Download our new free travel app In Your Pocket City Essentials for IOS and Android.
Johannesburg is a sprawling city. Although it does have a definable centre (the inner-city central business district or CBD), many think of the northern suburb of Sandton as the city’s new commercial centre. Still, urban life tends to spread across various suburbs, each with its own distinct identity and style. Johannesburg has a large public transport system, although it doesn’t reach nearly as many places as we would like and it is not always reliable. However, the city's transport network is currently (and constantly) being upgraded and services like the Gautrain have proven particularly popular. Depending on the length of your stay most visitors will find that renting a car makes life easier - outside the city centre there are entire neighbourhoods that can be difficult to reach with public transport, and the situation becomes even more trying if you want to head into the countryside.
Driving in JohannesburgTo really get around Johannesburg easily you need a car - it’s as simple as that. Shop around and book in advance, and it won’t break the bank. Buy a good map of the city and plan your route before you set off and be prepared to practice a lot of defensive driving! Google Maps provides detailed directions and route information on South Africa, handy if you are travelling with your smart phone/tablet. For conventional (i.e paperback) detailed road maps of South Africa and neighbouring countries Exclusive Books has a great range.
There are many car rental companies operating from the airports and all the major global brands such as Hertz, Europcar, Avis, Sixt etc are represented. There are also a number of car rental companies based outside the Gautrain station in Sandton.
Long distance buses and trains
Most destinations in South Africa, and indeed much of the African continent, can be reached by bus directly from Johannesburg. Most long distance buses and trains leave from Park Station.