main station is Park Station. Ticket prices vary by zones. Crime is often a problem on Johannesburg’s public transportation, especially on the Jo’burg-Pretoria line, so take care to travel in numbers and keep your belongings close. If you’re taking a taxi, it’s safest to hail a cab or call ahead from your hotel, as taxi lines are often hotspots for petty crime.
Apartheid Museum: Johannesburg has an incredibly tumultuous history. During the era of segregation, blacks were treated unfairly and inequality seeped from every establishment. The Apartheid Museum has you enter as either a black person or a white person. From the start, you continue to wander as whatever race you randomly draw, the philosophy behind it all forces you to put yourself in the shoes of those who lived through the painfully hypocritical time. Through media like film, text, audio, and live accounts, the past becomes alive. Exit through a garden, the final symbol of freedom, and take with you the impact of Johannesburg’s history.
Johannesburg Art Gallery: For those booking flights to Johannesburg in search of native art and the country’s true spirit, take a trip to the Johannesburg Art Gallery. The space at Noord Street and Joubert Park houses an extensive and impressive collection of both European and Southern African landscapes that capture the land’s people, spirit, and inner strength. More figurative paintings are on display as well as a growing contemporary section that draws crowds on a regular basis. The gallery also lets talented and voiced black artists to show their retrospective feelings on the country’s progress.
Nelson Mandela Bridge: Standing tall above Newtown, the Nelson Mandela Bridge is a sight not to be missed. Officially opened on July 20, 2003, just a few days after Mandela turned 85-years-old, the powerful structure is secured by cables and, like Mandela, serves as a gleaming symbol of effort to connect all sides. While not exactly an artist’s dream, what the bridge lacks in beauty it makes up for in dignity, glory, and pride. Don’t board your Johannesburg flight home without a trip to the influential bridge.