Battle of the Giants – Cape Town vs Johannesburg


Have the best of both cities - with flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town

It’s true that Cape Town has it all, but if you want to get a real glimpse of everything the country has to offer, you’re better off flying into Johannesburg on your trip to South Africa.

Let’s compare, or rather lay out the benefits of these two top destinations, side by side to help you plan the perfect trip down south.


O.R. Tambo Airport is Africa’s busiest airport welcoming over 20 million travellers every year. As such, it offers a well-oiled and welcoming introduction to South Africa.

Flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town depart daily, so you can jet off on the next leg of your trip hassle-free and whenever you’re ready.

Fortunately, most airlines are flexible with changing your flights nowadays. That’s because you’ll probably end up wanting to stay longer once you discover some of the city’s many unexpected delights.

The state-of-the-art Gautrain departs directly from O.R Tambo to Sandton and Rosebank, which is where you’ll find all the most luxurious hotels. Of course, you can opt for car hire, an Uber, taxi, or limo transfer instead.

When you arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa’s busiest commercial hub, two things will strike you at once. Firstly, the stunning skyline and secondly, the astonishing number of trees in the city. There are over 6 million trees in Johannesburg, more than most cities in the world.

Cape Town International Airport’s an award-winning hub that handles around 10 million passengers annually. From there you can hire a car or a taxi to take you into the city, where you’ll find a multitude of first-class hotels and attractions.

The dominant feature on the Cape Town landscape is the iconic Table Mountain, which overlooks the city bowl and is itself a source of much enjoyment for visitors and locals alike.

Cape Town’s an undeniably clean and beautiful city, with plenty of green spaces and flanked by two oceans. Just a few kilometres outside the city limits you’ll find exquisite mountain passes to explore and lush winelands brimming with fine food, wine, and laid-back activities.

First Class Amenities

You’ll find some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the country located in Johannesburg, offering flavourful local delicacies, plush rooms, and inimitably friendly South African service.

The Westcliff, The Winston, and Fairlawns abound with old world decadence, while you’ll find modern luxury in spades at the Saxon, Hyatt Regency, and Melrose Arch.

Top restaurants include:

• Luke Dale Roberts X the Saxon

• Marble

• View Restaurant

• AtholPlace

• Clico

Cape Town’s no slouch in the restaurant department either, being home to almost all South Africa’s top ten restaurants both in the city and nearby. Some of the best ones are La Colombe, The Test Kitchen, and FYN.

The World’s Best Restaurant for 2019, Wolfgat, is just over an hour’s drive from the city at Paternoster.

Of course, you’ll find no shortage of fine hotels in the city and surrounds either, most of them boasting exquisite sea views. The 12 Apostles, The Silo, and the One & Only spring to mind but there are dozens more.

Weather Wise

Johannesburg beats Cape Town hands down when it comes to winter weather, the temperatures are mild by northern hemisphere standards and there’s no rain. Summers are hot with occasional short, dramatic thunderstorms punctuating the afternoon.

By contrast, Cape Town winters are cold and rainy with strong winds at times. The summers make up for it with gloriously long hot days. Fortunately, there’s plenty to keep busy in either city no matter what the weather dishes up.

During the busy school holiday season, flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town fill up as the city empties out and the locals head to the coast. So, you get to explore the city without the usual traffic jams and busy streets. On the other hand, Cape Town’s at its fullest during these times, which can be a little frustrating.

Unique Activities

When it comes to things to do, the cities are pretty neck and neck depending on your interests. Some of Johannesburg’s most iconic nearby activities include:

• Bungee jumping from Orlando Towers

• Vilakazi street where Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu once lived

• The unique buzz of Soweto

• Gold Reef City where you’ll travel back to days of yore (and ore)

• Cradle of Humankind at Maboneng

• Maboneng Precinct

• Pilanesberg Nature Reserve

Cape Town’s most famous sights include:

• Cable car trips up Table Mountain

• Chapman’s Peak Drive

• The V&A Waterfront

• Robben Island Day Tours

• The Winelands

• Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

• The world’s only urban penguins at Boulders Beach

Both cities offer an abundance of museums, many of them documenting South Africa’s troubled yet fascinating past. There’s no shortage of art galleries, theatres, and vibrant markets to choose from either.

The Nightlife

Whatever your tastes, there’s a nightspot with your name on it in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Johannesburg offers a huge variety of night-time hangouts from swish nightclubs, quiet pubs, and jazz bars, to rough-around-the-edges shebeens.

Cape Town’s offering includes all the above, with entire streets, like Long Street, dedicated to revelry.

The Vibe

Wherever you go in South Africa, you’ll find a warm sense of hospitality and good will. However, these two cities offer a distinctly different atmosphere.

Johannesburg, known as Jozi to the locals, is an edgy city filled with frenetic energy, while Cape Town is more laid back and refined. If you were to compare them to US cities, Johannesburg would be New York, while Cape Town has more of an LA atmosphere.

The one major similarity between both centres is the astonishing diversity. People from all over Africa and the world choose to make their home in these cities.

Also, when you ask around, everyone will tell you that their city’s best.

Plan Your Trip to South Africa Now

South Africa’s back in business and ready to welcome tourists from across the globe. Book your flights to Jozi now and experience the best of both worlds on your trip to South Africa.