CyclingCycling is a hugely favoured pastime here, but with its relative lack of cycle lanes and attention to safety the city is not always safe for cyclists. The Johannesburg Urban Cyclists Association (JUCA) promotes and defends the use of a bicycle as a day-to-day transport solution and has been part of the campaign to make Joburg bike-friendly. Their efforts have already seen success with bike lanes installed in urban areas such as Braamfontein and parts of Soweto and more are on the way in the city's business hub Sandton. JUCA publishes a Joburg Bicycle map available at www.juca.org.za
Much of Johannesburg, especially the northern suburbs, is designed for cars rather than pedestrians and distances can be long and uninteresting. However, during the day the heavily built up areas of the City Centre - particularly the elegant Mining District and Braamfontein - are easily navigated, and arguably best enjoyed, on foot. Some of Joburg's prettier neighbourhoods such as Melville or Parkhurst are also nice to explore on two feet.
If you choose to walk do so in daylight hours, and don't flash your valuables. Try to avoid deserted streets. Do not attempt to walk through the central Joburg areas of Hillbrow, Berea, Joubert Park and Yeoville without a local guide and crossing the bridges over the rail tracks from the CBD to Braamfontein after dark is also highly discouraged.
Keep your wits about you and try to stay street smart and you may find this a surprisingly nice city to stroll in. Although Joburg has a reputation for crime, the biggest dangers to pedestrians in this city are often the cars. Many Joburgers become completely oblivious to the existence of the rest of humanity as soon as they get behind the wheel. Do not automatically expect drivers to stop to let you cross, even if they are at a red light, and be especially cautious near major roads.
Navigating the cityNavigating the city can sometime be tricky. Street signs are not always visible, and many addresses are given as the corner of two streets rather than as a numbered single-street address. Always check whether numbered street names, such as 1st or 2nd, are streets or avenues.
Street names, especially those of major thoroughfares, are easily changed and the installation of new street signs does not always keep pace with the renaming. Some streets, and even towns, have two names: the pre-democracy (generally Afrikaans) name and the post-apartheid moniker. Pretoria, the country’s capital and Joburg’s neighbour, is now in the municipality of Tshwane, and you will sometimes hear Pretoria referred to as Tshwane. The R24 highway that runs from the city centre all the way to O.R. Tambo International Airport was recently renamed Albertina Sisulu Road in honour of the anti-apartheid struggle hero.
Some days it seems as if the most aptly named street in the city is Error Street in the inner city.