About Johannesburg

Known as Joburg to the locals, Johannesburg is a little over 100 years old,  the second largest  city in Africa. From entertainment spots like casinos, nightlife clubs and bars to historical sites, the city of Johannesburg has everything that you have been looking for.

It’s the economic and cultural centre of South Africa, where people work hard and play harder. Everyone is on the move, from doing business to hitting the city’s nightspots until late. Joburg is a dynamic cosmopolitan city with great places to eat, interesting sites to visit and a good range of places to stay.

Banking & Currency 

CURRENCY South Africa’s unit of currency is the Rand, known informally as the “randela”. The currency code is ZAR and there are 100 cents in each rand. Banknotes are issued in denominations of R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10. Coins come in R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c units.

BANKING South Africa has a modern and sophisticated banking system. Foreign currency can be exchanged at most retail banks and bureaux de change. Retail bank outlets can be found in all major shopping centres, and ATMs are available in malls, some supermarkets and at petrol stations. Major credit and debit cards (Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted) can be used at most retail and hospitality establishments and to withdraw cash at ATMs.

Read on about Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT Value Added Tax (VAT) is an indirect tax of 14% levied on all consumer goods and services, except some basic foodstuffs. Price tags generally include VAT unless this amount is separately stated. Non-resident foreign passport holders visiting South Africa can claim a VAT refund – two refund offices are located in the international departures hall of O.R. Tambo International Airport. Present your purchases and tax invoices for inspection. See www.taxrefunds.co.za for more details.


Supplied at 220 volts and 50 hertz throughout South Africa, expect occasional shortages, and planned outages which are referred to as ‘loadshedding‘. Valuable electronics should be used in combination with a surge protector, available at large supermarkets, where you can also find converters for the bulky three-pronged plugs used locally.

Crime & Safety

Joburg can be the friendliest city but it also has a tempestuous streak. Be cautious and do not flash your cash or valuables around.


Police – Dial 10111 to contact a national call centre that can assign a patrol vehicle to attend to a crime incident
Fire and ambulance – Dial 10177 for emergency services
Cell phone networks – Dial 112 from any cellphone to be connected to a 24-hour emergency service operator. This is a free call
Medical emergency – Dial 082 911 to connect to Netcare 911’s 24-hour operations centre or 084 124 for ER24. Both are private emergency medical services

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Smoking is banned on all flights, airport terminals, food and beverage establishments and offices with no designated smoking areas on all public transport; in shopping malls and cinemas in Joburg. Hefty fines will be imposed if these smoking rules are not abided. Smoking in cars in the presence of children under the age of 12 is forbidden, while children under the age of 18 are prohibited from entering designated smoking areas and purchasing cigarettes.


Johannesburg has sunny days and not-as-sunny days. The seasons mostly blend into one another, with summer stretching from November to March and milder temperatures setting in from April to May. Summer temperatures average 25C° (77F°), with winter days dropping to a low of around 16C° (60F°).  Visitors coming to Tyrexpo Africa should pack comfortable clothing with outerwears for the cooler season.

Cellphones & Internet Access

The local dialling code for Johannesburg landline numbers is 011. From outside the country it is +27 11. Numbers starting with 086 can only be dialled locally. For directory information, dial 1023 from a landline. There are cell phone networks and each offers pay-as-you-go as well as contract call and data options. The network providers have stores in all major shopping centres, and airtime can be purchased at supermarkets and garage stores.

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Embassies & Consulates

Most countries are represented by embassies in South Africa. Embassies are generally located in Pretoria, a 45 minute drive from Johannesburg, while consulates of many countries can also be found in Johannesburg. Click here or the list of embassies and consulates.