Johannesburg – or Jo’burg for short – is perhaps South Africa’s most iconic city. The city’s fascinating past and incredible natural setting make it a popular holiday destination and there are plenty of regular flights to Johannesburg available from across the UK.
Johannesburg’s proximity to the equator and high elevation give it a unique subtropical climate with only two distinct seasons and little variation in weather. Summer runs from October to April and with it comes hot and humid conditions – the afternoon sunshine is often interrupted by sudden thunderstorms. It’s wise to pack an umbrella but sun cream is a must as the city has an extremely high UV index due to its unique location, some 5,700 feet above sea level. The best time to find cheap tickets to Johannesburg is during the summer months, although they can be a little more expensive during December and January. Winter – from May to September – has dry, sunny days and cold nights and can be the best time to visit the regions famous safari parks, as foliage is at a minimum and animal sightings are easier.
With South Africa a popular destination with British holidaymakers, there are plentiful options for getting to Johannesburg. It’s easiest to find direct flights from London Heathrow, the UK’s main long-distance hub. National carriers British Airways and South African Airways both provide daily return flights to Johannesburg from Heathrow, as do Virgin Atlantic. There are also 1-stop flights available from other UK cities, including Birmingham and Manchester. If travelling on a budget, you’ll find a number of airlines provide relatively cheap flights to Johannesburg, including Turkish Airlines, but expect at least one stop along the way.
O. R. Tambo International Airport, named after a former President of the African National Congress, is the primary hub for international travel to South Africa. It is also Africa’s busiest airport with roughly 19 million visitors passing through every year. Located around 13 miles to the northeast of Johannesburg, the airport is connected to the city centre via the R24 motorway. The easiest way to travel to central Jo’burg is to jump in a metered taxi, which will likely set you back around 400 ZAR. There are also a number of private bus companies – such as Rea Vaya – that operate regular services from the airport to the city centre and offer a much cheaper option than travelling by taxi.
With magnificent sports stadia and soaring skyscrapers in the city centre and sprawling townships on the city’s western outskirts, Johannesburg, the capital of Gauteng Province is a city of contrasts. It was in one of these townships, Soweto, that legendary leader Nelson Mandela was born and raised. His former home is now a national museum and a poignant symbol of the nation’s rebirth.
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