Johannesburg Journals

Johannesburg: Worries, Wearies, Wonders, Wildlife

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A June 2006 trip to Johannesburg by travelswithkids

Premier Mine/Cullinan Diamond Mine Photo, Johannesburg, South Africa More Photos
Quote: Johannesburg was the air travel hub of our trip to southern Africa. With our various comings and goings, we spent three nights here.

Johannesburg: Worries, Wearies, Wonders, Wildlife

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Overview

Lion Park Photo, Johannesburg, South Africa
Quote:
We used Johannesburg as our central hub for a 18 day tour of southern Africa, flying in & out of Jo'burg.Worries, wearies, wonders, wildlife! Wearies because it took 2 days to get their (fly overnight Chicago-London, 12 hour layover in London, fly overnight to Johannesburg). The other two days when we wound up in Johannesburg were also after big travel days. Worries: my wife was the designated worrier for this trip: Will my husband remember to drive on the wrong side of the road? Remember the anti-malaria pills. Will we get car-jacked of mugged? (Johannesburg's reputation for crime, as well as the occasion highway sign warning "Hijack Hotspot" don't exactly fill you ...Read More

Garden Court Hotel

Hotel | "Garden Court Johannesburg International Airport"

Quote:
This is one of many hotels run by the Sun International hotel group, and was formerly referred to as the Holiday Inn Garden Court Joburg Airport --- there are other Garden Courts in Jo'burg also.It was a nice clean hotel, for about $120/night for a standard two double-bed hotel room. (We had two adults and two kids). The Garden Court was also quiet. They allowed us early check-in (about 10am) and we slept midday for a couple hours, having just arrived after a long journey from the US. I recommend it. But its not really near any "attractions" other than the airport.They have a shuttle bus (R25/person) that leaves the airport from outside the Intercontinental Hotel (like all the other sh...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2006

Garden Court Hotel
2 Hulley Road
Johannesburg, South Africa
011 392 1062

Hilton Sandton

Hotel | "Hilton Sandton Hotel"

Quote:
The Hilton is in the upscale suburb of Sandton. It's in an area with a lot of other hotels with plenty of nice shopping centers close by. Just across the street is a small shopping plaze with a smallish craft market, and the Hilton has a complimentary shuttle to the Sandton City shopping center, only a half kilometer away or so. Sandton City is a huge shopping mall adjacent to Nelson Mandela square which is lined with several nice restaurants.The Hilton is a very nice executive style Hilton hotel with full amenities such as spa, pool, concierge desk, parking garage (35 rand/day), executive lounge, and full-service restaurants.The service was very accomodating, and the room and bathr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2006

Hilton Sandton
138 Rivonia Road
Sandton, South Africa 2146
+27 (11) 3221888

Quote:
The Airport Grand Hotel Johannesburg is a pretty nice clean hotel, sort of the same order as a Hampton Inn in the USA, maybe a little bigger. We got a room for about $90/night (2 double beds for 2 adults and 2 kids), including breakfast for adults, so we thought it was a pretty good value for the money. BUT BEWARE! It is directly under a runway approach. The planes fly over the hotel only about 50 meters up and it is very LOUD! Standard foam earplugs will not keep this noise out of your head even inside the hotel rooms. There isn't any air traffic all night long, so we did get a good night's sleep (as long as you're ready to get up by 6:30 or so when planes start landing), but I'm very glad we didn't ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2006

The Airport Grand Hotel
100 NORTH RAND ROAD
Johannesburg, South Africa
118231843

Premier Mine/Cullinan Diamond Mine

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Attraction | "Cullinan Diamond Mine"

Premier Mine/Cullinan Diamond Mine Photo, Johannesburg, South Africa
Quote:
Cullinan diamond mine is a working diamond mine where, in 1906, they found the Cullinan diamond, still the largest uncut diamond ever found. It's on the edge of the town of Cullinan, a little ways northeast of Pretoria. We booked our tour through Premier Diamond Tours, whose name and number we found in a Gauteng province tourism guide. They provided a great tour roughly 2 hours long, led by a retired diamond mining engineer. He was the best part of the tour, since in his many years in the industry, he'd had enough experiences to fill a book, and he sprinkled anecdotes throughout the tour.You don't get to go underground on the tour, but they have some good displays explaining th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 21, 2006

Premier Mine/Cullinan Diamond Mine
Cullinan, South Africa
Johannesburg

Lion Park

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Attraction

Lion Park Photo, Johannesburg, South Africa
Quote:
After being out in the expansive game reserves like Kruger Park, it was a little odd coming to Lion Park, just outside of Johannesburg, relatively close to the posh suburb of Sandton. Lion Park is more like a zoo or smallish (200 hectare) game farm. It has two main parts: The game camps that you drive through and Cub World, where you get to have close encounters with a few animals. Cub World is what makes Lion Park a unique experience--you get to go in a small fenced area and actually pet lion cubs, including white lion cubs. They also have other animals and cubs such as cheetah, hyena, and jackals in penned areas. There was a pen for a leopard cub, but we were told he gets moved to a different,...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 21, 2006

Lion Park
Muldersdrift Road
Johannesburg, South Africa 2194
+27 (11) 460 1814

Driving in South Africa and Swaziland

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Story/Tip

Quote:
We rented a car for 9 days in South Africa, and driving ourselves around worked pretty smoothly. The main roads are very good, with mostly clear signs. There's a good expressway toll road between Johannesburg and the Kruger area. The tolls come out to about $3 to $4 for an hour's driving.We picked up our car from Europcar at the Johannesburg airport. We paid about $34/day for a Toyota Corolla, including coverage, taxes, etc. That seemed to be a pretty standard rate for that size car (manual) at various places on the Internet, although you can easily pay more if you just go straight to someplace like Hertz. With a rental car, you can also get a "free" rental cell phone from the airport. N...Read More