Johannesburg, also known as Egoli or the “City of Gold,” is the largest city in Africa south of the Sahara and the industrial and financial heartland of the Southern African continent. Big, brash and going places, Johannesburg and its joined-up neighbours are Africa's most cosmopolitan metropolitan area thanks to the millions of people who have flocked here to make their fortunes over the years.
Two stadiums were prepared for the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. The opening game will be played at Soccer City in the apartheid-era black dormitory suburb of Soweto, where a 95,000-seat beauty rose up on the site of the old FNB Stadium. The existing Ellis Park Stadium in the City was reworked to beef up to 70,000 FIFA-standard seats.
There is a great deal more to see and do in the dynamic City of Johannesburg than simply watch soccer:
Gold Reef City sits at the site of an old gold mine. You can take a trip in a lift down a shaft to a genuine mine where even the sweltering temperature is accurate. The theme park that has grown up around it includes a casino and many opportunities to discover African music, dance, history and food.
Melville Koppies Nature Reserve
Take time out to visit the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve. There you can wander across grassland studded with landmark kiepersol trees or scramble up boulder-strewn hills to the remains of a Stone Age settlement. From here, you can also see the skyline of the great city awaiting your visit.
James Hall Motor Museum
The James Hall Motor Museum has various modes of land transport on display, many in original condition including steam-driven vehicles, trains, trams and tram buses, animal drawn transports and motorcycles, bicycles and cars of all descriptions.
The Apartheid Museum in the old prison complex highlights the victory of the indomitable spirit of Nelson Mandela and others over prejudice and adversity. Who can forget the images of the great man lifting his fist in triumph on the day of his release?
Constitutional HillThe story of South African freedom continues on Constitutional Hill where the Constitutional Court stands guard over this site of battles that date back to the Boer War. It relates the chilling story of the fight for freedom over many years through a series of interactive exhibits containing fascinating historical artifacts.
After a tiring day, visitors can retire to Emmarentia Dam and the Johannesburg Botanic Gardens where they can while away their time in gentle strolling, or perhaps a cup of coffee and a slice of cake at the tea garden.
There is a great deal more to Johannesburg than just another big brash city. In fact, there is enough to see to justify a stay of several days. It is also not as dangerous as people think – you are no safer in downtown London or New York City’s Central Park if you fail to take precautions.