Public transport

Visitors are warned that Johannesburg, much like Los Angeles, is a young and sprawling city geared to the freeway-borne private motorist, and lack of convenient public transport is a serious obstacle for tourists to the city.  Spend any amount of time in Joburg’s rush hour traffic and you will get some idea of the huge number of vehicles on the city’s 9 000 kilometres of roads.


Minibus taxis (travel/advice/joburg)

Like many African cities, Johannesburg has a chaotic informal public transport system in the form of minibus “taxis”. These are not taxis in the typical Western sense of the term – they won’t give you a lift to your doorstep. Rather, they are small-scale bus services, often unmarked, operating with neither timetables nor formal stops.

Taxis are the cheapest form of transport in Johannesburg, and are the daily transport lifeline of the bulk of the working population. They are also the only form of public transport that penetrates every last sector of the city, including the poorest shack settlements.

Tourist should exercise caution:

  • The use of the taxi system requires an expert knowledge of the unwritten knowledge of hand signs indicating which taxi is travelling where, and an understanding of the various routes and how they intersect.
  • Minibus taxi drivers, can stop without warning whenever a passenger wishes to climb on or off.

Metered taxis – There are conventional metered taxis, but unlike in many other countries these do not cruise the streets in search of passengers, and must generally be summoned by telephone. Major hotels do often reserve base for taxi companies, or they can quickly make arrangements for visitors.

Railway system – The metro railway system is the cheapest form of transport, connecting central Johannesburg to Soweto, Pretoria and most of the satellite towns along the Witwatersrand.

The railway infrastructure was built in Johannesburg’s infancy and covers only the older areas in the city’s south. In the past half century Johannesburg has grown largely northwards, and none of the northern areas, including the key business districts of Sandton, Midrand, Randburg and Rosebank, have any rail infrastructure.

Bus services – Getting around Johannesburg is very convenient with busses regularly running on the various routes around the city.
metrobusMetrobus is the second largest municipal bus operator in South Africa, with 532 buses covering 80 scheduled routes and 130 school routes. The fleet includes six special needs buses fitted with hydraulic wheelchair lifts. Metrobus transports about 90 000 passengers daily. One of its primary focuses is to provide transport for major events.



greyhoundGreyhound – Maintain and expand the business by providing service of superior quality with a personal touch to customers, ensuring the requisite rewards for all our stake holders.



saroadlinkSA Roadlink – provides 5-star luxury coach travel at affordable prices, making long-distance, intercity travel a reality for persons who could previously only make use of taxis and semi-luxury buses.



rea_vayaRea Vaya Network – buses were build-up to the 2010 World Cup, and the network has rapidly expanded including the Inner City, Newtown, Braamfontein and Auckland Park. The fleet is comfortable, and timetables are more strictly adhered to than metro lines. An inner-city circular route costs R5.50, while a full trip from the feeder routes to the Inner City costs R12.50.

Tour Operators: The many tour operators in Johannesburg can advise you on the perfect way to get to know the city and see the sights. Tour guides can give you unique insights and background information and show you all the hidden gems.

Ciysightseeing Joburg Starting from Park Station, these hop-on, hop-off red buses run to 11 major tourist sites around central Johannesburg, including Gandhi Sq, Constitutional Hill and Carlton Centre, as well as the Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City, Newtown and Braamfontein. They run from roughly 9am to 6pm. A ticket valid for one day costs R170. Check the website for details.

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Minibus Taxi – R6 will get you around the inner suburbs and the city center and R10 will get you almost anywhere. If you take a minibus shared taxi into central Jo’burg, be sure to get off before it reaches the end of the route, and avoid the taxi rank – it’s a mugging zone. Getting a minibus taxi home from the city is a more difficult proposition.

There’s a complex system of hand/finger signals to tell a passing taxi where you want to go, so it’s best to look as though you know where you’re going and raise a confident index finger (drivers will stop if they’re going the same way).

Car Rental – Renting a car in Johannesburg puts everything in the city within easy reach and gives you the freedom to go where you want.  Many car hire companies are represented at OR Tambo Airport, although some might have offices in the city. Vehicles can be collected from OR Tambo International Airport or numerous outlets in the cities or suburbs.

The country has a developed road infrastructure and routes are generally well sign-posted. South Africans drive on the left side of the road.

Drivers must have an international driver’s license and a minimum of five years’ driving experience to hire a car in South Africa.

There are numerous reputable car-hire companies that can assist you with vehicle rental arrangements. Comparison of prices and booking can be done efficiently via the internet.
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