Johannesburg is the hub for most international flights to and from Southern Africa. The city grew rapidly following the discovery in 1886 of immense gold reserves beneath a low range of hills known as the Witwatersrand. Today, it is a vibrant, anarchic place of more than 4 million people. The city has a serious crime problem, but security in the suburbs is omnipresent and sufficiently effective. If you opt to stay at the airport, we recommend the 138-room InterContinental, across from the main terminal, with well-appointed accommodations, an attractive restaurant and a health spa-fitness center with an indoor pool.
Located in Dunkeld West Shopping Centre, the delightful dw eleven-13 restaurant, overseen by chef-owner Marthinus Ferreira, presents contemporary South African cooking. Diners choose between a three- or eight-course tasting menu, both paired with boutique South African wines. Standout starters have included roasted quail with mushroom purée, baby spinach and sherry velouté, and yellowtail ceviche. As for mains, the crusted springbok with parsnip and blueberry jus is delicious. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Unique African Gifts
In the Kramerville section of town, not far from the Fairlawns hotel, Amatuli holds an extraordinary trove of crafts, furniture, art and decorative pieces from all over Africa. Curated by Mark and Christine Valentine, the selection can be overwhelming, but you will depart laden with easy-to-carry, one-of-a-kind gifts.
A Favorite Art Museum
Although best known as South Africa’s commercial center, Joburg celebrates the arts with great style. We particularly like the Wits Art Museum, which is part of the University of the Witwatersrand. The museum opened in 2012 and brings together a fascinating collection of more than 9,000 items, with works dating from 4 B.C. to the present.