By Lauren Kmec
Johannesburg
South Africa
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Johannesburg, aka “Joburg” or “Jozi,” is South Africa’s largest city and one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world. Though Johannesburg is not actually one of South Africa’s three capital cities, it is often thought of as such, as it is the economic and cultural center of the country. Although Johannesburg was not a friendly place during the dark days of apartheid, today this city is much more welcoming to tourists, and its people are eager to share their newfound national pride.

EscapeWizard.com invites you to consider Johannesburg for your next vacation. The majority of flights will arrive at O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), the busiest airport in all of Africa and a major hub for South African Airlines. An alternative option is Lanseria International Airport (HLA), a smaller privately owned airport. Book your flight to Johannesburg with EscapeWizard.com (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php), and take advantage of our excellent rates. EscapeWizard.com can also help with lodging options; follow this link (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl) to book in the hotel part of our website. Make sure to check out our top selections, which include InterContinental and the Holiday Inn.

Once you have arrived, EscapeWizard.com strongly recommends a trip to Constitution Hill, an infamous prison during the days of apartheid. Though it was originally used as a fort, Constitution Hill was converted to a prison in 1892 and served as such for 91 years, during which time it housed several thousand prisoners, including Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Today, Constitution Hill is the site of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the nation’s highest court, and visitors are encouraged to tour the court as well as the former prison, which is now a museum that recounts the horrors of South Africa’s segregated past and celebrates its triumphant transition to a democratic state.

For those with a thirst for historical knowledge, EscapeWizard.com suggests visiting the Apartheid Museum, as well as the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum. The Apartheid Museum, the first of its kind, chronicles 46 years of forced segregation in South Africa, from ~1948 to 1994. Twenty-two individual exhibit areas tell the story of this ugly period in the country’s history, using such mediums as video, photography, text panels, and news clippings. Though a visit to the Apartheid Museum may be somewhat emotionally overwhelming, it is essential for a true understanding of South Africa’s evolution. The Hector Pieterson Museum commemorates the 1976 Soweto Uprising, a series of student-led protests against the forced introduction of Afrikaans into the local schools. This museum is named after Hector Pieterson, a 12-year-old boy who was one of the first casualties of the uprising. Although it tells a sad story, the Hector Pieterson Memorial is actually a symbol of resistance to brutality and the pursuit of equal rights for all.

For something a bit lighter on the heartstrings, EscapeWizard.com encourages you to visit the Johannesburg Zoo, one of the city’s most popular attractions. The zoo is quite vast, sprawling over 54 hectares with more than 2000 animals of 365 different species. This zoo is one of the few places in the world to see rare white lions; other highlights include elephants, antelopes, the ape house, and the walk-in aviary. For a real treat, EscapeWizard.com suggests taking a guided safari tour of the zoo’s grounds. These tours are offered both day and night, but we recommend the nighttime tour, as it is especially exciting to see nocturnal animals out and about.
   
If you are a soccer (or, as the natives call it, “football”) fan, EscapeWizard.com suggests viewing a match at either of Johannesburg’s two major arenas. Built in 1987, Soccer City Johannesburg hosted the first-round and championship matches of the 2010 World Cup, and it has played host to a number of other memorable games in South African soccer history. Ellis Park Stadium played host to the 2010 World Cup semifinal matches, as well as the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

EscapeWizard.com encourages culture seekers to take in a show at the Joburg Theatre, a world-class venue that features both internationally renowned performances as well as local productions in a variety of genres. The performance house is composed of three stages, a café, dance studios, and a community theater space.

As it has regenerated itself from the destruction of the apartheid regime, Johannesburg is clearly a city on the rise. So let EscapeWizard.com help you plan a trip to this amazingly resilient city and take pride in being a part of its victorious revitalization.
Hotels in Johannesburg
By Summer Brons
Holiday Inn
Zone Oxford Road, Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa
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When your vacation plans or business travels find you in Johannesburg, look no further than the Holiday Inn. O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) is just 25 km from the hotel and downtown is just 15 minutes away, giving the Holiday Inn a convenient location to all the finest offerings of the city.

During your stay in Johannesburg, be sure to explore the Sandton suburb, Soccer City Stadium and visit the white lions of the Johannesburg Zoo. Do a little shopping at the nearby African Craft Market and the Mall of Rosebank, right next door to the Holiday Inn.

You'll enjoy the convenience of Holiday Inn's on-site amenities, too. Keep up with work in the well-equipped 24-hour business center, work up a good sweat in the 24-hour fitness center, take a dip in the refreshing outdoor pool, or grab a bite to eat at the hotel's own restaurant.

The Elegant Velvet restaurant serves up fresh, unique flavors in a welcoming atmosphere. Elegant Velvet offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and offers a full lounge with a view of Johannesburg. Room service is also available from 6:30 AM until 11:00 PM.

When you're ready to wind down for the night after a busy day around Johannesburg, retire to the comforts of your private Holiday Inn guest room. Each room is equipped with a cozy bed, 32" flat-screen television, work desk, wireless internet access, coffee maker, mini refrigerator, hairdryer and bath amenities. Upgraded suites are also available for those seeking additional space for an extended stay or a special event. As always, members of the Priority Club Rewards program will also receive credit for their stay.

Choose the Holiday Inn for your Johannesburg lodging needs for a comfortable, convenient stay with a familiar face. You'll enjoy the amenities, the location and the affordability. Book your dates through EscapeWizard.com by clicking (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).
Hotels in Johannesburg
By Summer Brons
InterContinental Johannesburg
Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport Opp Terminal 3, Johannesburg, South Africa
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Offering a luxurious stay in Johannesburg just minutes from the O.R. Tampo International Airport (JNB), the InterContinental is an ideal choice for both the business and leisure traveler. Within walking distance from JNB, it's only a short train ride over to the Sandton CBD and all of Johannesburg's dining, business and entertainment options.

InterContinental's on-site conveniences make it easy to see how this hotel is one of South Africa's most sophisticated. Guests have access to a fully-equipped, staffed business center, a 24-hour upscale fitness center, the full service Camelot Spa offering everything from massages to pedicures, a heated indoor pool and complimentary wireless internet access throughout the premises. InterContinental also boasts ample meeting space and catering options, making it an ideal venue for your special occasion or important event.

Be sure to save time for a meal or two at InterContinental's own Quills Restaurant. Open 24 hours a day, Quills specializes in unique African game meats. You'll find offerings like crocodile, warthog, springbok and kudu, as well as an array of excellent local wines. Quills is the perfect opportunity to try something new! Relax outdoors on the terrace for breakfast, or make an evening affair out of it for an upscale dinner. Quills Bar is also open 24 hours each day with a full selection of your cocktail favorites.

Turn in after a long day to the comforts of your well-appointed InterContinental guest room. Each room features plush king beds, blackout curtains, cable TV and a DVD player, a work desk, coffee maker, mini bar, mini refrigerator, iron and board, hairdryer and bath amenities. Luxurious, upscale suites are also available for upgrade; perfect for an extended stay or special celebration.

Treat yourself to the finer things in life when you book your Johannesburg stay at the InterContinental O.R. Tambo Airport hotel. Plan your stay with EscapeWizard.com by clicking (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).
Hotels in Johannesburg
By Rose Overbey
Hyatt Regency Johannesburg
191 Oxford Road, Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa
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If you're looking for a great place to stay during your trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, look no further than the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg. Located in Rosebank,  a North Johannesburg suburb, the Hyatt Regency is in a perfect location for any traveling conducting business in the city or tourists looking for attractions nearby.

The hotel is decorated with African inspiration and features every luxury expected at a Hyatt Regency. On top of its prime location, the hotel also offers guests many attractions within its own walls. Whether you're looking for a relaxing spa experience or a luxurious and entertaining dining experience -- the Regency will not disappoint.

Upon arrival guests will be welcomed by friendly and accommodating staff. You have a choice of accommodations, depending on your needs. Whether you're traveling with a group, or alone, you're sure to find a room that pleases your tastes. As you settle into your room, you'll notice the luxuries associated with a Hyatt regency, including a granite bathroom, wonderful views of the city, and a comfortable bed.

As you explore the hotel you will stumble upon a variety of places to lounge, eat and relax. The Hyatt Regency Johannesburg features a many eating options. There is the Zaff Restaurant and Lounge, a restaurant that features a combination of cuisine from around the world. It features a comfortable dining room and experienced chefs. The Ndau Lounge is a great place to grab a cocktail after a long day. It is set along an outside terrace, which sets up a very relaxing environment. A DJ offers entertainment most nights of the week, so it is a fun place to hang out. Ndau Lounge also offers a variety of snacks for guests to enjoy as well.

For guest that enjoy pastries and tea, Tea Amo, is a great spot in the hotel that offers up decadent fare and refreshing tea. If you're visiting on Saturdays, you'll enjoy entertainment from the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. It is a wonderful experience, sure to delight! Ndua Lounge also features a Sunday family brunch every week, which is a wonderful time for friends and family to come together for a relaxing and enjoyable brunch. If you prefer eating in your room, the Hyatt also offers room service.

The hotel also features a spa, sure to rejuvenate any traveler. The spa offers services with a South African flair.  There are a variety of treatments to choose from, so you're sure to find something on the spa menu to fit your needs.

EscapeWizard.com highly recommends booking your hotel room at The Hyatt Regency Johannesburg. You can do so by following this link (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).