- Electricity: 220/230 V, AC 50 Hz, plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins (2-prong plugs aren’t compatible with 3-prong outlets)
- Time zone: UTC +2; Central African Time (CAT) / South African Standard Time (SAST)
- Country dialing code: +27
- Joburg area code: (0)11
- More South African travel info…
If you’re the citizen of a country that requires a visa to travel to South Africa (SA), please apply for this in good time. It usually takes approximately a month to have a visa issued, but it may take longer and times may vary by country, so please apply as soon as possible. The department in charge of visas for SA is the Department of Home Affairs:
- List of countries exempt from SA visas
- List of countries that require a visa for travel to SA, and how to apply
You can also find a guide an independent guide to applying for a visa. I doubt there’d be any need to hire them to get a visa, but they have a lot of useful free information on their site. (It’s worth double-checking that info with Home Affairs, though, in case there have been any changes.)
Please note: Home Affairs are notoriously strict about regulations, especially the more minor and pointless ones. Make sure to carefully check that you’ve complied with all their rules—such as having sufficient blank pages in your passport, that your passport is valid for long enough after the end of your trip, etc. If you’re bringing your children, the requirements are particularly stringent. Although the regulations have recently been relaxed somewhat, you’re still strongly advised to make sure that you have the child’s unabridged birth certificate with you and a formal permission letter from any parent not travelling with the child.
Joburg (Johannesburg) has a number of airports, but the primary one is OR Tambo International Airport, which is host to a variety of airlines. Google Flights provides one of the best searches for affordable flights between major cities. For connecting flights from small regional centres, individual airline’s sites may be a better option.
There are various ground transport options once you arrive, including the Gautrain, which runs from the airport into the city. Unless you’re familiar with Joburg or an experienced traveller, the best option is probably to get a taxi from the airport to your destination. You can get one after you arrive—either taking one of the waiting taxis at the airport or requesting one via an app like Uber or Taxify—or you can book a taxi ahead of time (this may be rather more expensive, though).
Taxify is usually the cheapest and most reliable option, but you can easily check and compare fares for different taxi services online using RideGuru.
Ordering a taxi via a phone app is one of the easiest ways of getting around the city, but you can also use a traditional taxi service. A cheaper (though slower) option is to take a tuk-tuk (a small open-sided, three-wheel vehicle). They operate out of the Joburg suburbs Melville and Sandton (more details here).
There are also various public transport options, such as the Rea Vaya bus rapid transport system and minibus taxis. Minibus taxis have fixed routes but few set stops—you can get on or off almost anywhere you like along the route. Locally, minibus taxis are just called taxis or Quantums (after the model of the vehicle). It’s best to consult locals first for tips on getting where you want to go safely. Walking is also an option if your accommodation is near the university, but as with minibus taxis it’s best to consult your hosts or other locals first.
Joburg Tourism offers a useful portal to accommodation in the city. You can also find accommodation via a site like AirBnb. Areas just to the north and north-west of the University of Witwatersrand’s (Wits) East Campus (where the conference is located) are generally the safest options. If you’re in any doubt, feel free to ask.