Things You Didn’t Know About Johannesburg, South Africa

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Things You Didn’t Know About Johannesburg, South Africa

Welcome to Johannesburg "Let me wear my hat first", she said when I asked to take a photo of her

What do you know about Johannesburg?

I didn’t know much. On my way back to Asia from Namibia, I decided to make one-day layover in Johannesburg, South Africa. I had to change the flights in Johannesburg anyway, I wanted to make the best out of the trip. Also, I didn’t want to miss the chance to see another city/ country in Africa. When I finally made my mind, surprisingly, I’ve heard back a lot of worries. The issue was: safety. Africa is not known for the safe environment, I know that. But Johannesburg especially, is considered not a safe place to visit. A simple comparison; I’ve met many travelers who traveled/ loved Cape Town, but haven’t heard great things about Joburg on the other hand. There can be many reasons behind, but all I can say is that Johannesburg is just not as popular as Cape Town. I was nervous because I’m awkward in a not-safe environment. I over protect my stuff, choose wrong things to lock up, and just don’t quite know what to do with myself. And, I always slip and lost something at the end. But with the help of my friend Clare, I’ve decided to experience the city myself.

Clare took me to several different neighborhoods during my 24-hour layover, and I was pleasantly surprised by its atmosphere. It almost felt like a proper mixture of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA) and Austin (Texas, USA). Johannesburg was about to newly born as the next trendy city.


Here are some of the facts that you didn’t know about Johannesburg:

The city seems flat without any noticeable mountains nearby, but its elevation is 1,753 m (5,751 ft); higher than the Mile-High City, Denver (Colorado, USA) which is 1,564–1,731 m (5,130–5,690 ft) high.


It seems flat, but Johannesburg is higher than Denver, the Mile-High City

It seems flat, but Johannesburg is higher than Denver, the Mile-High City


It’s also known as Jozi, Joburg, and simply, JHB.

It’s a home to an extensive public art. A variety range of works from sculptures to murals, they are hard to miss. Many pieces are developed through community workshops.


One of the best street art I've ever seen yet

One of the best street arts I’ve ever seen yet

So many murals in Johannesburg

So many murals in Johannesburg


Public transportation is not extensive, but they recently started a city bus tour.

Not just street arts, Johannesburg is a cultural hub in South Africa. You can find numerous museums, galleries, and theaters.

The city is one of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the world.

The hippest food market, the Neighbourgoods Market opens every Saturday morning.


Neighbourgoods Market - every Saturday

Neighbourgoods Market – every Saturday

Goodies in the jar - and he is rockin' the pink shirts

Goodies in the jar – and he is rockin’ the pink shirts

Home-baked pastries and waffles for sale!

Home-baked pastries and waffles for sale!


The international airport, O.R. Tambo International Airport, is the largest and busiest airport in Africa. Most flights from other continents land here.

Johannesburg was originally inhabited by San tribes until the 13th century.

It is a sister city with NYC.

The city isn’t perfect; the crime rates are high, there are areas you shouldn’t go, and there are issues to solve. But frankly, who is?



Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Juno set off for the wider world to pursue her passion for travel and storytelling. She traveled the world as an award-winning travel blogger and photographer, witnessing the everyday life of different cultures. Currently based in Anchorage, Alaska and exploring this amazing Last Frontier. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Instagram .


  1. They say you should learn something new everyday, and I certainly learned a few things about Johannesburg from this post. What surprised me most is that it’s 1,753 m high.

    I’m assuming you didn’t run into any issues with crime there? It often seems that people talk about it from two very different ends of the spectrum, there are those who constantly warn about its safety, and then those who say the threat is completely exagerated, with little in between. Reagrdless, it’s a place I’d love to visit someday. I’ve heard many more good things than bad about the country.

  2. Sonali Chauhan says:

    I wasn’t aware about fact of Johannesburg! Really this is really surprising for me, but even I love to know fact of Johannesburg. Thanks Admin Juno Kim 🙂 You did such a great job to share this post with your audience.

  3. Juno, it was a pleasure showing you around for 24 hrs! Even though we only saw a few bits of the city, I know it was enough to bust some of those misconceptions!
    Francis, can you believe that we managed to keep Juno crime-experience free for 24hrs? Amazing isn’t it? 🙂 Most recently, we had @whereishawkins for 72 hrs and amazingly, he had a crime-free trip too 🙂
    Yes, I’m being facetious, but honestly, for the most part, the people who are terrified of South Africa and, in particular Johannesburg, are the ones who have never set foot in our amazing city.
    Cape Town is fantastic, and beautiful, but by golly is Johannesburg on the up-and-up. Toss aside other people’s perceptions and realities and come and create your own reality in Johannesburg and South Africa.
    Thanks for posting Juno!

  4. Ashleigh says:

    I am so excited to see a post about my howntown JHB that show the positive side! and Clare 🙂 Thank you so much for helping to show people that this city hasmuch more to offer than the constant crime warnings! Great post Juno! So glad you braved our wonderful city! 🙂

  5. Only a pleasure Ashleigh…..South Africa and Johannesburg have SO much to offer people….let’s get them here and change their negative mindsets 🙂

  6. Hey Juno! So awesome meeting you in Jozi. I’m glad you had Clare to show you how awesome this city is, even if it was only for 24 hours. Hope you get to spend longer in Jozi next time. I’ll be glad to show you around some more 🙂 There’s so much more to discover!
    Meruschka 🙂

  7. I am from South africa, this post is quite accurate.

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