General & Geography
With around one million inhabitants, Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and the metropolitan area is home to more than 4.5 million people according to abbreviationfinder.
However, the capital of South Africa is Pretoria, which is about 55 kilometers north. Nevertheless, Johannesburg (nickname: Joburg, less often Jozi) is something like the secret capital of the republic.
The average altitude is 1,753 meters above sea level, Johannesburg is inland and has no access to an ocean or major river. The distance from Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park in the east of the country is around 500 kilometers.
In connection with the huge city, you often only hear about the negative aspects: chaotic traffic, terrifying poverty and an exceptionally high crime rate. But Johannesburg has long since blossomed in many parts of the city and also offers interesting attractions for tourists.
Above all, Sandton and Rosebank are used by many vacationers for a few nights at the beginning or end of a trip. In any case, Joburg with the OR Tambo International Airport is the busiest hub on the continent and therefore also the gateway for most foreign visitors to South Africa.
There are countless flight connections from Europe, above all Lufthansa and South African Airways fly direct to Johannesburg from Germany in around 10.5 hours.
Climate in Johannesburg
Johannesburg in South Africa is located in the southern hemisphere, so the seasons are generally exactly the opposite of those in Europe. The South African winter therefore falls between June and August, while the South African midsummer falls between November and February.
Despite the altitude on the central plateau of the so-called Highveld, the climate in Johannesburg and the surrounding area is quite mild all year round and with 8 to 10 hours of sunshine also very friendly. Nevertheless, increased rainfall is to be expected, especially in the South African summer between mid- October and the end of March.
The potential rainy season is therefore largely identical to the wetter travel season in the Kruger National Park. In Johannesburg, however, the temperatures are more moderate: Although values above 30 degrees can occur between September and March during heat waves, these are rare exceptions.
As a rule, the Johannesburg metropolitan area has daytime temperatures of around 25 degrees and nighttime temperatures of around 14 ° C between October and March. In winter in July and August around 17 degrees during the day and an average of 4 degrees at night are to be expected. Frost is rare but occasionally occurs between late May and September.
When is the best time to visit Johannesburg?
In general, Johannesburg is easy to travel to all year round, as it is of course not a destination for a beach holiday and very few visitors will stay in the city for two weeks. In this respect, the choice of the best travel time also depends very much on the further route planning in South Africa.
Many tourists combine Johannesburg with a safari in the northeastern reserves in the area of the Kruger National Park, in the Pilanesberg National Park, around 230 kilometers northwest, or the Madikwe Reserve on the border with Botswana. The rainy season in summer is only partially suitable for such a trip.
This is less due to the sometimes high temperatures than to the effects of the rainfall on the vegetation and thus the ability to observe the animals: They are now disappearing from the few watering holes, as there are plenty of places to drink everywhere. In addition, the dense bush now offers much better cover.
But even if you don’t go on safari, we can only recommend the wetter summer in Johannesburg with reservations. The best time to travel is undoubtedly in the dry season between April and October, although the significantly cooler months of June and July (perfect for safaris!) Have been excluded from us.
Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine
|Daytime temperature||26 ° C||25 ° C||24 ° C||21 ° C||19 ° C||16 ° C||17 ° C||19 ° C||23 ° C||24 ° C||24 ° C||25 ° C|
|Night temperature||15 ° C||14 ° C||13 ° C||10 ° C||7 ° C||4 ° C||4 ° C||6 ° C||9 ° C||11 ° C||13 ° C||14 ° C|
|Precipitation in mm||125||90||91||54||13||9||4||6||27||72||117||105|
|Hours of sunshine||8||8||8||8||9||9||9||9||9||9||8||9|
The annual average temperature is 16 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is January (20.2 ° C), coldest month of June with averages of 10.1 ° C.
The annual precipitation is 713 mm on 72 days with precipitation. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. There is no rainy season, i.e. months with more than 175 mm of precipitation. In June snowfall is possible.
As our climate table shows, September is the sunniest month with an average of 9.4 hours of sunshine per day. The average annual sunshine is 8.6 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.
The following larger towns are nearby and have a similar climate: Ekurhuleni, Soweto, Tembisa, Boksburg, Krugersdorp, Mogale City, Diepsloot, Randburg, Brakpan, Centurion, Roodepoort, Sandton, Springs, Midrand, Benoni, Nigel, Randfontein and Alberton.
Sightseeing in Johannesburg
Johannesburg is not a classic beauty and still has to struggle with the challenges of a steadily growing metropolis in which the gap between rich and poor seems unstoppable. Nevertheless, the city has more and more to offer tourists. We are happy to reveal some of our favorites:
A stay in Joburg would not be complete without a visit to one of its outstanding (and incredibly affordable) steakhouses – above all The Grillhouse Rosebank at the Hyatt Hotel and Trumps Grillhouse and Butchery on beautiful Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton.
Every Saturday the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein attracts with countless delicacies, African live music and lots of joie de vivre. On Sundays we recommend a stroll through the great designer and souvenir stands at the Market on Main or the popular Rosebank Sunday Market.
A visit to the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill is a must to learn more about the rainbow nation’s past. A tour through the townships of SoWeTo is also eye-opening, if you rely on a competent and experienced guide.
We would strongly advise against visiting the Lion Park (recently the Lion and Safari Park) near Johannesburg. Interacting with caged lions may make for ‘great photos’, but is pure cruelty to animals. The babies are separated from their mothers, older animals are sold on hunting concessions. Those who like to see lions should go on a real safari!
Johannesburg weather in March, April and May
Average daily temperatures between 19 ° C and 24 ° C can be expected over the next three months. In Johannesburg it gets warmest in March, but May is a little cooler.
The expected rainfall is around 8 days in March, around 7 days in April and around 2 days in May.
In the period from March to May, the sun shines on average between 8 and 9 hours a day. The sunniest weather is in May in Johannesburg, but with a little less sun you will have to get by in March.