South Africa has historically lagged behind the developed world in internet speeds, so Netflix and chilling in your hotel room may not be a possibility.
Internet connectivity is fairly easy to manage in Johannesburg, starting from when you land in the airport. O.R. Tambo airport is equipped with WiFi, though only the first 30 minutes are free.
The airport is also a good place to get your cell phone connected to a local network. A SIM card starts at about 40 cents from the major providers—Vodacom, MTN, and CellC—all of which have storefronts in the airport. You’ll need to register your SIM card at the shop with your passport, and the clerk can set up your service. If you’re coming from the United States, you’ll need to make sure you have an unlocked cellphone to use a new SIM card.
The shop is also a good place to buy airtime for phone calls and text messages as well as data packages. Prices of all three carriers vary widely. One gigabyte of data might vary between US$6 and US$12, for example, so you’ll want to shop around if you have time.
You may also want to download messaging app WhatsApp, which most South Africans use for texting. You can register WhatsApp before you leave your own country and use the same account in South Africa over WiFi access, avoiding the need for a local SIM card altogether.
Most hotels and guest houses are also equipped with WiFi, though you may need to pay a fee, especially if you’re staying a large chain hotel. Some malls and shopping centers are also equipped with free WiFi. However, South Africa has historically lagged behind the developed world in internet speeds, so Netflix and chilling in your hotel room may not be a possibility.
There aren’t a lot of internet cafes in most parts of Johannesburg, though neighborhoods with large communities of immigrants from the rest of Africa are the exception. If you need to find a computer with internet, access PostNet, a business services retailer found in most malls and commercials centers. Otherwise, many local coffee shops and restaurants provide WiFi access for customers.