Fast Facts About Johannesburg

Explore The Real Johannesburg

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The standard of accommodation in Jo’burg is very high, ranging from Backpackers to Luxury Hotels. Very good accommodation offered in private homes has mushroomed, and Bed & Breakfast/Guest House/Guest Lodge Accommodation as well as Self Catering, are a feature of this.
Every booking that is made through the hugely popular airbnb, means that the commission that is paid, leaves the country.
For this reason, please DO NOT use or support overseas commission based websites!

Fast Facts About Johannesburg

Personal Platinum Card :
+27 (0)11 710-4735
Personal Gold Card :
+27 (0)11 710-4040
Gold Business Card
Corporate Card :
0860 102-191
+27 10 217-4736
American Express Website

ATMs (Automated Teller Machine) :
Most ATM’s, which are found in all the major shopping centres, accept foreign cards, but confirm this with your bank before leaving home.
Choose an ATM in a busy and well lit area, as although I’ve never had the misfortune of being ripped off, it does happen.
Always be aware of what’s happening around you and don’t accept help from strangers.

Most ATM’s sell time to recharge your prepaid mobile phone.

Fast Facts About Johannesburg

These are the most popular banks in Johannesburg –
Standard Bank
Telephone : 0860 109-075
International : +27 11 636-9111
FirstRand Bank
Telephone : +27 11 282-1808
Telephone : 0860 008-600
Telephone : 0800 555-111
Telephone : 021 941-1377

Opening times of most banks are :
Monday to Friday : 09h00 to 15h30 and
Saturdays : 08H30 to 11h00.

The major commercial banks all offer a foreign exchange service.
24 hour Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) are scattered throughout the city.

Fast Facts About Johannesburg

•    Dressing for Business
Dressing for business is still usually formal.
Ladies wear is smart!
Gents, if unsure, a suite and tie.
Law, Accounting and Finance – formal.
Advertising and Entertainment – smart casual
Boardroom suits when dealing with a memeber of a Board
•    Casual Dressing
Summer – can be hot with rain, so shorts, jeans and T shirt with a jersey.
Winter – cold from May to August, so warm clothing with beanies, scarves, heavy jackets and gloves during the early morning and nights.
A waterproof jacket or an umbrella should be at hand for any time of the year.

Pretoria has the largest concentration of Foreign Representatives outside of Washington DC, with a few of them having Consulates in Jo’burg.
Botswana – Consulate General (tel. 011 403-3748);
Swaziland – Consulate/Business and Trade (tel. 011 403-2050/2036);
Zimbabwe – Consulate (tel. 011 838-2156/7).

Latitude: S26.204653°
Longitude: E028.039616°

Visa and Mastercard are used, and accepted, by just about everyone, whereas American Express and Diners Club have a fairly limited use.
Credit Cards are accepted at the vast majority of service stations (petrol/gas)!

The South African monetary unit is the Rand, divided into 100 cents.
Coins are issued in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5 denominations.

There are five denominations of South African banknotes : R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.
A Portrait of Nelson Mandela is on the front and a different Big 5 African animal on the reverse.
R10 is a rhino, R20 an elephant, R50 a lion, R100 a buffalo and the R200 note is a leopard.
The animals are sometimes used as a “currency”, and instead of being sold an item for R100, you could be charged one buffalo!

The rand is legal tender in the Common Monetary Area of eSwatini, Lesotho and Namibia.

Prior to 1982, the Rand was stronger than the US Dollar.
The exchange rate in 1994, the year the ANC came to power was R3,42 = $1.
In 2021, with ensuing political chaos and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Rand has been hovering around R15+- to the dollar.

The Big 5 on the reverse of the South African bank notes.

Johannesburg’s tap water is equal to the best in the world! It is supplied in bulk by Rand Water, which is a world class facility that constantly tests to check for an array of pathogens, pesticides and toxic algae, as well as for chemical endocrine disruptors.
The main supply is from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, high up in the Maloti Mountain in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The remote source, ensures that the water is unpolluted and clean, and is delivered via a network of dams and tunnels.
Without wanting to sound alarmist, if you do go into the rural areas where facilities like Rand Water just don’t exist, take care.
Bottled water is available in just about every shop.

We drive on the left!
Drivers must have a valid card type drivers license or an International Driving Permit.
The speed limit on highways is generally 120 kph (75 mph), 100 kph (60 mph) on other roads and 60 kph (35 mph) in urban areas.

Fast Facts About Johannesburg

Electricity is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second.
Four plug types M, N, C and D are used.
Type M – the most common domestic plug and socket is the old 15A type M, with 3 round pins. (BS 546, 15A/250V earthed)
Type D – is a smaller version of the type M above, is very seldom used today and needs to be used with an adaptor.
Type N – the new 16A type N, with 3 x 4.5 mm round pins (SA1-16P, 16A/250v earthed)
Type C – the CEE 7/16 Europlug is becoming more common.

The majority of power is generated by Eskom, and predominantly produced from coal burning power stations.
Eskom, until the early 2000’s, was a world leader in power generation, but the facility has been destroyed by ANC government corruption, and a lack of maintenance.
Power failures, disguised as ‘load-shedding’ are common during times of high electricity demand.

Plug Type M used in South Africa, eSwatini, Lesotho and Namibia
Plug Type D very seldom used today and needs to be used with an adaptor.
Plug Type N – used in South Africa and Brasil.
Plug Type C – used in South Africa and common in Europe, South America and Asia.

Leaded, unleaded and diesel fuel is available throughout Jo’burg, where most petrol stations are open 24 hours a day.
They often have 24 hour convenience shops as well as ATM facilities.
The price of petrol is Government regulated, so all prices in a specific geographic area will be the same, whereas diesel is not controlled, so every outlet determines their own price.
The cheapest price I’ve found in Jo’burg, is TOTAL Weltevreden Park on the corner of Lobelia and JG Strydom in the western suburb of Weltevreden Park.
The price of fuel is looked at monthly, and if needed, changes – either up or down, on midnight on a Tuesday going into the first Wednesday of every month.

Life threatening emergencies : 011 375-5911
Flying squad : 10111
Ambulance : 10177
Netcare (private hospital) : 082 911
From cell phones : 112

HOSPITALS : (to see where these hospitals are, click on this map of johannesburg)
These Hospitals in the northern suburbs have a 24-hour emergency centre.
Netcare Olivedale Hospital (Tel: 011 777-2000), Cnr Pres. Fouche/Windsor Way, Olivedale, Randburg. 24 hour retail pharmacy
Netcare Linksfield Hospital (Tel: 011 647 3400), 24 12th Avenue, Linksfield West. 24 hour retail pharmacy
Morningside Medi-Clinic (Tel: 011 282-5000), cnr. Rivonia and Hill Roads, Morningside,
Netcare Milpark Hospital (Tel: 011 480-5600), 9 Guild Road, Parktown West.
Netcare Rosebank Hospital (Tel: 011 328-0500), 14 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank.
The Government hospitals, which I would avoid, are –
Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (tel. 011 488-4911) Queens Road, Parktown, and
Helen Joseph Hospital (tel. 011 489-0666), 1 Perth Road, Auckland Park.

I strongly recommend that you get comprehensive travel and medical insurance before leaving home.
Make sure your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake, and that they’re not excluded.

Fast Facts About Johannesburg

South Africa has 11 official languages, with all of them being spoken in Jo’burg – Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.

Although English is universal, a lot of people you come into contact with, possibly won’t be able to understand or speak it.

Daily : Beeld (Afrikaans-language), Business Day (Business-oriented), The Citizen (Conservative), The Sowetan (Liberal), The Star (Centrist/liberal)
Weekly : City Press (Liberal), Mail & Guardian (Liberal), Rapport (National Party-oriented Afrikaans-language), The Sunday Independent (Liberal), Sunday Times (Conservative)

Your passport must be “….. valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of your intended stay, and have at least two blank pages (other than the official observation page) on which your entry permit can be endorsed.”
Make a photocopy of your passport, itinerary, travel insurance, credit cards and important phone numbers and keep them separate from the originals, in case of loss or theft.

Pharmacy, chemists or drugstores (same thing – different name!) are found in all the main shopping centres.
Daylight Pharmacy in Sandton City Shopping Mall (tel. 011/883-7520; daily 8:30am-8pm),
Morningside Dispensary, corner Rivonia and Allen roads (tel. 011/883-6588; daily 8:30am-9pm – every day of the year).
Most private hospitals have one in their foyer.
The following have a 24 hour retail pharmacy:
Netcare Olivedale Hospital (Tel: 011 777-2000), Cnr Pres. Fouche/Windsor Way, Olivedale, Randburg.
Netcare Linksfield Hospital (Tel: 011 647 3400), 24 12th Avenue, Linksfield West.

Fast Facts About Johannesburg

Like everything else that the Government (ANC) has touched, the Post Office is on it’s knees and basically dysfunctional!
Make sure to either insure or register any article you post as some never reach their intended destination, due to serious ongoing security breaches.

Aramex Store-to-Door Courier has pick-ups at most Pick n Pay Supermarkets; Checkers Supermarkets and Caltex FreshStop Convenience Stores.
PostNet, which offers an alternative postal service, has a number of outlets in Johannesburg.

Fast Facts About Johannesburg

There are more than 30 FM and almost a dozen AM stations that broadcast from, or can be heard in the city.
The 3 most popular stations are:
Radio 702 (Frequency: 92.7 FM – news and talk radio)
947 Radio (Frequency: 94.7 FM – adult contemporary music. Largest local station)
YFM (Frequency: 99.2 FM – music; oriented towards black youth, playing soul, hip-hop, kwaito, rhythm ‘n blues. Very successful station.)

Jo’burg and its shopping malls!!
These over 20 mega malls aren’t my favourite, but whether you’re in Soweto or Sandton, there’s a shopping mall to cater for your addictive retail therapy!
Usually open 7 days a week, on average from 09h00 to 18h00.

I prefer the privately owned, specialist shops tucked away from the masses.

The Johannesburg area code for local landline telephone numbers is 011.
All numbers dialled must include the area code, followed by a 7 digit number.

International calls would be preceded by the South African international dialling code +27.
An international call to a Johannesburg landline number would be +27 11 xxx-xxxx
An international call to a mobile number would be +27 xx xxx-xxxx

Johannesburg is GMT +2 hours. South Africa Standard Time (SAST) is followed all year, and there is NO summer daylight savings.
SAST is an hour ahead of Central European Winter Time, seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Winter Time and seven hours behind Australian Central Time.

Johannesburg has very little reliable public transport, and these are the only reliable
Gautrain is the highspeed commuter train that links Johannesburg and Pretoria and has a branch-line between Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport
Metered Taxis run throughout Johannesburg, but can only be picked up at a taxi rank, and not hailed on the road
Uber is very popular in Johannesburg, despite tensions between them and metered taxis.

•    COVID-19 : Register here for your Covid-19 Pfizer Vaccination
•    YELLOW FEVER : Except for children under one (1) year, a Yellow Fever vaccination is needed by all visitors if you travel to South Africa from a Yellow Fever area. This rule is strictly adhered to on arrival.

The climate in Jo’burg is influenced by its distance from the sea as well as its altitude of 1750m.
The relatively dry Highveld (the high central plateau where Johannesburg is situated) is a summer rainfall region, where short, sharp showers – often with lightning, fall between September and April.
Interestingly, Jo’burg’s annual average rainfall of over 800mm is very similar to that of London, and even more surprisingly – Jerusalem.
Summer days are mild (26deg. C) with cooler nights (16deg C.)
Winter is dry and bleak – but sunny, with days reaching the lower twenties, and nights sometimes below zero.

Snow has fallen 6 times in the last 50 odd years!

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