Johannesburg

Photo of Johannesburg

About Johannesburg

People tend to associate Johannesberg with crime; an image of gated communities sitting alongisde Third-World slums comes immediately to mind. However, this does little justice to this colourful and energetic city - the cosmopolitan beating heart of the South African economy - a city that is undergoing a rebirth after decades of decline, and is the world's leading light in urban renewal projects. A fun and friendly city with a great nightlife and some excellent, albeit, haunting museums, it is the ideal destination for students of colonial history and those who wish to soak up South African culture, and the best places to stay in Johannesberg will dispell all myths you may have about this wonderful city.

Called "Jo'burg" or "Jozi" by locals, the city has a vibrant street-life: local markets can be found everywhere, with street vendors plying their wares to passersby; pop-up barbers cutting hair on street corners; and locals selling everything from food to footballs. Another thing you will notice is how delightfully green the city is - there are over 6 million trees in Johannesberg.

Of course, scare-stories about the city exist in droves, but while you should always remain aware of your surroundings, try to look like a local and never brazenly display your wealth, you shouldn't let these stories pollute your picture of what is an animated and charming city.

Johannesberg's Neighbourhoods

  • Previously dodgy and dilapidated communities have been rejuvenated by a spate of urban renewal projects: Maboneng, for example, is now an artsy and hipster neighbourhood, with some of the greatest bars and clubs in Johannesberg.
  • The historic downtown area generally is exceedingly colourful and energetic, boasting some amazing markets
  • and Soweto, the best-known township of the city, has some incredible museums like the Apartheid Museum and Nelson Mandela House.
  • For a good time, you should head over to the Market Theatre area - arguably the city's cultural hub - which brims with music venues and bars, or 7th Street in Melville.

Far from being a place that rewards the aimless walker, while exploring the city you should book one of the many tour companies there, who are both informative and professional, allowing you to safely see the hidden nooks and crannies of Johannesberg.

What Not to miss

  • Museums: if you're interested in the history of South Africa and the evil ravages of Apartheid, check out Nelson Mandela House Museum and the Apartheid Museum in Soweto. The South African National Museum of Military History is also worth seeing, boasting an impressive collection of howitzers and ME 262 jetfighters.
  • Nature reserves: for a day trip, you should consider going to Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve outside the city, a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of urban life, and criss-crossed with mountain hiking trails. On your way back, go to the Lion Park.
  • Nightlife: head over to Fox Street in Maboneng or 7th Street in Melville for the bars and clubs. If you want to dance-till-dawn, check out the Market Theatre area, which dominates the music scene in terms of its venues and bars.
  • Gold mines: Johannesberg created much of its wealth through gold mining and throughout the city are disused mines like the Old Kromdraai which are well worth seeing.

Johannesberg is on the rise, ascending from the squalor and misery of decades-past, it is fast-becoming a trendy and extremely smart place to live, full of great bars, clubs and museums. The hotels in our collection of the best places to stay in Johannesberg will ensure your stay is safe and vigorously entertaining, in this city of joy and sunshine.

The best places to stay in Johannesberg

For a stylish stay

The AtholPlace Hotel & Villa is a property just oozing with glamour in a leafy part of town, yet within easy reach of Sandton, Johannesberg's commercial centre. There are nine individually designed suites plus a self contained four bed villa which is ideal for small groups or families. Relax in the library or by the pool then indulge yourself with a delicious dinner in the excellent restaurant.

For an apartment or villa

  • If self-catering is your preferred option, our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • The best time to go is during the months between October and March, when the temperature varies from 12 to 25 degrees.
  • Fly to O.R. Tambo International Airport, in Johannesberg.
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Johannesburg

  • Motel Mi Pi Chi 11 rooms from £48

    Johannesburg (Melville,)

    A quirky owner managed guest house, located in the inviting neighbourhood of Melville. Filled with turn of the century furnishings, each room boasts period features and bags of character. Snacks are available in the kitchen, and breakfast is included in the rate. Great value.

    Value chic  -  A very retro chic stay in a cosy suburb of Joburg
    Great walks  -  Through Melville Koppies Nature Reserve, just 1 km away
    Restrictions on children  -  Children above the age of 12 are welcome
    Sights nearby  -  Johannesburg Zoo is within easy reach
    Check prices
  • Arum Place Guest House 9 rooms from £52

    Johannesburg

    Charming owner managed guesthouse, located in the quiet suburb of Melville, yet within easy reach of the main sights of the city. Each room is a good size, with tea and coffee making facilities, en-suites, and sunny terraces. There's a pool and a hearty English breakfast served each morning.

    Value chic  -  An excellent value stay within easy reach of the city's sights
    Great walks  -  Through Melville Koppies Nature Reserve, less than 2 km away
    Kayaking  -  On Emmarentia Dam
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Check prices
  • Pablo House 8 rooms from £59

    Johannesburg

    A one of a kind modern, minimalist hotel within the popular neighbourhood of Melville. Each room is light and bright, with colourful interiors and the best have their own private balcony. A superb breakfast is served, plus there's a popular on-site coffee shop, and restaurant. Excellent value.

    City Style  -  A very chic stay in a smart neighbourhood of Joburg
    Great walks  -  To Melville Koppies Nature Reserve
    Kayaking  -  Emmarentia Dam
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Check prices
  • Hallmark House 47 rooms from £73

    Johannesburg

    Located in a trendy corner of Johannesburg, this hip hotel, designed by acclaimed local architect David Adjaye provides guests with an excellent value, stylish stay. Each of its rooms is decorated in rich colours with vibrant prints and private balconies. A buffet breakfast is served.

    Value chic  -  An excellent value stay in the heart of town - live like a local!
    Local markets  -  Shop at Maboneng Market
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Spa
    Check prices
  • Monarch Hotel 12 rooms from £112

    Johannesburg

    Dating back to the 1930s this former post office turned boutique hotel provides guests with a heritage stay amidst this characterful suburb of Johannesburg. Opulent suites include silk linens and capacious beds. Choose from indoor and outdoor dining and indulgent menus. A great stay.

    Local exploring  -  A perfect spot to base yourself for exploring the city
    Sights nearby  -  The Nelson Mandela Foundation is an interesting visit
    Restrictions on children  -  Children above the age of 12 are welcome
    Spa
    Check prices
  • Riboville 16 rooms from £115

    Johannesburg (9 Waterfall Drive, Waterfall City,)

    Boasting such picturesque views, you'd never believe you're just a 30-minute drive from beating heart of Johannesburg. Opulent suites, with enormous beds, are the height of luxury. This, combined with gourmet dining and equestrian facilities, is the perfect urban meets rural stay. Adults-only.

    Total relaxation  -  A very sophisticated stay, on the outskirts of the city, designed to relax and unwind
    Sights nearby  -  The Cradle of Humankind is a fascinating visit
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Restrictions on children  -  Adults only
    Check prices
  • 54 on Bath 75 rooms from £118

    Johannesburg

    A slick city hotel in a convenient location in central Johannesburg. Each of its rooms has a minimalist New York loft feel, with moody palettes and plush textiles. Continental dishes are served at Level Four Restaurant or enjoy drinks at the champagne bar. Outdoors there's a very inviting pool.

    City Style  -  Very luxurious hotel in a smart corner of Joburg
    Local markets  -  The colourful African Craft Market is just 200m away
    Sights nearby  -  Goodman Gallery is within walking distance
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Check prices
  • The Parkwood 16 rooms from £119

    Johannesburg (Parkwood,)

    Delightful owner-managed guesthouse with fabulous indoor-outdoor living. Each of the rooms is large, decorated in colourful palettes, and all the mod cons. Some with private terraces. There is an inviting pool, al fresco lounge areas, and well-maintained gardens. A superb breakfast is served.

    Total relaxation  -  A tranquil stay within easy reach of the sights of the city
    Restrictions on children  -  Children above the age of 12 are welcome
    Sights nearby  -  Goodman Gallery is moments away
    Great walks  -  Take a stroll to Zoo Lake
    Check prices
  • Clico Boutique Hotel 9 rooms from £124

    Johannesburg

    Sleek and modern boutique hotel boasting a popular gourmet restaurant. Focusing on its unique seasonally inspired menus it is a destination in itself - not to be missed. Rooms are light and airy, the best opening out onto a leafy garden with an outdoor pool. A great value stay.

    Foodies  -  Boasting a gourmet restaurant, a destination in itself, foodies will love
    Sights nearby  -  Goodman Gallery is within walking distance
    Kayaking  -  Out on Zoo Lake
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Check prices
  • The Peech 16 rooms from £131

    Johannesburg

    Stylish boutique hotel boasting commendable eco principles, designer interiors, and superb dining. The Peech family have turned their family home into a sleek address in the inviting neighbourhood of Melrose. Modern rooms are spacious with leafy garden views, and an inviting pool. A great stay.

    City Style  -  One of Johannesburg's chicest addresses
    Great walks  -  Through James and Ethel Gray park
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Restrictions on children  -  Adults only
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
    Check prices
  • 10 2nd Avenue Houghton Estate 15 rooms from £148

    Johannesburg (Houghton Estate,)

    Grand private house turned hotel, located in one of Johannesburg's smartest locale's Houghton Estate. This 15-bedroom hotel provides guests with lavish suites, large bathrooms, an outdoor pool and spa treatments. Gourmet dining is on the menu, though guests should be aware no alcohol is served.

    City Style  -  A stylish stay within easy reach of the city centre
    Sights nearby  -  Pay a visit to the Nelson Mandela Foundation
    Great walks  -  The Wilds Nature Reserve
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Check prices
  • The Residence 18 rooms from £155

    Johannesburg

    Nestled in the charming suburb of Houghton this refined hotel provides fabulous suites with Persian rugs and sparkling chandeliers. Some include private balconies with jacuzzis. There is a superb spa, excellent dining, as well as an inviting pool and sunny gardens.

    Total relaxation  -  Indulgent spa treatments, lavish rooms, in a leafy setting
    Sights nearby  -  Munro Drive Viewpoint is only a walk away
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Full of character
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  • The Munro Hotel 5 rooms from £165

    Johannesburg

    Located in a leafy suburb of bustling Johannesburg this charming B&B is a refined stay within an urban jungle. Trickling ponds and birdsong provide the soundtrack to your stay. Elegant rooms are filled with antique pieces, fine silks, and luxurious bathrooms. Lunch and dinner on request.

    Romantic Break  -  An adults only, refined hotel, ideal for a break for two
    Great walks  -  Through 'The Wilds' and the scenic Munro Drive Viewpoint
    Sights nearby  -  Joburg Zoo is just a short distance away
    Sailing  -  Boating on 'Zoo Lake'
    Check prices
  • The Michelangelo 240 rooms from £193

    Johannesburg

    Slick hotel in the heart of Johannesburg's CBD yet within easy access to many of its most popular sights. Towering tall this smart hotel provides guests with all the amenities: a spa, pool, and large leisure complex. Rooms are decorated in a classic style, with lavish bathrooms.

    City Style  -  Opulent address within easy access of Johannesburg's attractions
    Sights nearby  -  Do not miss a visit to Mandela House
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor pool
    Spa
    Check prices
  • Southern Sun Montecasino 119 rooms from £194

    Johannesburg (Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways,)

    A luxurious hotel located within the Montecasino complex, you're within walking distance of plenty of designer shops, restaurants, and bars. Bedrooms are made for lingering with smart bathrooms and modern amenities. An extensive breakfast is served.

    City Style  -  A very grand stay within Johannesburg
    Great walks  -  Johannesburg Botanical Garden is a perfect place to spend an afternoon
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Spa
    Check prices
  • Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa   41 rooms from £268

    Johannesburg

    A very sophisticated country house within an inviting suburb of Johannesburg. Dine on haute cuisine to your heart's content at "Into the Woods" the hotel's award-winning restaurant, or indulge in a spa treatment if that's more your style. Beautifully appointed rooms make it an idyllic stay.

    Foodies  -  Boasting a fine dining menu, gourmands will love this stay
    City Style  -  A very stylish stay in a smart suburb of Johannesburg
    Restrictions on children  -  Children above the age of 12 are welcome
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Check prices
  • Atholplace Hotel 10 rooms from £343

    Johannesburg (Atholl)

    A stylish hotel in Johannesburg, an ideal stop-off point for pre-safari trips, with a relaxed ambiance, a choice of two pools, pleasant gardens and a truly excellent restaurant with a changing seasonal menu. Explore the city or simply relax and recharge your batteries before the next adventure.

    Hideaway  -  Days can be whiled away languorously in the gorgeous grounds, making the most of South Africa’s temperate climate
    Sights nearby  -  Visit Nelson Mandela Square and discover the origins of mankind at the Sterkfontein Caves, an Unesco World Heritage Site
    Swimming Pool  -  There’s a main pool with a deck and sunloungers, plus a family-friendly pool with a shallow end
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
    Check prices
  • The Saxon Hotel 18 rooms from £475

    Johannesburg

    One of Johannesburg's finest hotels The Saxon provides luxurious lodgings in the heart of town. Sample Asian flavours at Qunu, a generous breakfast each morning, or high tea in the afternoon. Lavish interiors create a refined ambience whilst spa treatments are the height of indulgence.

    Foodies  -  Fine dining, high tea, with many ingredients sourced from an organic vegetable garden
    Spa breaks  -  Superb wellness programme: spa junkies will love
    Great walks  -  Through Hyde Park, just 1.5km away
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Check prices