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Transport In and Around Jozi
There are two international airports serving Johannesburg: OR Tambo on the east of the city and Lanseria on the north-west of the city. If you are travelling internally within South Africa you need to be at the airport an hour before take-off time. If travelling internationally you need to be there 2 hours before.
Should you wish to be collected from the airport (or if you land before/after the Gautrain has stopped running), your guesthouse will be able to assist with transport.
Fast train - the Gautrain
Johannesburg is a very large sprawling city with no single city centre but rather a number of different areas and neighbourhoods. There are three main business and leisure hubs: Rosebank, Sandton and Johannesburg Central (CBD).
- All these are very successfully connected to each other and to OR Tambo International Airport by the high speed Gautrain - very efficient, safe and effective.
- During the peak periods of the weekdays (5.30 - 8.30 am and 16.00-19.00 pm) the trains runs every 12 minutes from OR Tambo; in off peak periods over weekdays 8.30 - 16.00 and 19.00 to 20.30 it runs every 20 minutes and over weekends every 30 minutes.
- There is safe and secure parking at all the stations - open 7 days a week from 05.00 to 21.00.
- Gaubuses operate between Sandton and Rosebank weekdays only.
- For general information on the Gautrain and fares.
Bus Rapid Transport System
Within the Johannesburg city centre Rea Vaya (the Bus Rapid Transport system)
is a very cheap and effective way of getting around the inner city. It currently only runs between Soweto and the city but is being extended to other main arterial routes. You will need to get a smart card at Park Station or Carlton Centre (you will need some form of identification to get this).
There are no roaming taxis that can be hailed from the roadside. If you do not rent a car you will need to use taxis as Johannesburg sites and sights are spread out with little effective public transport connecting them.
- Some of our guest houses offer in-house driving services. Check their websites for this facility.
- Apart from the above, the most cost-effective and efficient service is UBER. You will however need a SMART phone to download the Uber App which puts you in touch via GPS with the nearest available taxi, takes payment by credit card, enables you to check your route and receive reliable arrival times.
- Although locals use mini-bus taxis, they are largely unregulated and require too much local knowledge to be used by visitors.
- There are many cab companies which you can phone to arrange for collection at a particular place and time. Many taxis do not use meters so always check the price at the start of your trip.
Orange Taxis 0861 700 222 / Zebra Cabs 0861 105 105 (offers a service to women who require female drivers)
- All of the tour operators will also provide airport collection as well as a taxi service.
Many visitors rent a car although driving in Johannesburg can be a bit of a challenge. is a challenge with bad traffic delays, poor signage and traffic lights frequently out of order. However, for local trips and long stays, self-drive is a good option particularly if you have a GPS or access to Google maps on your phone.
There are many car rental companies operating from the airports and the Gautrain station where all major international brands such as Hertz, Europcar, Avis, Sixt, Budget, Tempest and many more.
Sight-seeing in Johannesburg
There are several ways of seeing Johannesburg. Johannesburg In Your Pocket
is an excellent guide to Joburg It is comprehensive and up-to-date guide on Joburg and gives a knowledgeable take on the city.
Red City Bus
If you want a quick introduction to the fascinating city of Jozi with all its contrasts take the hop-on/hop-off Red City Bus tour
. There are 2 ticket offices: at Gold Reef City or at Park Station (very easily accessed via the Gautrain). You can however join the tour at any of the 10 stops. There is a good audio commentary (multi-lingual options).
Over weekends there is a shuttle service from one of the stops to the Maboneng Precinct (an urban regeneration are with a great Sunday market, hip galleries, eateries and specialist stores). There is also a shuttle to Soweto which leaves from Gold Reef City.
Walking tours have become a very popular way of experiencing the inner city. There are many excellent ones on offer.
- Main Street Walks offer general walking tours as well as bicycle tours of the city and Maboneng Precinct. Check www.mainstreetwalks.co.za/tours for more details. There are shuttle buses from the Red City Bus stop at the Carlton Centre over week-ends.
- Gerald Garner of Joburg Places runs fascinating tours providing fascinating insights into Joburg and its history as well as many of its regeneration projects. You can check what is on offer on www.joburgplaces.com/tours
- Past Experiences run a range of excellent inner city tours focusing specifically on graffiti. See www.pastexperiences.co.za for details.
- Joburg Free Walking Tours is a new initiative. Tours are offered daily on a tip only basis departing from the Red City Bus Park Station stop. See www.nielsentours.co.za for more details.
- Take a tour with Dla Nje and discover the truth about the city's most notorious and misunderstood suburbs; Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville. See www.dlalanje.org for more details.
There are various ways of seeing Soweto:
- Take the Red City Shuttle bus from Gold Reef City (2 hour tour)
- Arrange a private tour (your guesthouse can arrange this for you). There are many private guides. Mashaba Tours & Transfers and Mount Zion Tours & Travels are but two.
- Cycling tours are arranged by Lebo of Soweto Bicycle Tours
- Ntokozo Dube aka TK of TKD tours takes walking tours of Kliptown one of the oldest parts of Soweto and still very under-resourced. 073 133 5234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Mulaudzi founded Alexandra Bicycle Tours
. He will meet you at the Marlboro Gautrain station and takes small groups on cycling tours of Alex.
Although travelling by motorbike in city traffic is unadvisable, South Africa is a wonderful country for travel by motorbike. Motorberlin provide BMW bikes for rental and offer and excellent service. For more info go to www.motoberlin.com