49 Interesting Facts About Johannesburg (2024)

Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest metropolis, ranking among the world’s top 50 largest urban regions. Popularly referred to as Jo’burg, the city is a must-see and you will undoubtedly pass through it on your travels.

The city is densely packed with historical and cultural monuments. There is a wealth of information available on this city, also known as the City of Gold. Additionally, there are a lot of interesting Facts about Johannesburg you should know.

Interesting Facts About Johannesburg

1. The city of Johannesburg was formed in 1886. This occurred when European immigrants discovered gold on a nearby property in 1884.

2. The discovery of Gold brought about what became known as the Witwatersrand Gold Rush, which drew over 1,000 white settlers.

3. Johannesburg now has a population of almost 8 million people making it the country’s largest city.

4. When Europeans first arrived in South Africa, the majority of them were given the name Johannes.

5. The surveyor-general Hendrik Dercksen Christiaan Johannes Joubert was one of the important men who went by the name Johannes. He was a Volksraad member and served as the Republic’s chief of mining.

6. There are no formal records indicating the origin or selection of the name, Johannes.

7. Johannesburg is one of the world’s forty largest metropolitan areas. It is also Africa’s second-largest metropolis.

8. Johannesburg is South Africa’s financial and industrial capital, deriving from a long history of gold mining.

9. There is an Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. A visit to the Apartheid Museum is necessary to gain a thorough understanding of the Apartheid era in South Africa.

10. Johannesburg is frequently referred to as Africa’s economic superpower. It has multiple business districts, including Sandton, Rosebank, and Roodepoort.

11. The Johannesburg Securities Exchange, the country’s sole stock exchange, is ranked among the world’s top twenty stock exchanges.

12. Johannesburg is home to some of the world’s tallest buildings. Sentech Tower, Hillbrow Tower, Carlton Centre, and Ponte City Apartments are among these structures.

13. Numerous international corporations, including IBM, Absa, BHP Billiton, Willis Group, First National Bank, Nedbank, and Standard Bank, all contribute to the city’s skyline with their tall buildings.

14. The core business district features architecture in four distinct styles: Victorian Colonial, Edwardian Baroque, Art Deco, and Modernism.

15. Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg was designated for deliberate segregation. Black labourers lived here in corrugated iron shacks.

16. These two cities merged in 1994, Soweto into Johannesburg. Outside of Johannesburg, a former collection of communities was elevated to the status of a city.

17. According to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, Johannesburg is an alpha global city.

18. Johannesburg is home to the world’s largest artificial forest.

19. The city has over 6 million trees. The majority of trees in this metropolis are not indigenous, as Johannesburg was formerly a grassland.

20. Due to this urban forest, the greenhouse effect has been eliminated in this metropolis.

21. Johannesburg is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly cities.

22. The Johannesburg Botanical Garden is a prominent leisure facility in this city.

23. Johannesburg is home to the continent’s largest hospital.

24. Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg is Africa’s largest hospital and the third-largest in the world. The hospital employs 6,760 people, has 3,400 beds, and is spread across 170 acres.

25. Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport is Africa’s largest and busiest. Annually, the airport receives about 21 million passengers and processes up to 28 million.

26. OR Tambo International Airport is South Africa’s major airport for domestic and international travel.

27. The Mandela Museum is one of Johannesburg’s most popular attractions.

28. The Nelson Mandela National Museum, also known as the Mandela House, is located on Vilakazi Street in Soweto’s Orlando West neighbourhood. Nelson Mandela, a former president, lived here from 1946 to 1962.

29. On 1 September 1997, Mandela donated the house to the Soweto Heritage Trust to be used as a museum.

30. The Mandela House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999.

31. Johannesburg is home to 40% of human fossils. It is home to a thriving archaeological site dubbed the Cradle of Humanity, which is located on the city’s outskirts.

32. This city is home to the deepest mine in the world. Johannesburg began as a mining community. This indicates that it was one of the deepest mines dug there.

33. It is the world’s largest gold mine. Over 10,000 years ago, primitive people lived there. Archaeologists discovered a large number of well-preserved stone implements.

34. Taxis in Johannesburg should be reserved in advance, either through the app or over the phone. Catching a car on the street is pointless; there is a probability of catching a “shared cab,” which carries a significant risk of robbery.

35. This city hosted the FIFA World Cup matches in 2010.

36. All neighbourhoods in this city are classified as “excellent” or “terrible.” It’s somewhat safe throughout the day in excellent neighbourhoods, while dangerous neighbourhoods are risky 24 hours a day.

37. The majority of the local centre in Johannesburg is quite unsafe, and the abandoned skyscrapers are occupied by local gangs or simply homeless people.

38. Grilles are typically erected on all floors of apartment buildings in this area, not just the first.

39. Tourists may experience vertigo in this area. Johannesburg is located at an elevation of more than 5,500 feet (1,700 meters) above sea level and hence has a lower air pressure than most of us are accustomed to.

40. Once upon a time, Johannesburg’s Hillbrow region was densely packed with renowned skyscrapers. It was abandoned during South Africa’s economic collapse at the turn of the twentieth century and swiftly devolved into a hazardous slum akin to Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.

41. Johannesburg is typically cool in the winter, with occasional frosts. The coldest temperature ever recorded here was 19,4 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 degrees Celsius).

42. The unemployment rate in Johannesburg changes from year to year, but it is consistently quite high, reaching up to 35-37 per cent. This is one of the reasons behind the area’s high crime rate.

43. Johannesburg has nearly double the number of sunny days per year as New York City.

44. Only one-third of the local population speaks English as their first language, according to the most recent census. Numerous immigrants arrive from neighbouring nations that are much less poor than South Africa.

45. Johannesburg is home to the Carlton Centre, Africa’s tallest structure. That is a 50-story building with a 731-foot height (223 meters). At the time of completion, it was generally the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere.

46. Around 7% of the local population in Johannesburg remains illiterate. They are largely comprised of immigrants and slum residents.

47. Johannesburg accounts for 16% of the Republic of South Africa’s overall GDP.

48. Berea and Hillbrow in Johannesburg have been frequently listed among the most criminal neighbourhoods in the world’s megacities.

49. The action of Neill Blomkamp’s science fiction film “District 9” took place in Johannesburg’s slums. The fight between natives and aliens is a reference to the tensions that have remained in the indigenous society since the end of apartheid.



So, there you have the interesting facts about Johannesburg as we have compiled them together for you. These facts cut across all phases of life and all areas of Johannesburg.

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