Choose your country and language:
JJohannesburg might be something of an urban jungle, but it also has some wonderful natural attractions, adding much to the fascinating nature of this city.
The land on which Johannesburg is built was once grassland, but is now the biggest urban forest in the world, with over 10 million trees in its city, gardens, 600 parks, open spaces and suburbs.
The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Kloofendal conserves a piece of the original grassland, as well as succulents and ferns. It has over 120 bird species, including the only pair of nesting Verreaux's (black) eagles in Johannesburg.
The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia is famed for its rose garden and the numerous waterfowl found in the reed beds of Emmarentia Dam (a great venue for a picnic). Another worthwhile nature spot is Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve on the way to Heidelberg. This reserve covers over 13 000ha and has excellent hiking trails, as well as an abundant antelope and bird population.
Just as close to the city centre are the Melville Koppies. In these hills there is an Iron Age village and smelting works. You can enjoy guided walks in this undeveloped natural area.
Further out of town, it's a good idea to make your way to the Sterkfontein valley and the Cradle of Humankind - one of the world's most significant palaeontological sites. Take a trip underground and visit the exquisite Wonder Caves and while you're in the area enjoy a trip to the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve to see the big cats.
The Magaliesberg mountains and the water sport mecca of Hartbeespoort Dam are also accessible from Johannesburg in little under an hour's drive.
Travel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)11 883 3525
How to get here
Johannesburg is easily accessible by plane, train and car. International and domestic flights land and depart from the very busy OR Tambo International Airport on the outskirts of the city.
Things to do
Make time to visit the townships of Soweto and Alexandra, take in a Johannesburg nightclub, enjoy the restaurants and the late night vibes, and head out of town to see the Cradle of Humankind (don’t miss a tour of Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves), the Magaliesberg and the Hartbeespoort Dam.
Take of tour of Soweto, Gold Reef City, Constitution Hill, or the Apartheid Museum.
There are winter concerts held at both the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens and the Emmarentia Botanical Gardens.
What to pack
Johannesburg has exceptionally fine weather - mild and temperate in summer (October to March) and chilly winters (May to September). But even in winter, the days are usually fine and sunny.
Where to stay
B&Bs, home-stays, township guesthouses, backpackers country lodges, world-class city hotels...you name it, Johannesburg has it.
- Maropeng Visitor Centre
- ￼South African Nature Reserves
- Johannesburg City Parks
- Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
- South African National Biodiversity Institute
- Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve
- Melville Koppies
- Lion and Rhino Nature Reserve