Johannesburg is the biggest, richest, most intimidating, and arguably the most important city in South Africa. Yes it’s not exactly the safest city in the world but by taking the right precautions like always locking your car doors and being aware of your surroundings you’ll probably be fine. The city sprawls out in many directions and it’s quite difficult to get around without a car. The sparkling new Gautrain public transport system can get you to the airport and Pretoria with ease, but it’s not a comprehensive system like the London Tube or the NYC Subway.
On the other hand, there is a convenient but cliche alternative to hiring a car: the big red hop-on hop-off tourist bus. I have successfully avoided ever taking one up until now. It’s just not my cup of tea. But with only one day to explore the city and the fact that the Apartheid Museum is very difficult to reach without a car I opted for the big red bus. A 1 day ticket cost me around 130 rand online.
It took a while but the bus was on time and got me to the only 2 places I wanted to really check out: the Top of Africa observation deck and the Apartheid Museum. If you don’t have a car in Jozi, then I’d recommend using the big red bus. And if there is a single place in the world where it actually does make sense to take it, it’s here.