Johannesburg unlike most other major cities, was not founded near water. Inland, and perched on the 80km long rocky outcrop of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg's existence and growth came from the financial waters left behind - gold.
The discovery of this enchanting mineral hidden below the plains of the highveld sparked off one of the fastest urban developments of the modern era.
In just over a century, the ramshackle congregation of prospectors' tents and crude digging devices near the farm of Langlaagte has spread for more than 30 kilometres in each direction into a metropolis of skyscrapers.
The Johannesburg of today is a modern version of its inauspicious but frantic beginnings. It is the technological and financial forerunner of Africa, South Africa's pemier business destination and home, including Soweto, to more than five million people.
Built on and maintained by the ancient ground it covers, Johannesburg is the prince of the subcontinent.
Johannesburg offers a host of attractions and activities, and offers the visitor many things to do.
There is no easier way to explore Johannesburg city, Soweto, the Cradle of Humankind and various other attractions, than joining a scheduled half-day or day tour.
There are 17 nature reserves in Johannesburg with 12 river systems that run throughout the city. Gardens and parks nurture about 6 million trees and an amazing 40 percent of the entire world's human ancestor fossils have been found in areas adjoining the city - the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
With more than 20 theatres and about 30 art galleries, Johannesburg is an excellent place for local and international artists to get exposure. Johannesburg also has about150 heritage sites, half of which are national monuments.
The population of Johannesburg is about 3.5 million and Black Africans account for 73 percent of the population, followed by Whites at 16 percent, Coloureds at 6 percent and Asians at 4 percent.