Johannesburg is known as the business center of South Africa fondly referred to as the City of Gold. All eyes are on Johannesburg as the trendsetter of all of South Africa as well as the economic pulse. Johannesburg is a diverse cultural melting pot that offers the hustle and bustle of what a big city should be, but with the beauty and greenery, that creates a more urban atmosphere.
Trees, trees, and trees abound throughout Johannesburg with more than 2328 parks home in the city. The city is often a destination for many visitors whether on vacation or business travelers. The museums, history, and the Mai Mai Market draw visitors from around the world. Most people when they think of Johannesburg, they often remember that the area is home to a large-scale diamond and gold trade with the Witwatersrand range of hills nearby supplying a wide array of minerals.
History of Johannesburg
The native name or Tswana name for the city is eGoli, a place of gold. History dates back to the period of the San and Stone Age people being the first to call the area home. The first change in the area came when Australian gold prospectors discovered the area and its wonderful minerals in the hills. By 1886, Johannesburg was a city, which was the beginning of what is known as the Witwatersrand Gold Rush.
With the discover of gold, Johannesburg was like any other settlement only with gold on the minds of the inhabitants in the beginning. Of course, once the word was out, people from around the world came to claim their land, which began to rise in price. This was just the start of this city that is now a modern city much like any other across the world.
Ellis Park Stadium – host of the 2010 World Cup
Ellis Park Stadium is home in the center of Johannesburg. The stadium was built in 1928 as a rugby union stadium. In 1982, the stadium was torn down and rebuilt once again for the main purpose of rugby. At this time, it was renamed to Ellis Park Stadium after JD Ellis a city councilor that approved the land to be used for the stadium.
To be considered for the 2010 World Cup a few improvements and upgrades were mandatory. The stadium now has a seating capacity to 62,000 with new improved media facilities, VIP areas, team whirlpools, handicap accessibility, and a new pitch and a top-notch audio-visual setup.
Soccer City – host of the 2010 World Cup
Soccer City also referred to as the FNB Stadium is the other stadium in Johannesburg that will host the 2010 World Cup. This stadium is the newest venue built on the African continent offering a wide array of features. This stadium will be the location of the first matches as well as the final matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
The new design of the stadium is of the calabash, which is an African pot. This stadium is in the southwestern part of the city close to Soweto Township. Upgrades completed for the 2010 World Cup includes the upper tier have been extended around the stadium to provide seating for a total of 94,700 spectators with an extra 99 executive suites. Other new construction or upgrades include changing room facilities, new floodlights, and the no spectator will be more than 330 feet from the action.
Johannesburg is a busy city and most people rent cars while in town. If you do plan to use a taxi service, the taxis do not roam around looking for travelers you will have to call the company in order to get a ride. Of course, you will find taxis as well as car hire companies at the airports and various places around town. This way you will be able to get to and from either stadium without any problems at all.
Lodging Accommodations nearby Ellis Park Stadium and Soccer City
You can find a wide array of lodging accommodations nearby both Ellis Park Stadium and Soccer City. Accommodations nearby Ellis Park Stadium include Sunnyside Park Hotel only 3km away, Protea Hotel Parktonian only 4km away, and The Aud’s Bed & Breakfast at 4km away. All have been rated with 4 or 5 stars by visitors and offer a wide array of amenities. If you prefer a location nearby Soccer City, you will also find a large variety of accommodations. A few examples include The Soweto Hotel on Freedom Square, Thuthuwedzo Guest House, and Connies Bed & Breakfast.
You can also find all kinds of accommodations that will put in Johannesburg without being near either stadium and allowing you to enjoy various areas of the city while visiting for the 2010 World Cup.
Restaurants in the area
Johannesburg is a diverse city offering a wide array cultural attractions and the same goes for the various foods that will entice your palate. A few of the most popular restaurants in the area include Addictions offering Eclectic cuisine, Gramadoelas with African cuisine, and La Cucina di Ciro with Italian cuisine.
Things to do in Johannesburg
Johannesburg has many wonderful things to see and explore. A few of the most popular tourist’s attractions include:
A Guided Tour of Soweto, which will allow you to embrace the biggest township in South Africa during the apartheid era. This was the home of the country’s revolutionaries such as Robben Island prisoner Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu that once called Vilakazi street home.
Apartheid Museum is the home to large amount of South Africa’s history. A walk through these doors is a walk through the lives of the South African’s that fought for their freedom.
Walter Sisulu Square is another historical item named after Walter Sisulu that found against the apartheid system in South Africa.
Hector Peterson Square named after Hector Peterson the man believed to be the first person shot during the June 16 1976 student riots in Soweto. Students were protesting against the use of Afrikaans as a language of instruction. State police used live ammunition against the protestors. The student at the time of his death was 14 years of age. His photo was shown on television and newspapers throughout the world.
Tour of Constitution Hill is the home to the creation of the first constitution of the democratic South Africa. Many conference and events have been held here throughout history.