About Joburg

Johannesburg is a young city with an incredible history and legacy. The settlement sprang up in 1886 when prospectors found gold in the area now known as the Witwatersrand. When the discovery became public, thousands flocked here in search of fortune and new opportunities. Today, Johannesburg still attracts those who want to realise their dreams and achieve success.

The new city was named after two officials of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR); Johannes Meyer and Johannes Rissik. Johannesburg grew rapidly and quickly transformed from a small settlement into a full-fledged city. It seemed like nothing could stop its growth, not even the Anglo-Boer war. In those tumultuous times, and beyond, Johannesburg has always been recognized as the golden beating heart of South Africa.

Card Image


What to do in Joburg

Have fun in Jozi!

Explore Jozi

Safety in Johannesburg

Johannesburg is relatively safe by world standards and every effort is being made to ensure delegates safety when visiting the City.

As local government, the City takes direct responsibility for issues of safety and security and is assisting the SA Police Services (SAPS) in its efforts to reduce crime and improve safety in Joburg.

Facts about Joburg

  • The greater Joburg metropolis covers an area of 2300 square kilometres, making it larger than Sydney, London and New York – and similar in size to Los Angeles.
  • Johannesburg is home to 6.7 million people, the majority of whom are aged between 19 and 39.
  • Founded 136 years ago in 1886, Joburg is one of the world’s youngest major cities – and the only one not founded on a major waterway (bay or large river).
  • During this time, it has been rebuilt four times – starting out as a tented mining camp, it evolved into a town of tin shanties, followed by four-storey Edwardian brick buildings and then a city of modern skyscrapers.

Visa Information


International travellers who have permanent residence outside South Africa may apply for a visa to visit the country for tourism or business purposes for 90 days or less. Requirements for visitor’s visas differ from country to country so enquiries should be made at the nearest South African mission or consulate abroad or any office of the Department of Home Affairs to see whether or not a visa is required.

Emergency Numbers

  • Any emergency (from a mobile phone): 112
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Netcare 911 (life-threatening emergencies): +27 (0)82911
  • Fire: 10177
  • Nationwide emergency response: 10111
  • Automobile Association (emergency roadside assistance): +27 (0)861 000 234
  • City of Johannesburg emergency connect: +27 (0)11 3755 911
  • National Tourism Information Centre: +27 (0)860 121 929
  • OR Tambo International Airport: +27 (0)11 921 6262
  • OR Tambo International Airport – arrivals and departures: +27 (0)86 727 7888
  • Local number enquiries: 1023
  • International number enquiries: 10903
  • Child protection/domestic violence/sexual offences unit: +27 (0)11 403 3413
  • Fire brigade: +27 (0)11 375 5911
  • Poison information helpline (national): +27 (0) 861 555 777
  • The Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct: +27 (0)12 342 2945