Close to the ground.

GPS: S 26 12.088 E 028 02.729
pop. 3,200,000 | elevation 1,767m/5,797 ft

Johannesburg (also known as Joburg, Jozi, and Egoli) is an amazing melting pot of a city. It is full of rich history, has an incredible art and cultural scene, and its nightlife rivals that of any other major city in the world. Unfortunately, the city has a bad rap for being a crime hotspot, and too often, it’s either passed over by visitors or used as only a place to stay when coming from or going to the airport. Don’t let the fear of the potential dangers of Joburg prevent you from having an experience that very well may round off the highlights of your trip – the vast majority of visitors who spend time in the city leave without encountering any problems.

If you come to South Africa and pass up on Joburg and its surrounding area, you will leave with an incomplete understanding of the country. To understand South Africa you need to feel Joburg – see the city center, get to Melville, go out in Newtown and spend at least a day in neighboring Soweto.


Even before the discovery of gold outside of Johannesburg in 1886 and the subsequent gold rush, the area of Johannesburg had long been a center of economic and mining activity. Ruins of Sotho-Tswana villages around Johannesburg in nearby Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve show evidence of the complex social structures and skilled mining and smelting techniques used by early farmers and herdsmen towards the beginning of the Early Iron Age. In the modern era, Chief Mzilikazi and the Ndebele briefly conquested the area as they distanced themselves from the grasp of Shaka Zulu’s army and crossed over the Drakensburg Mountains in 1821. But their kingdom was dismantled as Voortrekkers and far-reaching factions of the Zulu army drove them farther north.

The discovery of gold in the area in the late 1800s transformed, in less than a decade, the once small triangle cluster of farms into South Africa’s largest and richest metropolitan area. The gold rush attracted prospectors from other parts of the country, as well as from Europe and North America. However, digging for gold in the deep reef of the Witwatersrand was too expensive for almost all but the already established wealthy diamond miners such as Cecil Rhodes, Barney Barnato, and JB Robinson, who quickly bought up all the small claims and became Randlords, organizing their mining monopolies into the Witwatersrand Chamber of Mines. As Johannesburg boomed, tensions grew between the Pretoria-based Boer government of the ZAR and the wealthy foreign Randlords based around Johannesburg, as well as between the Randlords and their poorly paid mine workers.

Hoping to gain final control of the area and rid themselves of the restrictive tax and administrative laws of the Boer republic, the wealthy mine owners attempted to oust the Boer government in the mid 1890s, in what became known as the Jameson Raid in Doornkop. The Boer government reacted by rapidly increasing its military might with weapons from German suppliers and preemptively attacked their insurrectionists in 1899, effectively starting the Second Boer War, or the South African War. By May 30, 1900, Johannesburg fell to the British and two years later the Boer ZAR and Orange Free State republics were handed over to the British Empire. The British renamed the ZAR the Transvaal and quickly began to expand their mining initiatives around Johannesburg.

An outbreak of the bubonic plague in 1904 allowed the government to justify racial segregation in Johannesburg, and black and coloured residents began to be removed from the city center. The “Coolie Location,” which is present day Newtown, was burned to the ground and its residents relocated to Kliptown in the outskirts of the city. The infamous South Western Townships (Soweto) would eventually form around Kliptown to become the largest townships in the country.

Industrialization and the growth of manufacturing attracted even greater numbers of black residents to the city, peaking during WWII when black workers began filling jobs previously reserved only for Whites. During the 1940s, the city’s black population almost doubled, leading to the growth of a black intellectual and middle class, and a corresponding backlash from the white minority, manifested in the election of the National Party in 1948. The racial segregation laws passed by the newly entrenched Apartheid government further displaced the black population from the inner city, as vibrant multi-racial areas such as Sophiatown were destroyed and the populations were moved into the newly developed mass of Soweto around the shantytowns of Kliptown and Orlando.

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw rapid modernization; the rise of tall buildings and a burgeoning skyline replaced the former inner city black neighborhoods. However, the strengthening of the black liberation movement and violence in Soweto and other Joburg townships, as well as high crime rates in the city center, led to a decline of the city in 1980s and early 1990s, as businesses and white residents moved into the Northern Suburbs of Sandton, Midrand, Houghton and Parktown. With the dismantling of the Apartheid regime and democratic elections in 1994, Johannesburg has been progressively re-emerging as a vibrant, multi-racial city. However, many of its residents still continue to live in poverty.

Braamfontein & Hillbrow

Braamfontein & Hillbrow are just north of the city center but bustling with activity. Many visitors will pass through or spend some time in Braamfontein's Park Station - the busiest transport hub in southern Africa. The student life of Wits University and the numerous museums and art galleries on campus dominate much of western Braamfontein. Hillbrow is characterized by high-rise apartments and is a densely populated residential melting pot of more recent immigrants. It has a vibrant nightlife, but it generally isn't safe to be walking around after dark. On the grounds of the University of the Witwatersrand are 14 museums.

The Origins Center

The Origins Center covers the past 80,000 years of human innovation on the African continent by tracing the development of symbols, art, language, tools and spirituality. Audio guides in six different languages are included with admission.

The Gertrude Posel Gallery

The Gertrude Posel Gallery features a number of collections of both traditional and contemporary African art from all over the continent. It includes drawings, paintings, photography and traditional crafts.

Constitution Hill

Constitution Hill is the former site of the Old Fort Prison complex that was built in the 1890s to house white prisoners. In 1902, the complex was expanded to include "native sections," and in 1909, a female section was added. The prison held a number of famous individuals as inmates including Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

Constitutional Court of South Africa

The Constitutional Court of South Africa was formed by the country's democratic constitution of 1994 and is composed of 11 judges who rule on constitutional matters. The court is on the site of and partially built from the brick of one of the wings of the Old Fort Prison complex. The public is welcome into the building to view the art gallery in the court's atrium or observe the court when it is in session.

City Center

Joburg's city center is characterized by towering office buildings and bustling streets lined by shops and vendors hawking everything from produce to cell phone chargers during the daylight hours. But the area is equally as dead over the weekend and any time after dark. Some areas of the city center have the feel of budding regeneration, but this is still downtown Johannesburg and you need to be keenly aware of your surroundings when walking around.

Top of Africa

Top of Africa is a viewing deck and restaurant on the top floor of one of the tallest buildings in Africa. On a clear day, you can view the development of the various Joburg districts as well as Soweto and the airport.

Mandela & Tambo Law Office

Mandela & Tambo Law Office is not open to tourists, but is the location of the Mandela & Tambo Law Office that, when formed in 1953, was South Africa's only all-black law firm.

Johannesburg Art Gallery

Johannesburg Art Gallery, established in 1910, is the largest gallery in South Africa with 15 exhibition halls within the three-story building. The collection includes works by Picasso, Monet, Dante, and Degas, as well as 17th century Dutch paintings, 19th century British and other European paintings and contemporary works from South Africa.

Standard Bank Art Gallery

Standard Bank Art Gallery has continually changing displays of South African and international art and artifacts within its modern spacious building.


Newtown is a redeveloping downtown cultural arts district, with a number of museums, crafts stalls, restaurants and bars. The area has a strong urban feel that is much closer to the beat of the real Joburg than some of the more trendy sub-urban spots. There are a number of unarmed security personnel monitoring the district in an attempt to promote tourism and deter petty crime.

Mary Fitzgerald Square

Mary Fitzgerald Square was named after the first South African female trade unionist who was heavily involved in the 1910 miners strikes. During that time, the square was the site of many union strikes and protests. Today the square is the center of Newtown, surrounded by Museum Africa, Market Theater, the Jazz Walk of Fame and a number of places for eating, drinking and entertainment.

Museum Africa

Museum Africa is in a large building on Mary Fitzgerald Square that was built in 1913 as a fruit and vegetable market. The museum covers the rich history of the African continent and has impressive exhibits on the development of Johannesburg, including a display on the five-year, Apartheid era Treason Trial of 156 people (including Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu) who were all charged with and acquitted of treason.

Market Theatre

Market Theatre is the central spot for live performances with three theaters, a swanky cocktail bar and an attached restaurant. The Market Theatre was established in 1976 as an integrated race theater and became famous for challenging the Apartheid government through its performances.

Jazz Walk of Fame

Jazz Walk of Fame recognizes nine of South Africa's jazz legends with their names and short inspirational stories about them engraved in the granite strip.

Nelson Mandela Bridge

Nelson Mandela Bridge connects the Braamfontein district in the north with Newtown in the south, spanning over 42 active railway lines. The bridge was opened in 2003 by Nelson Mandela as part of his 85th birthday celebration and is an impressive site when lit up at night.

SAB World of Beer

SAB World of Beer has an engaging 1.5hr tour on the history of beer and the beer making process, from ancient Mesopotamia to the shebeens of Soweto and pubs of Johannesburg. The tour includes two pints of beer afterward.

Drum Café

Drum Café has a museum where you can learn about the ancient art of drum making or catch live performances by expert drummers who have performed at events around the world.

Workers' Museum

Workers' Museum commemorates the African migrant workers who were instrumental in the building of Johannesburg and has a large reference library and exhibits displaying the single-sex hostel living environments in which they were housed. It is located in the original municipal electric workers compound.

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is located in a large building that housed the turbines for the city's tram system over 100 years ago. Today it has interactive exhibits related to math, science and technology with its target audience being school children.

Northern Suburbs

The Northern Suburbs are stereotypically wealthier areas characterized by secured communities and shopping malls. They are safer to walk around in than the city center (with the notable exception of Alexandra) and, while spread out, offer a selection of comfortable places to stay, and a variety of restaurants and bars.

Liliesleaf Farm

Liliesleaf Farm was the secret headquarters of the military wing of the ANC until it was raided by police in 1963. This raid resulted in the arrest of a number of ANC leaders and led to the famous Rivonia trial resulting in the imprisonment of ANC leaders including Mandela, Sisulu, and Mbeki. The farm has been restored to its earlier condition and recently reopened to the public with interactive exhibits that pay tribute to the prominent leaders and the events that led up to the dramatic police raid.

South African National Museum of Military History

South African National Museum of Military History preserves South Africa's history during the Anglo-Boer War, WWI and WWII. The museum has displays of small arms, armored vehicles, and a number of aircrafts as well as a one-man submarine used by the Germans in WWII.

Johannesburg Zoo

Johannesburg Zoo has nearly 3,000 species on its 54 hectares including rare white lions and Siberian tigers. The zoo also offers night safaris where you can see some of the more nocturnal animals such as lions, leopards and owls.

Southern Suburbs

The Southern Suburbs are a mix of residential and industrial areas and few visitors will have reason to visit this part of the city aside from the Apartheid Museum and the Gold Reef City casino and amusement park.

Apartheid Museum

Apartheid Museum is one of Joburg's top tourist attractions and one of the country's best museums with powerful exhibits demonstrating the racism of the Apartheid era. The museum displays include graphic and moving video footage, photographs and artifacts, including a cage full of weapons used by police to enforce the laws of Apartheid and 121 nooses that represent the political prisoners that were hung during the Apartheid regime. Spending some time at the Apartheid Museum and in Soweto itself is a great way to absorb the history of South Africa and its struggle for democracy. Though the museum is now independently run, the concept of the museum was proposed and paid for by a casino investment group as part of a bidding process, in which the recipient of a gaming license needed to show how their plan would bring tourism to the area. Today the Apartheid Museum is a separate non-profit entity.

Gold Reef City

Gold Reef City is a mini city with a large amusement park and casino located just south of Joburg on the site of an old gold mine. The amusement park includes a large water park, numerous roller coasters, live shows, 3D movie theaters, a small zoo and a museum. There are hotels and plenty of restaurants at both the amusement park and casino.


Jimmy's Face to Face Tours

Jimmy's Face to Face Tours gained its popularity from running Soweto tours back in the 1980s but now offers tours throughout the province and beyond.

Lords Travel & Tours

Lords Travel & Tours can take you to any of the popular destinations including Soweto, Apartheid Museum, and downtown Joburg.

Jozi Experience

Jozi Experience can do everything, from picking you up at the airport, to lining up accommodation, or taking you out for a night of Joburg bar hopping.

GALA's Queer Johannesburg Tour

GALA's Queer Johannesburg Tour has tours that cover the history of gay and lesbian life in Joburg and Soweto. The tour highlights the rise and struggle of homosexuals in obtaining their current constitutional rights, aspects of homosexuality in the mining hostels, gay life in Soweto and much more.


44 Stanley Avenue

44 Stanley Avenue is a cluster of rehabbed industrial buildings with independent boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and design studios.

Market Square Market

Market Square Market is the city's largest flea market that is held every Saturday with a large selection of hand-made crafts and everything else you might expect at a South African flea market.

Rosebank Rooftop Market

Rosebank Rooftop Market is another one of Joburg's popular markets with over 600 stalls that pack into the Rosebank Mall parking ramp every Sunday. The stalls sell jewelry, crafts, clothing and artwork from all over Africa, and there is a food and deli section serving a wide selection of cuisine.

Bruma Lake Flea Market

Bruma Lake Flea Market is one of the largest flea markets in the area and right next to Eastgate Mall. It sells everything from African antiques, to curios, wire art and secondhand clothing. There are also a number of ethnic food stalls and occasionally live performances on the weekends.

Brightwater Commons

Brightwater Commons is a collection of flea market stalls, shops, restaurants, clothing stores and a few chain stores surrounding a large lawn with musical fountains.

Bryanston Organic & Natural Market

Bryanston Organic & Natural Market is an established market with over 100 stalls selling crafts, art, photography, and handmade clothing. Its main draw is the wide selection of organic food, including meat and fresh produce, and a few eateries that serve wholesome meals.


Oriental Plaza

Oriental Plaza is a collection of over 300, mostly Indian owned shops, that sell everything from fabric and electronics to spices. There are also a number of restaurants serving samosas and curry. Many prices aren't fixed, so you will have to bargain to get a good deal.

Eastgate Mall

Eastgate Mall claims to be Africa's largest shopping mall and has everything you can imagine, including a cinema, restaurants, clothing and electronic stores and two supermarkets, but no alcohol.

Hyde Park Mall

Hyde Park Mall features many of the upmarket stores, trendy cafes and an IMAX cinema. The store lineup includes Prada, Versace, Fendi, LaCoste, and Ralph Lauren, among others.

Rosebank Mall

Rosebank Mall has more boutiques and independent clothing stores than most malls in Joburg, as well as a large cinema, day spa and a number of good restaurants.

Sandton City Mall

Sandton City Mall is a place to see and be seen and keep up-to-date with the latest fashion from both international and South African stores. Aside from clothing shops, there is a cinema, bookshops, restaurants and an art gallery.

Nelson Mandela Square

Nelson Mandela Square is right next to Sandton City Mall with an enclosed mall and a bunch of shops lining the Italian-styled piazza.

Fourways Mall

Fourways Mall is a large northern suburb mall featuring clothing, department and electronic stores, a couple of outdoor and camping stores and plenty of chain restaurants.

City Center & Newtown

Hotel Formula Inn Park Station

Hotel Formula Inn Park Station is located right at Park Station which is convenient if you are coming or going at odd hours. If you don't need that convenience, don't bother staying here.

Orion Hotel Devonshire

Orion Hotel Devonshire is a good option if you are looking to stay in the city center. The rooms are fairly standard and there is a restaurant, two sports bars and a piano lounge for onsite evening entertainment.

Protea Parktonian

Protea Parktonian is a large 23-story hotel suitable for business or pleasure. All rooms are modern one-bedroom suites with balconies, a desk and a spacious lounge area. The rates include an extravagant breakfast buffet.

Eastern Suburbs

Diamond Diggers

Diamond Diggers is the cheapest and one of the busiest backpackers in the city. There is a sauna, swimming pool and game room, and while there is no bar, this place hosts an active BYOB drinking scene most nights, kicked off by staff. Across the alley it houses a few local and international longer-term residents. The resident managers may come across as a little coarse and the bathrooms are dumpy, but it's a cheap place to stay and there are two computers with free Internet.

Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar is a large castle-like backpackers under somewhat recent new ownership. It was formerly the mansion of a 1970s gangster and the reception and central gathering point is the large bar that serves both guests and a few regulars. There is a rooftop deck with picnic tables and a braai area. Inside at the bar there are free Rizla packs taped to the wall just in case you are fresh out.

Joburg - French Guesthouse

Joburg - French Guesthouse is located 8 km from the airport and offers both free airport pickup and drop offs. There are seven clean rooms, a lounge, pool courtyard and helpful French hosts who can offer advice and make onward travel arrangements.

Intercontinental Johannesburg Airport

Intercontinental Johannesburg Airport has great service consistent with top Intercontinental hotels throughout the world. The beds are comfortable, the restaurant and bar good, and it is located right beside the international arrivals hall. The 8th floor has a swimming pool, spa, and fitness center with panoramic views of the city.


Sunbury House B&B

Sunbury House B&B is an older house with character and friendly hosts. It is the best priced guest house in the area with seven uniquely decorated en-suite rooms as well as a kitchen for self-catering and a tree shaded swimming pool in back.

The Melville House

The Melville House is an established home-like guesthouse just two blocks away from the action on 7th Street with 10 standard en-suite rooms, each with a TV and mini-fridge, and a swimming pool and shaded sitting area in back. The author-owned guesthouse fittingly has a small library of books and a selection of paintings on the walls.

The Melville Turret

The Melville Turret is a renovated historic house from 1906, located two blocks from 7th Street. The guesthouse has six comfortable en-suite rooms with TV as well as two self-catering rooms.

Tama Rumah Guest House

Tama Rumah Guest House has 13 large rooms each with a sofa and sizable sitting area, a TV and a mini-fridge, and a couple of rooms with fireplaces. The rooms have equally spacious bathrooms with proper bathtubs and showers.

Saffron House

Saffron House is a spotless and stylish guesthouse located steps from the action on 7th Street with seven rooms surrounding a tasteful garden and sitting area. The bedrooms are spacious with fluffy beds, sofa and sitting area, large bathrooms, TV and a mini-fridge.

Northern Suburbs

Backpackers Ritz

Backpackers Ritz is indeed the Ritz of backpackers situated in a large hillside house with friendly staff. The sizable lounge area has a TV where guests tend to relax during the day as well as a sunny lawn and pool in the back. At night there is a dungeon bar in the basement that is usually pretty lively, and if you need a beer during the day there is a beer vending machine. The Ritz is a popular backpackers for independent travelers as well as a start and finish location for large overland trips.

Gemini Backpackers

Gemini Backpackers is a laidback backpackers' haven composed of six buildings surrounding a palm tree shaded swimming pool. There are two kitchens (with a gas-fired clay oven for pizzas), a braai area, bar, game room, and a TV lounge with a few hundred DVDs and a few computers with free Internet. The yard gives it less of an urban feeling than most backpackers in Joburg, and it has free shuttle service to/from the Eastgate mall, but the place could use a few updates.

Acoustix Backpackers

Acoustix Backpackers is a cozy place with dorms, rooms and one campsite that surround a spotlessly clean pool and braai area. It's a good choice for potential longer-term residents who are recovering from a recent divorce or a bout with alcoholism but not great for more than a night for the average backpacker.

Don Rosebank

Don Rosebank is part of a smaller South African hotel chain. The large, clean rooms have a closer resemblance to an apartment than to a hotel with a decently sized kitchenette, dining table and lounge area.

Southern Sun - Hyde Park

Southern Sun - Hyde Park is an upmarket 4-star hotel that is conveniently located beside the large Hyde Park Mall that features many high-end international shops. The modernstyled rooms feature comfortable beds fitted with South Africa's premier Chrysalis linen and a media center from which you can connect your laptop, ipod, and charge a number of personal electronics.

Ten Bompas

Ten Bompas prides itself on excellent service for guests that stay in the 10 luxury suites - each designed by a separate interior designer. All of the suites have a fireplace, steam bath and a complimentary bar. There is also an award-winning restaurant at the hotel that is open to outside guests.

Joburg's quality and selection of ethnic cuisines rival that of any major world city, however its prices do not. Eating out in Joburg - especially when it comes to more upmarket dining - is a deal. Melville's 7th Street and Norwood's Grant Avenue are foodie havens lined with restaurants and sidewalk cafes. The northern suburbs are awash with chain restaurants spanning the entire price spectrum but also are home to the majority of Joburg's best restaurants.

City Center & Newtown


Sophiatown is an open restaurant and bar lounge with plush couches and outdoor seating beside the Jazz Walk of Fame. They serve a few traditional dishes such as chicken liver, Mopani worms, kudu, and crocodile. In the evening it attracts a hip, urban crowd.


Cappello is a cocktail lounge with a large outdoor seating area overlooking Mary Fitzgerald square that serves salads, café-style appetizers, pizzas and seafood platters. It has a modern minimalist interior and patrons sunk into the soft sofas tend to keep things mellow here. Sunday lunches are popular with cocktail specials from 2-8pm.

Guildhall Pub & Restaurant

Guildhall Pub & Restaurant was opened in 1906 and is one of old Joburg's few remaining landmarks. The antique wood bar and chairs downstairs are comfortably worn in, making it a favorite with older regulars.The upper level where the restaurant is located was a later addition but is still approaching 100 years old.


Gramadoelas is an established Joburg restaurant full of art and antique furnishings and has served a number of politicians and celebrities. The menu features exotic game, Moroccan tagine and Cape Malay curries.

Niki's Oasis

Niki's Oasis is a simple locals restaurant and jazz bar located directly across Bree St from the Market Square Theater. It is a place to enjoy day or night with a relaxed atmosphere and non-stop jazz music with occasional live performances on the weekend. They serve soups, salads, burgers, ezasekhaya and grilled chicken.


Portuguese Fish Market

Portuguese Fish Market is frequently overflowing with customers who spill onto the sidewalk seating on a warm afternoon. The restaurant focuses on fresh seafood covering the spectrum between Portuguese and Japanese with specials every day.


Bambanani is a modern eatery and café, popular with the younger crowd and a hot spot for young families. You can enjoy your meal, a variety of tapas or a tall glass of wine either inside, outside in the quieter front area, or overlooking the large, kids jungle gym in the back.

Lucky Bean

Lucky Bean, formerly Soulsa, is a modern, polished concrete-floored restaurant that changed its name to Lucky Bean after a trademark lawsuit filed by fast-food chain Chicken Licken. Its new name is derived from the large lucky tree mural in the restaurant. Seating is inside, on an upper deck or on the loungy leather chairs outside. They serve breakfast and all day brunch, and have a well thought out variety on their dinner menu with udon noodle stir fry, vegetarian risotto and Scottish salmon, each paired with a wine suggestion.


SOI serves both Thai and Vietnamese cuisine with tasty curries, pad thai and a number of seafood and vegetarian options. Don't worry about dressing up if you choose to dine in. There is a separate bar/smoking section beside the main dining area.

Sakura Sushi

Sakura Sushi is a Chinese-owned Japanese sushi bar with small plates of sushi circling the bar on a conveyor belt. There are also a few tables to sit at and a full menu to order from, including a full page of Teppanyaki specials.

Café Mexicho

Café Mexicho is a half restaurant/half bar but a full Mexican experience whether you're after food or drinks - with a shelf packed with tequila options, Coronas by the bucket and everything from nachos grande to chili con carne.


Wish is open from early morning to late at night as a café, restaurant and cocktail lounge. It has a large menu serving breakfast, fresh squeezed juice, gourmet open sandwiches, seafood, grills and daily specials. During the day it is a popular street café with plenty of outdoor seating, strong Italian coffee and free wifi.

Café de la Creme

Café de la Creme is a pastry café and restaurant with homemade chocolate croissants and plenty of cakes to choose from. The restaurant serves breakfast, toasted sandwiches, salads, pasta and seafood dishes with daily chef's specials.

The Loft

The Loft serves salads, sandwiches, various sized steaks, pasta and a number of vegetarian selections which you can enjoy on the main level or above, on the loft. It is a good space for catching a sports game and the bartender proclaims to make the "smoothest daiquiris under the sun." There is live jazz music every Sunday, 3 to 6pm.

Northern Suburbs

La Cucina di Ciro

La Cucina di Ciro is one of Joburg's best Italian restaurants with a small but carefully selected menu that changes based on what is locally in season. Ciro is passionate about the quality of his food and has created a welcoming atmosphere in which to enjoy it. The restaurant is small so it is worth making a reservation to ensure getting a table. There is also an attached deli.


Moyo is a longtime Joburg restaurant with a few locations and flavorful food. The Melrose Arch location is situated on the corner in the center of a pedestrian shopping center with a large outdoor café section that spills onto a square. They have a wide selection of food that includes Moroccan tagine and a number of authentic regional specialties from South Africa such as Hermanus shrimp and Oudtshoorn ostrich.

Linger Longer

Linger Longer is a Johannesburg fine dining institution that has been serving customers in various forms since 1961. Set among intimate rooms throughout an old estate, guests can select from carefully prepared roasts, seafood or a handful of vegetarian options. The desserts are excellent and the wine list extensive.

Trabella Pizzeria

Trabella Pizzeria is a gourmet pizzeria serving tasty wood-fired, clay oven baked, thin crust pizzas with unique topping selections such as brie & cranberry or prawns with chili & honey. There is also a selection of salads and about 10 pasta dishes.

Long Men

Cyridene Chinatown is centered around Derrick St. There are a number of authentic Chinese restaurants, but Long Men is one that has been around for a while and tends to attract a dinner crowd. The menu is what you might expect from a Chinese restaurant including fried rice, hot pots and traditional Peking Duck. Expect quality fare in a basic setting.


Shahi Khana

Shahi Khana is an authentic Indian restaurant with India's "top 40" curries on the menu ranging from mutton and chicken to vegetarian and seafood. Tuesday evenings they have an all you can eat buffet for R65.


Imagique is a small coffee shop with soft sofas for lounging, a few tables and music. The majority of the menu is dedicated to a selection of unique desserts, with an emphasis on chocolate, but they also serve full meals from breakfast to dinner.

Real Sushi

Real Sushi is one of the better sushi restaurants on Grant Ave with a sushi conveyor belt encircling the main sushi bar.

Rainbow Sushi & Chinese Food

Rainbow Sushi & Chinese Food serves up inexpensive Chinese dishes and a similar selection of sushi. About one block north on Grant Ave, the same owners run Rainbow 2 (formerly Yo Sushi) which serves Japanese dishes and sushi.

The Schwarma Co.

The Schwarma Co. has burgers, steaks, and Mediterranean food including pitas, laffa and haloumi cheese. They also have a full bar and outdoor seating.


Europa is a European style café serving full breakfasts, panini, salads, pasta, steaks and light meals.

Café New York

Café New York is a half restaurant, half bar that starts to pick up later in the evening. There is a covered outdoor courtyard in back with loud music.

Melville's 7th St has the highest concentration of bars and cocktail lounges and is one of the most popular Joburg nightlife spots. For jazz, live music and clubbing head to the hip Newtown area around Mary Fitzgerald Square. Some of Joburg's best nightclubs and shebeens are located in the CBD and Hillbrow districts - but neither of these areas are the safest places to be strolling around at night, and it is best to go out with a local who knows where to go.

City Center & Newtown

The Bassline

The Bassline has been one of Joburg's top jazz and blues live performance destinations for many years - hosting both local and international musicians. It is only open when they have a scheduled event so call or check online to see what is going on.


Carfax is the city's most popluar big club. It's situated on a side street just off of Mary Fitzgerald Square and surrounded by industrial garages and machine shops. The club is only open when there is an event, so call in advance. When it is open, the street outside is fenced off and becomes a parking lot, while multiple DJs, often from local radio stations, move the trendy crowd on the dance floors. Be prepared to fork over a big cover charge.

Kippies Jazz

Kippies Jazz is a famous jazz institution with a life-size bronze statue of saxophone player Kippie Moeketsi, who the club is named after. Back in the day, Kippies put itself on the world map for hosting protest performances during Apartheid. The building just finished with a fresh remodeling job in 2009 but still draws the same old jazz lovers and top notch performers.


Kospotong is a hidden, hip urban night spot with an excellent vibe. The small club isn't always bustling during the week but brings in guest DJs on the weekends, drawing crowds that spill into the courtyard tables in the back. It is located right beside Sophiatown.


Statement mixes a classic cocktail lounge with a flat screen TV and a disco ball spinning in the back room. They serve bar food and a few main dishes, but their cocktail menu is twice as large as their food selection. They also have a few hookah pipes at the bar for those interested.



Six is a trendy urban cocktail lounge with a good selection of drinks, lush, striped lounge seating and deep red walls. It is packed on the weekends. When it is busy, security does a pat-down check on males as they enter. Two drinks for the price of one every day from noon-7pm.

Xai-Xai Lounge

Xai-Xai Lounge brings a flavor of Mozambique to Joburg resulting in its unique bohemian Jozibique atmosphere. There is lively music and a host of authentic Mozambican drinks, including caipirinhas, that can compete with the best of them. They also serve some pretty good Portuguese-African style food.

Trance Sky Beat Bar

Trance Sky Beat Bar is a popular meeting place that serves up plenty of pizza and buckets of beer. It plays pop music and attracts a melting pot of ages. The sofas, tables and bar are full on weekends, leaving standing room only.

Ratz Bar

Ratz Bar is by the same owner of next door Buzz9. It fills up with a comfortable crowd in the evening with most patrons enjoying a handful of reasonably priced cocktails.


Fashion Society

Fashion Society tries to be trendy in a small club space with white leather sofas and a few small cocktail tables. Live DJs play to the crowd on Thurs-Sat.

Café New York

Café New York is a half restaurant, half bar that starts to pick up later in the evening. There is a covered outdoor courtyard in back with loud music.